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An automatic system for a helicopter autopilot performance evaluation

Antoni Kopyt (Department of Automation and Aeronautical Systems, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland)
Sebastian Topczewski (Department of Automation and Aeronautical Systems, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland)
Marcin Zugaj (Department of Automation and Aeronautical Systems, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland)
Przemyslaw Bibik (Department of Automation and Aeronautical Systems, Warsaw University of Technology, Warsaw, Poland)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Article publication date: 14 March 2019

Issue publication date: 15 August 2019

Abstract

Purpose

The purpose of this paper is to elaborate and develop an automatic system for automatic flight control system (AFCS) performance evaluation. Consequently, the developed AFCS algorithm is implemented and tested in a virtual environment on one of the mission task elements (MTEs) described in Aeronautical Design Standard 33 (ADS-33) performance specification.

Design/methodology/approach

Control algorithm is based on the Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) which is adopted to work as a controller in this case. Developed controller allows for automatic flight of the helicopter via desired three-dimensional trajectory by calculating iteratively deviations between desired and actual helicopter position and multiplying it by gains obtained from the LQR methodology. For the AFCS algorithm validation, the objective data analysis is done based on specified task accomplishment requirements, reference trajectory and actual flight parameters.

Findings

In the paper, a description of an automatic flight control algorithm for small helicopter and its evaluation methodology is presented. Necessary information about helicopter dynamic model is included. The test and algorithm analysis are performed on a slalom maneuver, on which the handling qualities are calculated.

Practical implications

Developed automatic flight control algorithm can be adapted and used in autopilot for a small helicopter. Methodology of evaluation of an AFCS performance can be used in different applications and cases.

Originality/value

In the paper, an automatic flight control algorithm for small helicopter and solution for the validation of developed AFCS algorithms are presented.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

The research was conducted as part of the INNOLOT sector project (acronym HELIMARIS) entitled “Modification of an optionally piloted helicopter to maritime mission performance” coordinated by Wytwórnia Sprzętu Komunikacyjnego “PZL-Świdnik” Spółka Akcyjna, co-financed by the National Center for Research and Development under the Smart Growth Operational Program 2014-2020, 1. Priority Axis, Support for R&D activity of Enterprises; Action 1.2, Agreement No. POIR.01.02.00-00.0004/15.

Citation

Kopyt, A., Topczewski, S., Zugaj, M. and Bibik, P. (2019), "An automatic system for a helicopter autopilot performance evaluation", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 91 No. 6, pp. 880-885. https://doi.org/10.1108/AEAT-07-2018-0190

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2019, Emerald Publishing Limited