This paper reports the results of a Pilot-Induced Oscillation (PIO) and human pilot control characterization study performed using flight data collected with a Remotely Controlled (R/C) unmanned research aircraft. The study was carried out on the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. Several existing Category 1 and Category 2 PIO criteria developed for manned aircraft are first surveyed and their effectiveness for predicting the PIO susceptibility for the R/C unmanned aircraft is evaluated using several flight experiments. It was found that the Bandwidth/Pitch rate overshoot and open loop onset point (OLOP) criteria prediction results matched flight test observations. However, other criteria failed to provide accurate prediction results. To further characterize the human pilot control behavior during these experiments, a quasi-linear pilot model is used. The parameters of the pilot model estimated using data obtained from flight tests are then used to obtain information about the stability of the Pilot Vehicle System (PVS) for Category 1 PIOs occurred during straight and level flights. The batch estimation technique used to estimate the parameters of the quasi-linear pilot model failed to completely capture the compatibility nature of the human pilot. The estimation results however provided valuable insights into the frequency characteristics of the human pilot commands. Additionally, stability analysis of the Category 2 PIOs for elevator actuator rate limiting is carried out using simulations and the results are compared with actual flight results.
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