Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control

A special issue of Aerospace (ISSN 2226-4310). This special issue belongs to the section "Aeronautics".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 December 2021) | Viewed by 38340

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Department of Aerospace Science and Technology, Politecnico di Milano, via La Masa 34, 20156 Milano, Italy
Interests: aircraft design; electric aircraft; hybrid-electric aircraft; optimal design; aircraft modeling and simulation; airship design; wind turbine control
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

I am pleased to announce the launch of a new open access Special Issue on the MDPI journal Aerospace dedicated to Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation, and Control. The aim of this Special Issue is that of providing an insight into the state-of-the-art of aircraft/aircraft component modeling and simulation, with applications in the study of design and control problems. As Guest Editor of this Special Issue, I would like to invite you to submit full research articles and review manuscripts addressing (but not limited to) the following topics:

aircraft modeling; aircraft power-train modeling; flight mechanics modeling; concentrated parameter modeling; performance modeling; aircraft dynamics modeling; airship dynamics modeling; unmanned aerial vehicle dynamics modeling; flight dynamics and control; innovative propulsion models for simulation and design application; performance models for aircraft with innovative propulsion; energy management and control; performance-based optimal design for aircraft; energy models for mission management and simulation; modeling of nonconventional propulsion architecture; models of propulsive components for aircraft preliminary design; multibody approach to flight mechanics modeling and simulation; model-assisted aircraft design; flight mechanics models of nonconventional configurations; model hierarchy; flight mechanics and control of airships; flight mechanics and control of unmanned aerial vehicles; model reduction for control purposes; multivehicle aircraft simulation and control problems; models for optimal design of aircraft and airships.

Thank you for your attention. I look forward to receiving your valuable contribution.

Dr. Carlo E.D. Riboldi
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Aerospace is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 2400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Published Papers (11 papers)

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Research

25 pages, 7049 KiB  
Article
Adaptive Backstepping Nonsingular Terminal Sliding-Mode Attitude Control of Flexible Airships with Actuator Faults
by Shiqian Liu, James F. Whidborne, Sipeng Song and Weizhi Lyu
Aerospace 2022, 9(4), 209; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9040209 - 11 Apr 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2070
Abstract
This paper studies the attitude tracking control of a flexible airship subjected to wind disturbances, actuator saturation and control surface faults. Efficient flexible airship models, including elastic deformation, rigid body motions, and their coupling, are established via Lagrange theory. A fast-nonsingular terminal sliding-mode [...] Read more.
This paper studies the attitude tracking control of a flexible airship subjected to wind disturbances, actuator saturation and control surface faults. Efficient flexible airship models, including elastic deformation, rigid body motions, and their coupling, are established via Lagrange theory. A fast-nonsingular terminal sliding-mode (NTSM) combined with a backstepping control is proposed for the problem. The benefits of this approach are NTSM merits of high robustness, fast transient response, and finite time convergence, as well as the backstepping control in terms of globally asymptotic stability. However, the major limitation of the backstepping NTSM is that its design procedure is dependent on the prior knowledge of the bound values of the disturbance and faults. To overcome this limitation, a wind observer is designed to compensate for the effect of the wind disturbances, an anti-windup compensator is designed to compensate for actuator saturation, and an adaptive fault estimator is designed to estimate the faults of the control surfaces. Globally exponential stability of the closed-loop control system is guaranteed by using the Lyapunov stability theory. Finally, simulation results demonstrate effectiveness and advantages of the proposed control for the Skyship-500 flexible airship, even in the presence of unknown wind disturbances, control surface faults, and different stiffness variants. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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22 pages, 2460 KiB  
Article
Studying and Optimizing the Take-Off Performance of Three-Surface Aircraft
by Carlo E. D. Riboldi, Stefano Cacciola and Lorenzo Ceffa
Aerospace 2022, 9(3), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9030139 - 5 Mar 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2577
Abstract
In the quest for making aircraft more energy-efficient, configuration, and primarily the arrangement and quality of aerodynamic surfaces, play a relevant role. In a previous comparative study by the authors, it was shown how to obtain a significant increase in cruise performance by [...] Read more.
In the quest for making aircraft more energy-efficient, configuration, and primarily the arrangement and quality of aerodynamic surfaces, play a relevant role. In a previous comparative study by the authors, it was shown how to obtain a significant increase in cruise performance by adopting a three-surface configuration instead of a classical pure back-tailed design. In this paper, an analysis of the same configurations in take-off is carried out, to assess through a fair comparison the potential effect of a three-surface one especially on take-off distance. Take-off is mathematically described by means of a sound analytic approach. Take-off distance is computed for a baseline two-surface aircraft, and in a later stage on a three-surface one. In addition to exploring the performance, a numerical optimization is also deployed, so as to find the best use of both configurations analyzed (i.e., baseline and three-surface) in take-off, and the corresponding top performance. The quality of the optimum, as well as the practical realization of a control link between the yoke and both control surfaces in the three-surface configuration, are analyzed in depth. The paper describes the advantage which can be attained by selecting a three-surface configuration, and proposes some remarks concerning the practical implementation of the maneuver to actually capture an optimal performance. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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42 pages, 9484 KiB  
Article
Atmospheric Disturbance Modelling for a Piloted Flight Simulation Study of Airplane Safety Envelope over Complex Terrain
by Xinying Liu, Anna Abà, Pierluigi Capone, Leonardo Manfriani and Yongling Fu
Aerospace 2022, 9(2), 103; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9020103 - 14 Feb 2022
Cited by 5 | Viewed by 3818
Abstract
A concept of a new energy management system synthesizing meteorological and orographic influences on airplane safety envelope was developed and implemented at the ZHAW Centre for Aviation. A corresponding flight simulation environment was built in a Research and Didactics Simulator (ReDSim) to test [...] Read more.
A concept of a new energy management system synthesizing meteorological and orographic influences on airplane safety envelope was developed and implemented at the ZHAW Centre for Aviation. A corresponding flight simulation environment was built in a Research and Didactics Simulator (ReDSim) to test the first implementation of the cockpit display system. A series of pilot-in-the-loop flight simulations were carried out with a group of pilots. A general aviation airplane model Piper PA-28 was modified for the study. The environment model in the ReDSim was modified to include a new ad hoc subsystem simulating atmospheric disturbance. In order to generate highly resolved wind fields in the ReDsim, a well-established large-eddy simulation model, the Parallelized Large-Eddy Simulation (PALM) framework, was used in the concept study, focusing on a small mountainous region in Switzerland, not far from Samedan. For a more realistic representation of specific meteorological situations, PALM was driven with boundary conditions extracted from the COSMO-1 reanalysis of MeteoSwiss. The essential variables (wind components, temperature, and pressure) were extracted from the PALM output and fed into the subsystem after interpolation to obtain the values at any instant and any aircraft position. Within this subsystem, it is also possible to generate statistical atmospheric turbulence based on the widely used Dryden turbulence model. The paper compares two ways of generating atmospheric turbulence, by combining the numerical method with the statistical model and introduces the flight test procedure with an emphasis on turbulence realism; it then presents the experiment results including a statistical assessment achieved by collecting pilot feedback on turbulence characteristics and turbulence/task combination. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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22 pages, 6834 KiB  
Article
Assessment of the Potential of Electric Propulsion for General Aviation Using Model-Based System Engineering (MBSE) Methodology
by Magdalena Peciak and Wojciech Skarka
Aerospace 2022, 9(2), 74; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9020074 - 28 Jan 2022
Cited by 11 | Viewed by 3948
Abstract
Climate change currently taking place around the world requires humanity to take decisive action. One way, as envisaged in the European Green Deal, is to reduce the emissions of harmful chemical compounds of the transport sector by 90% by 2050. This reduction also [...] Read more.
Climate change currently taking place around the world requires humanity to take decisive action. One way, as envisaged in the European Green Deal, is to reduce the emissions of harmful chemical compounds of the transport sector by 90% by 2050. This reduction also applies to aviation. The most commonly suggested means of achieving this goal is the electrification of aviation. In this paper, the possibilities of using small general aviation aircraft (for up to two people) with electric propulsion used for sport flying, particularly for pilot training and glider towing, have been analysed. For this purpose, simulation models have been developed in MATLAB/Simulink environment for three different tasks: cross-country flight, performing a certain number of touch-and-go procedures during one flight, and towing a glider. Three aircraft representing different classes were selected for analysis: Diamond DA20 Katana, WT-9 Dynamic, and PZL-101 Gawron. Based on data collected from pilots and publicly available flight records, minimum performance requirements for particular tasks were determined. The number of batteries that power the electric propulsion system of the analysed aircraft was selected in such a way that no geometrical changes in the aircraft structure are necessary and the MTOW (Maximum Take Off Weight) is not exceeded. Obtained results indicate the possibility of using small electric aircrafts derived from UL (ultralight) class in flights taking place near airports, performing touch-and-go procedures and towing gliders. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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15 pages, 2600 KiB  
Article
Nonlinear Robust Control on Yaw Motion of a Variable-Speed Unmanned Aerial Helicopter under Multi-Source Disturbances
by Peng Tang, Yuehong Dai and Junfeng Chen
Aerospace 2022, 9(1), 42; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace9010042 - 15 Jan 2022
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2388
Abstract
This paper studies the multi-source disturbances attenuation problem on the yaw motion of unmanned aerial helicopter with a variable-speed rotor. The yaw motion subsystem dominated by an electrically-driven tail rotor is firstly introduced, and its trajectory accuracy requires particularly close attention. To this [...] Read more.
This paper studies the multi-source disturbances attenuation problem on the yaw motion of unmanned aerial helicopter with a variable-speed rotor. The yaw motion subsystem dominated by an electrically-driven tail rotor is firstly introduced, and its trajectory accuracy requires particularly close attention. To this end, we establish a fourth-order yaw error dynamic equation; subsequently, a nonlinear robust control scheme based on optimal H principle is developed, consisting of laws of virtual functions, parameter estimation and a compensation signal. The novelty of this scheme lies in unifying the techniques to deal with the uncertain parameters, noise perturbations, actuator output fault and external airflow turbulence into a simple framework. Stability analysis guarantees that the yaw closed-loop system has the predefined performance of disturbance suppression in the sense of a finite L2-gain. Comparison results with the extended state observer based backstepping controller verify the effectiveness and superior performance of proposed scheme in an aircraft prototype. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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18 pages, 20622 KiB  
Article
Variational Bayesian Iteration-Based Invariant Kalman Filter for Attitude Estimation on Matrix Lie Groups
by Jiaolong Wang and Zeyang Chen
Aerospace 2021, 8(9), 246; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8090246 - 3 Sep 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 1614
Abstract
Motivated by the rapid progress of aerospace and robotics engineering, the navigation and control systems on matrix Lie groups have been actively studied in recent years. For rigid targets, the attitude estimation problem is a benchmark one with its states defined as rotation [...] Read more.
Motivated by the rapid progress of aerospace and robotics engineering, the navigation and control systems on matrix Lie groups have been actively studied in recent years. For rigid targets, the attitude estimation problem is a benchmark one with its states defined as rotation matrices on Lie groups. Based on the invariance properties of symmetry groups, the invariant Kalman filter (IKF) has been developed by researchers for matrix Lie group systems; however, the limitation of the IKF is that its estimation performance is prone to be degraded if the given knowledge of the noise statistics is not accurate. For the symmetry Lie group attitude estimation problem, this paper proposes a new variational Bayesian iteration-based adaptive invariant Kalman filter (VBIKF). In the proposed VBIKF, the a priori error covariance is not propagated by the conventional steps but directly calibrated in an iterative manner based on the posterior sequences. The main advantage of the VBIKF is that the statistics parameter of the system process noise is no longer required and so the IKF’s hard dependency on accurate process noise statistics can be reduced significantly. The mathematical foundation for the new VBIKF is presented and its superior performance in adaptability and simplicity is further demonstrated by numerical simulations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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20 pages, 12789 KiB  
Article
Development of Detailed FE Numerical Models for Assessing the Replacement of Metal with Composite Materials Applied to an Executive Aircraft Wing
by Valerio Acanfora, Roberto Petillo, Salvatore Incognito, Gerardo Mario Mirra and Aniello Riccio
Aerospace 2021, 8(7), 178; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8070178 - 1 Jul 2021
Cited by 7 | Viewed by 3149
Abstract
This work provides a feasibility and effectiveness analysis, through numerical investigation, of metal replacement of primary components with composite material for an executive aircraft wing. In particular, benefits and disadvantages of replacing metal, usually adopted to manufacture this structural component, with composite material [...] Read more.
This work provides a feasibility and effectiveness analysis, through numerical investigation, of metal replacement of primary components with composite material for an executive aircraft wing. In particular, benefits and disadvantages of replacing metal, usually adopted to manufacture this structural component, with composite material are explored. To accomplish this task, a detailed FEM numerical model of the composite aircraft wing was deployed by taking into account process constraints related to Liquid Resin Infusion, which was selected as the preferred manufacturing technique to fabricate the wing. We obtained a geometric and material layup definition for the CFRP components of the wing, which demonstrated that the replacement of the metal elements with composite materials did not affect the structural performance and can guarantee a substantial advantage for the structure in terms of weight reduction when compared to the equivalent metallic configuration, even for existing executive wing configurations. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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18 pages, 5993 KiB  
Article
Engineering Comprehensive Model of Complex Wind Fields for Flight Simulation
by Jianwei Chen, Liangming Wang, Jian Fu and Zhiwei Yang
Aerospace 2021, 8(6), 145; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8060145 - 24 May 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 4635
Abstract
A complex wind field refers to the typical atmospheric disturbance phenomena existing in nature that have a great influence on the flight of aircrafts. Aimed at the issues involving large volume of data, complex computations and a single model in the current wind [...] Read more.
A complex wind field refers to the typical atmospheric disturbance phenomena existing in nature that have a great influence on the flight of aircrafts. Aimed at the issues involving large volume of data, complex computations and a single model in the current wind field simulation approaches for flight environments, based on the essential principles of fluid mechanics, in this paper, wind field models for two kinds of wind shear such as micro-downburst and low-level jet plus three-dimensional atmospheric turbulence are established. The validity of the models is verified by comparing the simulation results from existing wind field models and the measured data. Based on the principle of vector superposition, three wind field models are combined in the ground coordinate system, and a comprehensive model of complex wind fields is established with spatial location as the input and wind velocity as the output. The model is applied to the simulated flight of a rocket projectile, and the change in the rocket projectile’s flight attitude and flight trajectory under different wind fields is analyzed. The results indicate that the comprehensive model established herein can reasonably and efficiently reflect the influence of various complex wind field environments on the flight process of aircrafts, and that the model is simple, extensible, and convenient to use. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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28 pages, 845 KiB  
Article
Three-Surface Model with Redundant Longitudinal Control: Modeling, Trim Optimization and Control in a Preliminary Design Perspective
by Stefano Cacciola, Carlo E.D. Riboldi and Matteo Arnoldi
Aerospace 2021, 8(5), 139; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8050139 - 17 May 2021
Cited by 8 | Viewed by 3417
Abstract
Notwithstanding the interest in the three-surface concept shown by aircraft designers, this configuration was not thoroughly investigated in conjunction with the adoption of two-elevator surfaces, on both canard and tail. In fact, the inclusion of an additional elevator produces a redundant longitudinal control [...] Read more.
Notwithstanding the interest in the three-surface concept shown by aircraft designers, this configuration was not thoroughly investigated in conjunction with the adoption of two-elevator surfaces, on both canard and tail. In fact, the inclusion of an additional elevator produces a redundant longitudinal control which can be specifically exploited to target trim optimization. The same redundancy can be also employed to improve the flying qualities of the three-surface aircraft. In this paper, after introducing a simple flight mechanics model, ideal for preliminary design and analyses, the advantages of this configuration are explored. Firstly, the problem of finding the elevator deflections of canard and tail for minimum drag in trim is formulated and solved. Secondarily, the updating of a two-surface back-tailed airplane into an equivalent three-surface one is demonstrated, showing the potential improvement in cruise performance. Finally, the controls are employed through a smart control law for achieving better flying qualities. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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12 pages, 3363 KiB  
Article
Aircraft Flight Stabilizer System by CDM Designed Servo State-Feedback Controller
by Ekachai Asa and Yoshio Yamamoto
Aerospace 2021, 8(2), 45; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace8020045 - 8 Feb 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 2666
Abstract
This research presents an automatic flight control system whose advantage is its ease of modification or maintenance while still effectively meeting the system’s performance requirement. This research proposes a mixed servo state-feedback system for controlling aircraft longitudinal and lateral-directional motion simultaneously based on [...] Read more.
This research presents an automatic flight control system whose advantage is its ease of modification or maintenance while still effectively meeting the system’s performance requirement. This research proposes a mixed servo state-feedback system for controlling aircraft longitudinal and lateral-directional motion simultaneously based on the coefficient diagram method or CDM as the controller design methodology. The structure of this mixed servo state-feedback system is intuitive and straightforward, while CDM’s design processes are clear. Simulation results with aircraft linear and nonlinear models exhibit excellent performance in stabilizing and tracking the reference commands for both longitudinal and lateral-directional motion. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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21 pages, 23610 KiB  
Article
A Novel Control Allocation Method for Yaw Control of Tailless Aircraft
by Thomas R. Shearwood, Mostafa R. A. Nabawy, William J. Crowther and Clyde Warsop
Aerospace 2020, 7(10), 150; https://doi.org/10.3390/aerospace7100150 - 19 Oct 2020
Cited by 10 | Viewed by 4044
Abstract
Tailless aircraft without vertical stabilisers typically use drag effectors in the form of spoilers or split flaps to generate control moments in yaw. This paper introduces a novel control allocation method by which full three-axis control authority can be achieved by the use [...] Read more.
Tailless aircraft without vertical stabilisers typically use drag effectors in the form of spoilers or split flaps to generate control moments in yaw. This paper introduces a novel control allocation method by which full three-axis control authority can be achieved by the use of conventional lift effectors only, which reduces system complexity and control deflection required to achieve a given yawing moment. The proposed method is based on synthesis of control allocation modes that generate asymmetric profile and lift induced drag whilst maintaining the lift, pitching moment and rolling moment at the trim state. The method uses low order models for aerodynamic behaviour characterisation based on thin aerofoil theory, lifting surface methodology and ESDU datasheets and is applied to trapezoidal wings of varying sweep and taper. Control allocation modes are derived using the zero-sets of surrogate models for the characterised aerodynamic behaviours. Results are presented in the form of control allocations for a range of trimmed sideslip angles up to 10 degrees optimised for either maximum aerodynamic efficiency (minimum drag for a specific yawing moment) or minimum aggregate control deflection (as a surrogate observability metric). Outcomes for the two optimisation objectives are correlated in that minimum deflection solutions are always consistent with efficient ones. A configuration with conventional drag effector is used as a reference baseline. It is shown that, through appropriate allocation of lift based control effectors, a given yawing moment can be produced with up to a factor of eight less aggregate control deflection and up to 30% less overall drag compared to use of a conventional drag effector. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Aircraft Modeling for Design, Simulation and Control)
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