Formation control of a rotorcraft multilift system

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6 Scopus citations


The coupled dynamics and coordinated control of four rotorcraft carrying a single external payload is presented. A dynamic model and simulation environment is developed and analyzed. The uncontrolled system is shown to be inherently unstable and dynamically complex. A dynamic inversion controller is developed to stabilize the system and to follow formation trajectory commands without using cable or external load measurements. The controller enforces safe separation and includes rotorcraft/load heading coordination functions to ensure consistent formation configuration during maneuvering flight. Simulation results show that the load is unevenly distributed by the formation rotorcraft. It is suggested that optimization of formation geometry can provide improved system performance and handling qualities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number042011
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Mechanical Engineering


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