Handling-qualities perspective on rotorcraft load alleviation control

Umberto Saetti, Joseph F. Horn, Tom Berger, Mark B. Tischler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The objective of this research effort is to assess the impact of load alleviation control on the quantitative handling-qualities specifications (also known as predicted handling qualities) of both conventional helicopters and compound rotorcraft in forward flight. First, an overview on how the harmonic decomposition methodology is used toward load alleviation control is presented. Next, flight control laws are developed based on an explicit model-following architecture. Parametric studies are performed to provide insights on how both the feedforward and feedback paths of the model-following control laws can be used to alleviate the rotor loads. The impact of load alleviation on predicted handling qualities is studied. It is shown that, for the standard helicopter configuration considered, load alleviation comes at the cost of a degradation in handling qualities. However, for the compound rotorcraft considered, allocation of the control signal to the redundant control surfaces provides load alleviation without degradation in predicted handling qualities. The flight control laws are subsequently optimized using the Control Designer’s Unified Interface to meet a comprehensive set of stability, handling-qualities, and performance specifications for specific mission task elements while minimizing the unsteady rotor loads.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1792-1804
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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