Load alleviation flight control design using high-order dynamic models

Umberto Saetti, Joseph F. Horn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


The present study considers two notional rotorcraft models: a conventional utility helicopter, representative of an H-60, and a wing-only compound utility rotorcraft, representative of an H-60 with a wing similar to the X-49A wing. An explicit model following (EMF) control scheme is designed to achieve stability and desired rate command / attitude hold response around the roll, pitch, and yaw axes, while alleviating vibratory loads through both feed-forward and feedback compensation. The harmonic decomposition methodology is extended to enable optimization of primary flight control laws that mitigate vibratory loads. Specifically, linear time-periodic systems representative of the periodic rotorcraft dynamics are approximated by linear time-invariant (LTI) models. The LTI models are subsequently reduced and used in linear quadratic regulator (LQR) design to constrain the harmonics of the vibratory loads. Both fuselage state feedback and rotor state feedback are considered. A pseudo-inverse strategy is incorporated into the EMF scheme for redundant control allocation on the compound configuration. Simulations of the load alleviating controllers are compared to results from a baseline controller. Finally, an analysis is performed to assess the impact that load alleviating control action, rotor state feedback, and pseudo-inverse have on handling qualities in terms of ADS-33E specifications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number032009
JournalJournal of the American Helicopter Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

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


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