Robust adaptive disturbance compensation for ship-based rotorcraft

Jared Cooper, John Schierman, Joseph F. Horn

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

13 Scopus citations


Ship-based rotorcrafts are often required to operate in turbulent, unsteady flow fields. The interaction of the rotor and rotor wake with the turbulent airwake can cause uncommanded aircraft motion and dangerously high pilot workload. In addition to piloted aircraft, Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) UAVs are particularly susceptible to aerodynamic disturbances due to increased thrust to mass ratio and decreased inertia properties. Moreover, the UAV's autonomous flight control system does not typically have the adaptive capabilities of a skilled human pilot. This paper investigates a robust adaptive gust compensation control law designed to improve command tracking and disturbance rejection when operating in an airwake. The study continues previous research on airwake compensation control laws designed for full-scale aircraft operating in a shipboard environment. The unsteady component of the ship airwake is treated as a stochastic process similar to the von Karman model of atmospheric turbulence. A robust adaptive controller is designed to augment a baseline model following control system to expand the safe-to-fly envelopes of rotorcraft from aviation-capable ships. Adaptive elements identify spectral properties of the airwake and the compensator is then tuned on-line using H 2/H control synthesis while the vehicle operates in the airwake. The controller is integrated with a fully autonomous trajectory control system, and the adaptive airwake compensator is shown to greatly improve trajectory tracking when operating within the airwake while not significantly increasing control activity. The modularity of the control architecture makes it applicable to both manned and unmanned aircraft and is demonstrated via advanced simulations of an UAV tiltrotor and a UH-60A Black Hawk helicopter.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference
PublisherAIAA International
ISBN (Print)9781600869624
StatePublished - 2010
EventAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference - Toronto, ON, Canada
Duration: Aug 2 2010Aug 5 2010

Publication series

NameAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference


OtherAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference
CityToronto, ON

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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