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Title: Post-manoeuvre and online parameter estimation for manned and unmanned aircraft
Author: Jameson, Pierre-Daniel
ISNI:       0000 0004 2747 4310
Awarding Body: Cranfield University
Current Institution: Cranfield University
Date of Award: 2013
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Parameterised analytical models that describe the trimmed inflight behaviour of classical aircraft have been studied and are widely accepted by the flight dynamics community. Therefore, the primary role of aircraft parameter estimation is to quantify the parameter values which make up the models and define the physical relationship of the air vehicle with respect to its local environment. Nevertheless, a priori empirical predictions dependent on aircraft design parameters also exist, and these provide a useful means of generating preliminary values predicting the aircraft behaviour at the design stage. However, at present the only feasible means that exist to actually prove and validate these parameter values remains to extract them through physical experimentation either in a wind-tunnel or from a flight test. With the advancement of UAVs, and in particular smaller UAVs (less than 1m span) the ability to fly the full scale vehicle and generate flight test data presents an exciting opportunity. Furthermore, UAV testing lends itself well to the ability to perform rapid prototyping with the use of COTS equipment. Real-time system identification was first used to monitor highly unstable aircraft behaviour in non-linear flight regimes, while expanding the operational flight envelope. Recent development has focused on creating self-healing control systems, such as adaptive re-configurable control laws to provide robustness against airframe damage, control surface failures or inflight icing. In the case of UAVs real-time identification, would facilitate rapid prototyping especially in low-cost projects with their constrained development time. In a small UAV scenario, flight trials could potentialy be focused towards dynamic model validation, with the prior verification step done using the simulation environment. Furthermore, the ability to check the estimated derivatives while the aircraft is flying would enable detection of poor data readings due to deficient excitation manoeuvres or atmospheric turbulence. Subsequently, appropriate action could then be taken while all the equipment and personnel are in place. This thesis describes the development of algorithms in order to perform online system identification for UAVs which require minimal analyst intervention. Issues pertinent to UAV applications were: the type of excitation manoeuvers needed and the necessary instrumentation required to record air-data. Throughout the research, algorithm development was undertaken using an in-house Simulink© model of the Aerosonde UAV which provided a rapid and flexible means of generating simulated data for analysis. In addition, the algorithms were further tested with real flight test data that was acquired from the Cranfield University Jestream-31 aircraft G-NFLA during its routine operation as a flying classroom. Two estimation methods were principally considered, the maximum likelihood and least squares estimators, with the aforementioned found to be best suited to the proposed requirements. In time-domain analysis reconstruction of the velocity state derivatives ˙W and ˙V needed for the SPPO and DR modes respectively, provided more statistically reliable parameter estimates without the need of a α- or β- vane. By formulating the least squares method in the frequency domain, data issues regarding the removal of bias and trim offsets could be more easily addressed while obtaining timely and reliable parameter estimates. Finally, the importance of using an appropriate input to excite the UAV dynamics allowing the vehicle to show its characteristics must be stressed.
Supervisor: Cooke, A. K. Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: UAV ; Flight Dynamics ; Online ; Least Squares ; Frequency Domain ; Parameter Estimation ; System Identification