Title:
Flight Test Results of Autonomous Fixed-Wing Transition to and from Stationary Hover

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Johnson, Eric N.
Turbe, Michael A.
Wu, Allen D.
Kannan, Suresh K.
Neidhoefer, James C.
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Abstract
Linear systems can be used to adequately model and control an aircraft in either ideal steady-level flight or in ideal hovering flight. However, constructing a single unified system capable of adequately modeling or controlling an airplane in steady-level flight and in hovering flight, as well as during the highly nonlinear transitions between the two, requires the use of more complex systems, such as scheduled-linear, nonlinear, or stable adaptive systems. This paper discusses the use of dynamic inversion with real-time neural network adaptation as a means to provide a single adaptive controller capable of controlling a fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system in all three flight phases: steadylevel flight, hovering flight, and the transitions between them. Having a single controller that can achieve and transition between steady-level and hovering flight allows utilization of the entire low-speed flight envelope, even beyond stall conditions. This method is applied to the GTEdge, an eight-foot wingspan, fixed-wing unmanned aircraft system that has been fully instrumented for autonomous flight. This paper presents data from actual flighttest experiments in which the airplane transitions from high-speed, steady-level flight into a hovering condition and then back again.
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2008-03
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