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# Aircraft Control Devices

and Systems

## Robert Stengel, Aircraft Flight Dynamics, MAE 331,

2010

Control surfaces
Control mechanisms
Flight control systems

## Elevator/stabilator: pitch control

Rudder: yaw control
Ailerons: roll control
Trailing-edge flaps: low-angle lift control

lift control
Spoilers: Roll, lift, and drag control
Thrust: speed/altitude control

http://www.princeton.edu/~stengel/MAE331.html
http://www.princeton.edu/~stengel/FlightDynamics.html

## Generation of control forces and rigid-body moments on the aircraft

Rigid-body dynamics of the aircraft
!E is an input

!!! = "

!E is a state

! E!! = "

## Control Surface Dynamics

and Aerodynamics

Aerodynamic and
Mechanical Moments
on Control Surfaces

## Angle of Attack and

Control Surface Deflection

## Increasing size and speed of aircraft leads to

increased hinge moments
This leads to need for mechanical or aerodynamic
reduction of hinge moments
Need for aerodynamically balanced surfaces
Control surface hinge moment

H surface = C H surface

1 2
!V Sc
2

Hinge-moment coefficient, CH
Linear model of dynamic effects

## Horizontal tail with

elevator control surface

angle of attack

## Horizontal tail with positive

elevator deflection

## C H!!E : aerodynamic/mechanical damping moment

C H! E : aerodynamic/mechanical spring moment
C H" : floating tendency
C H command : pilot or autopilot input

## Dynamic Model of a Control

Surface Mechanism

## Floating and Restoring

Moments on a Control Surface

## Positive angle of attack typically produces a negative moment on the elevator

With stick free, i.e., no opposing torques, elevator floats up due to negative H#

## Approximate control dynamics

by a 2nd-order LTI system

## Bring all torques and

inertias to right side

## !!! " H !!!! " H ! ! = H # # + H command + ...

mechanism dynamics = external forcing

1 2
H elevator C H elevator 2 "V Sc
!!
!E =
=
I elevator
I elevator
1 2
"V Sc
!
\$
&
= %C H!!E ! E + C H! E ! E + C H# # + C H command + ...' 2
I

## Positive elevator deflection typically produces a negative (restoring) moment, H!" , on

the elevator due to aerodynamic or mechanical spring

elevator

## Stability and control

derivatives of the control
mechanism

## " ( H elevator I elevator )

" ( H elevator I elevator )
; H! E =
"!
"!!
" ( H elevator I elevator )
H# =
"#

H !! E =

Coupling of System
Model and Control
Mechanism Dynamics

State Vector

## !!x SP /" E = FSP /" E !x SP /" E + G SP /" E !" Ecommand

"E
!!x" E = F" E !x" E + G" E !u" E + FSP
!x SP

# !"! E & # 0
%
()%
%\$ !"!!E (' %\$ H " E

## Augmented dynamic equation

# 0
1 & # !" E & # 0 &
!" Ecommand + %
(% ! ( + %
(
H "! E ( % !" E ( % *H " E (
%\$ H q
' \$
'
'\$

0 & # !q &
(
H + ( %% !+ ((
'
'\$

\$ Mq
\$ !q! ' &
)*&
&
%& !#! )( & 1
%

'
\$ M"E
) \$ !q ' &
) & !# ) + & + L" E
)( &
VN
) &%
%
(

M#
+

L#

VN

FSP /! E

0 '\$
) !" E '
)
&
0 ) &% !"! E )(
)(

" F
SP
= \$ !E
\$ FSP
#

SP
!E

F! E

"
\$
% \$
'=\$
' \$
& \$
\$
#

Mq

M(

M!E

L(

L! E

0
Hq

#1

VN

0
H! E

1
H !! E

#M \$
s+

L\$

VN

#M " E

L" E

VN

#H q

#H \$

#H " E

Stick-free case

## Control surface free to float

C H ! C H" " + C H# E # E

=0

#1

(s # H )

"! E

Normally

## ! SP /" E ( s ) = s + 2# SP\$ nSP s + \$

2
nSP

)( s

+ 2#" E\$ n" E s + \$

2
n" E

## Coupling of the modes

depends on values of

M!E ,

L! E

## Inertial and aerodynamic effects

Control surface in front of hinge line

VN , H q , and H "

to a point

## Assuming high aero/mechanical

damping of the control mechanism

%
'
'
'
'
'
'
&

G SP /! E

" 0
\$
0
=\$
\$ 0
\$ H
# !E

%
'
'
'
'
&

Horn Balance

Characteristic equation

(s # M )

VN

0
H(

## Roots of the Augmented

Short Period Model

!q '
)
)
)
)
)(

!"
!# E
!#! E

## !!x SP = FSP !x SP + G SP !u SP = FSP !x SP + F"SPE !x" E

\$
&
!x SP ' = &
&
&
&%

Increases possibility of mechanical
instability
Increases possibility of destabilizing
coupling to short-period mode

## Control Flap Carryover Effect on

Lift Produced By Total Surface

Overhang or
Balance

## from Schlichting & Truckenbrodt

Effect is similar to
that of horn balance
Varying gap and
protrusion into
airstream with
deflection angle

C L! E
C L"

vs.

cf
xf + cf

cf

(x

+ cf )

Shorts SB.4

## Particularly effective at supersonic speed (Boeing

Bomarc wing tips, North American X-15 horizontal
and vertical tails, Grumman F-14 horizontal tail)
SB.4!s aero-isoclinic wing
Sometimes used for trim only (e.g., Lockheed L-1011
horizontal tail)
Hinge moment variations with flight condition

Lockheed L-1011

Grumman F-14

Boeing
Bomarc

## Control Surface Types

Elevator

Ailerons

Effectiveness of high
mounting is unaffected by
wing downwash at low to
moderate angle of attack

## When one aileron goes up, the other goes down

Average hinge moment affects stick force

## Effectiveness of low mounting is

unaffected by wing downwash at
high angle of attack

Spoilers

Compensating Ailerons

## Asymmetric contour, with hinge line at or below lower

aerodynamic surface
Reduces hinge moment

## Spoiler reduces lift, increases drag

Differential spoilers

Frise aileron

Speed control
Roll control
Avoid twist produced by outboard
ailerons on long, slender wings
free trailing edge for larger high-lift
flaps

## Cross-coupling effects can be adverse or favorable, e.g.

yaw rate with roll
Up travel of one > down travel of other to control yaw
effect

## Plug-slot spoiler on P-61 Black

Widow: low control force
Hinged flap has high hinge moment
Abzug & Larrabee, 2002

Elevons

Canards

## General Dynamics F-106

Pitch control
High angle of attack effectiveness
Desirable flying qualities effect
(TBD)

## Combined pitch and yaw control using

symmetric and asymmetric surface
deflection
Principally used on

Dassault Rafale

Delta-wing configurations
Swing-wing aircraft
SAAB Gripen

Grumman F-14

Configurations

## Typically unstable in pitch and yaw

Dependent on flight control system
for stability
Split ailerons or differential drag flaps
produce yawing moment
Northrop Grumman B-2

Rudder

## McDonnell Douglas X-36

Martin B-57

Turn coordination
Crosswind correction
Countering yaw due to engine loss

## Strong rolling effect, particularly at high #

Only control surface whose nominal
aerodynamic angle is zero
Possible nonlinear effect at low deflection
angle
Insensitivity at high supersonic speed

American X-15

Bell X-2

Control Tabs

## Balancing or geared tabs

Tab is linked to the main surface in
opposition to control motion, reducing
the hinge moment with little change in
control effect

Flying tabs
Pilot's controls affect only the tab,
whose hinge moment moves the
control surface [BAC 1-11 deep stall
flight test accident]

Control Mechanization
Effects

divide pilot's input between tab and
main surface

Spring tabs
put a spring in the link to the main
surface
BAC 1-11

## Control Mechanization Effects

Fabric-covered control
surfaces (e.g., DC-3, Spitfire)
subject to distortion under air
control characteristics
Control cable stretching
Elasticity of the airframe
changes cable/pushrod
geometry
Nonlinear control effects
friction
breakout forces
backlash

Douglas DC-3

## Nonlinear Control Mechanism Effects

Friction

Supermarine
Spitfire

Instabilities Due To
Control Mechanization

## Control Mechanization Effects

Breakout force
Force threshold

Rudder Snaking

Control-free dynamics

## Nominally symmetric control position

Internal friction
Aerodynamic imbalance

## Coupling of mechanical motion with

Dutch roll mode (see Flight Dynamics)
Solutions

Trailing-edge bevel
Flat-sided surfaces
Fully powered controls

Douglas DC-2

## Aileron buzz (aero-mechanical instability; P-80)

Rudder snaking (Dutch roll/mechanical coupling; Meteor, He-162, X-1)
Aeroelastic coupling (B-47, Boeing 707 yaw dampers)

## Roll/Spiral Limit Cycle

Due to Aileron
Imbalance

Control Surface
Buzz

At transonic speed,
normal shocks may
occur on control surface

Rudder Lock

## Low directional stability at high

sideslip due to stalling of fin
High (positive) hinge momentdue-to-sideslip at high sideslip
(e.g., B-26)
Negative rudder yawing moment

## With deflection, shocks

move differentially
Possibility of selfsustained nonlinear
oscillation (limit cycle)

Solutions

## Rudder deflected to stops at high

sideslip; aircraft trims at high \$
3 necessary ingredients

Splitter-plate rudder
fixes shock location for
small deflections
Blunt trailing edge
Fully powered controls
with actuators at the
surfaces

Problematical if rudder is
unpowered and requires high
foot-pedal force (rudder float
of large WWII aircraft)
Solutions
Increase high-sideslip directional
stability by adding a dorsal fin
(e.g., B-737-100 (before), B-737400 (after))
Hydraulically powered rudder

Martin B-26

Boeing 737-100

Boeing 737-400

Control Systems

## Adjustment of trim and stickforce sensitivity to airspeed*

Downspring
Long mechanical spring with
low spring constant
Exerts a trailing-edge down
moment on the elevator

Bobweight
Weight on control column that
affects feel or basic stability
Mechanical stability
augmentation

Beechcraft B-18

## Mechanical and Augmented

Control Systems
Mechanical system

## Mechanical, Power-Boosted Systems

McDonnell Douglas F-15
Grumman A-6

## Push rods, bellcranks, cables, pulleys

Power boost
Pilot's input augmented by hydraulic servo that
lowers manual force

## Fully powered (irreversible) system

No direct mechanical path from pilot to
controls
Mechanical linkages from cockpit controls to
servo actuators

## Classical Lateral Control Logic for

a Fighter Aircraft (c.1970)

## MIL-DTL-9490E, Flight Control Systems - Design, Installation and Test

of Piloted Aircraft, General Specification for, 22 April 2008
Superseded for new designs on same date by
SAE-AS94900
http://www.sae.org/servlets/works/documentHome.do?comtID=TEAA6A3&docID=AS94900&inputPage=dOcDeTaIlS

## Effect of Scalar Feedback Control

on Roots of the System

!y(s) = K

kn(s)
kn(s)
!yc (s) " K
!y(s)
d(s)
d(s)

## Block diagram algebra

!y(s) = H (s)!u(s) =

=K

kn(s)
kn(s)
!u(s) =
K !" (s)
d(s)
d(s)

!y(s) + K

kn(s)
kn(s)
kn(s)
!yc (s) " !y(s)] = K
!yc (s) " K
!y(s)
[
d(s)
d(s)
d(s)
Aircraft Transfer Function (open-loop): H (s) =

kn(s)
K
!y(s)
d(s)
=
kn(s) %
!yc (s) "
\$1 + K d(s) '
#
&

kn(s)
d(s)

kn(s)
kn(s)
!y(s) = K
!yc (s)
d(s)
d(s)

## Root Locus Analysis of Pitch Rate Feedback to

Elevator (2nd-Order Approximation)

kn(s)
!y(s)
Kkn(s)
Kkn(s)
d(s)
=
=
=
kn(s) % [ d(s) + Kkn(s)] ! closed ( s )
!yc (s) "
loop
\$1 + K d(s) '
#
&
K

## Closed-loop roots are solutions to

! closed (s) = d(s) + Kkn(s) = 0
loop

or

kn(s)
= !1
d(s)

k q s # zq
kn(s)
!q(s)
=K
=K 2
= #1
s + 2\$ SP% nSP s + % n2SP
d(s)
!" E(s)

Number of roots = 2
Number of zeros = 1
Destinations of roots (for k = "):
1 root goes to the zero of n(s)
1 root goes to infinite radius from the origin

roots going to "
K -> +": 180 deg
K -> ": 0 deg

## Root Locus Analysis of Pitch

Rate Feedback to Elevator
(2nd-Order Approximation)
K

## Root Locus Analysis of Angular

Feedback to Elevator (4th-Order Model)*

k q s # zq
kn(s)
!q(s)
=K
=K 2
= #1
s + 2\$ SP% nSP s + % n2SP
d(s)
!" E(s)
Flight Path Angle

Pitch Rate

## K > 0: Segment to the left of the zero

K < 0: Segment to the right of the zero
Pitch Angle

to changing Mq

Angle of Attack

## * p. 524, Flight Dynamics

Direct-Lift Control-Approach
Power Compensation
Vought F-8

Variable-incidence wing to
provide better pilot visibility
Flight path control at low
approach speeds requires throttle
use, could not be made with pitch
control alone
Engine response time is slow
Flight test of direct lift control
(DLC), using the ailerons as flaps

## Direct Lift and

Propulsion Control

## Approach power compensation

for A-7 Corsair II and direct lift
control were studied at Princeton
using our Variable-Response
Research Aircraft

Vought A-7

Princeton VRA

Direct-Lift/Drag Control

## Direct-lift control on S-3A Viking

Implemented with spoilers
Rigged up during landing to
allow lift.

## Speed brakes on T-45A Goshawk

make up for slow spool-up time
of jet engine
BAE Hawk's speed brake moved
to sides for carrier landing
Idle speed increased from 55% to
78% to allow more effective
modulation via speed brakes

Lockheed S-3A

Next Time:
Flight Testing

Boeing T-45

Trailing-Edge
Bevel Balance

Supplementary
Material

See discussion in
Abzug and Larrabee

Control Surface

Carryover effect

## Aft-flap deflection can be almost as effective as

full surface deflection at subsonic speeds
Negligible at supersonic speed

## Single-engine, delta-wing aircraft requiring small rudder inputs

Rudder was ineffectual, shielded from flow by the large delta wing
rudder effectiveness was high
floating tendency deflected rudder in a pro-spin direction
300 lb of pedal force to neutralize the rudder

## Fortunately, the test aircraft had a spin chute

Aft flap
Mass and inertia lower, reducing likelihood of
mechanical instability
Aerodynamic hinge moment is lower
Can be mounted on structurally rigid main
surface

## Early powered systems had a single

powered channel, with mechanical
backup

A4D

## Reversion typically could not be

undone
Gearing change between control stick
and control to produce acceptable pilot
Flying qualities changed during a highstress event

## Redundancy was needed

Artificial-feel system
Restores control forces to those of an
"honest" airplane
Variation with trim stabilizer angle
Bobweight responds to gravity and to
normal acceleration

Pilot-initiated reversion to
"conventional" manual controls
Flying qualities with manual control
often unacceptable

A3D

B-47

Fly-by-wire/light system
Minimal mechanical runs
Command input and feedback signals
drive servo actuators
Fully powered systems
Move from hydraulic to electric power

Control-Configured Vehicles

## Boeing 777 Fly-By-Wire Control System

Command/stability augmentation
Lateral-directional response

## Bank without turn

Turn without bank
Yaw without lateral translation
Lateral translation without yaw
Velocity-axis roll (i.e., bank)

Longitudinal response

## Pitch without heave

Heave without pitch
Pitch-command/attitude-hold
Flight path angle
Princeton Variable-Response Research Aircraft

USAF AFTI/F-16

## United Flight 232, DC-10

Sioux City, IA, 1989

## Root Locus Analysis of Angular

Feedback to Thrust (4th-Order Model)

Pitch Angle

## Uncontained engine failure damaged all three flight control

hydraulic systems (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Airlines_Flight_232)

Pitch Rate

Angle of Attack

## 296 people onboard

185 survived due to pilot!s
differential control of engines

## Proposed backup attitude control in event of flight control system failure

Differential throttling of engines to produce control moments
Requires feedback control for satisfactory flying qualities