Course Description

The intent of the course is to provide a “top-level” introduction to Modern Flight Control Systems (FCS’s).  Basic elements of modern FCS’s are reviewed along with typical basic structures and system elements for modern fly-by-wire FCS’s. Modern analysis and simulation tools are introduced and demonstrated using MATLAB® and SIMULINK®, the advanced engineering computer programs. Students use the basics of MATLAB and the associated Control system Toolbox during the course. Handling qualities criteria and special issues related to modern complex FCS’s such as Pilot Induced Oscillations (PIO’s) are reviewed.  The need for systematic closed-loop handling qualities evaluations is emphasized. The effects of common control system feedback implementations are presented using MATLAB and the NTPS variable stability ground simulator (VSGS).   Command path shaping and nonlinearities in the command path, such as response limiters, time delay and rate limiting are also introduced and discussed.  Course learning objectives are reinforced when students complete two related mini-design/evaluation projects on the VSGS. The objective of the course is to provide a high level of understanding of the Principles, Issues, and Test Methods related to modern FCS’s  not to produce FCS designers. Daily review tutorials, oral exams (2) and a final written exam are included in the course. 
(Desirable Prerequisite: Completion of T&E 4104)

Anticipated Student Academic Outcomes

Upon successful completion of this course, the student will have a basic understanding of the Principles, Issues, and Test Methods related to modern FCS’s.  He/she will:

Be familiar with
1. Block diagram representation of a system and block diagram Algebra.
2. Generic structure of flight control systems.
3. The Poles and zeros formalism of a system
4. Application of Pre-filters in modern flight controls systems.
5. Response feedback technique used by modern flight control systems in order to augment stability of an aircraft. 
6. Effects of common parameters feedback on aircraft stability.
7. Basic concepts of systems command and dynamic inversion. 
8. General design criteria used for modern flight controls.

1. The relationship between poles location on the S-Plane and dynamic modes of the system.
2. The relationship between transfer functions and frequency response of a system
3. The meaning of Gain and Phase margins and I know how to extract those from the Bode plots. 
4. The basic approach in flight testing of a highly augmented aircraft. 

1. How to apply the Laplace transformation in solving equations of motion.
2. How to construct Bode plots and how to interpret the frequency response information they retain.
3. How to implement the Root Locus analysis in order to assess the closed loop stability of a system.
4. How to use MATLAB to solve for basic stability augmentation problems.

Sequence of Instruction

Overview/ Introduction
Basic Building Blocks (MATLAB Intro)
Block diagrams
Analysis Tools/ Stability Criteria
Augmentation Effects
Special MFCS Features
Handling Qualities Issues
Evaluation Methods/ Innovations
Intro to Variable Stability Ground Simulator (VSGS)
VSGS Mini-Project
Review of In-Flight Simulators
Oral (1) and Written (1) Exams

Texts and Reference Materials

NTPS, Vol. V,  “Modern Flight Control Systems”   
“Feedback and Control Systems”, Schaum’s Outlines
MATLAB (with Control System Toolbox), 

Instructional Methodology

Lectures, Solutions/ Examples using MATLAB,
Mini-Project on VSGS

Process of Evaluation

Oral Report of Mini-Project
Oral (1), Written Exams (1)

Signup: Use the Student Application Form to register for a course. Alternatively, you can contact us to check course availability.

NTPS Catalog: For more detailed information please visit the online catalog page to view or download the NTPS Catalog.

Notice: Course costs and dates are subject to change without notice. Please refer to the Course Schedule and Costs page for more information. Contact us to check course availability.

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Contact Info

National Test Pilot School
P.O. Box 658
Mojave, CA 93502-0658 USA
Phone: 661-824-2977
Fax: 661-824-2943