Flight Dynamics and System Identification for Modern Feedback Control - 1st Edition - ISBN: 9780857094667, 9780857094674

Flight Dynamics and System Identification for Modern Feedback Control

1st Edition

Avian-Inspired Robots

Authors: Jared Grauer James Hubbard Jr.
eBook ISBN: 9780857094674
Hardcover ISBN: 9780857094667
Imprint: Woodhead Publishing
Published Date: 31st August 2013
Page Count: 160
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Unmanned air vehicles are becoming increasingly popular alternatives for private applications which include, but are not limited to, fire fighting, search and rescue, atmospheric data collection, and crop surveys, to name a few. Among these vehicles are avian-inspired, flapping-wing designs, which are safe to operate near humans and are required to carry payloads while achieving manoeuverability and agility in low speed flight. Conventional methods and tools fall short of achieving the desired performance metrics and requirements of such craft. Flight dynamics and system identification for modern feedback control provides an in-depth study of the difficulties associated with achieving controlled performance in flapping-wing, avian-inspired flight, and a new model paradigm is derived using analytical and experimental methods, with which a controls designer may then apply familiar tools. This title consists of eight chapters and covers flapping-wing aircraft and flight dynamics, before looking at nonlinear, multibody modelling as well as flight testing and instrumentation. Later chapters examine system identification from flight test data, feedback control and linearization.

Key Features

  • Presents experimental flight data for validation and verification of modelled dynamics, thus illustrating the deficiencies and difficulties associated with modelling flapping-wing flight
  • Derives a new flight dynamics model needed to model avian-inspired vehicles, based on nonlinear multibody dynamics
  • Extracts aerodynamic models of flapping flight from experimental flight data and system identification techniques


Practicing engineers and researchers in aerospace and mechanical engineering interested in flapping-wing or new and exotic aircraft configurations

Table of Contents


List of figures

List of tables



About the authors

Chapter 1: Introduction


1.1 Background and motivation

1.2 Bio-inspired flapping wing aircraft

1.3 Flapping-wing literature review

1.4 Scope and contributions of current research

Chapter 2: Ornithopter test platform characterizations


2.1 Mathematical representation of an aircraft

2.2 Ornithopter aircraft description

2.3 Measurements from flight data

2.4 Configuration-dependent mass distribution

2.5 Quasi-hover aerodynamics

2.6 Implications for flight dynamics modeling

2.7 Chapter summary

Chapter 3: Rigid multibody vehicle dynamics


3.1 Model configuration

3.2 Kinematic equations of motion

3.3 Dynamic equations of motion

3.4 Chapter summary

Chapter 4: System identification of aerodynamic models


4.1 System identification method

4.2 Tail aerodynamics

4.3 Wing aerodynamics

4.4 Chapter summary

Chapter 5: Simulation results


5.1 Software simulation architecture

5.2 Determining trim solutions

5.3 Numerical linearization about straight and level mean flight

5.4 Modeling implications for control

5.5 Chapter summary

Chapter 6: Concluding remarks


6.1 Summary of work

6.2 Summary of modeling assumptions

6.3 Summary of original contributions

6.4 Recommendations for future research

Appendix A: Field calibration of inertial measurement units

Appendix B: Actuator dynamics system identification

Appendix C: Equations of motion for single-body flight vehicles

Appendix D: Linearization of a conventional aircraft model




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About the Author

Jared Grauer

Jared A. Grauer is a research aerospace engineer with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration at Langley Research Center. Prior to this he earned a PhD from the University of Maryland in Aerospace Engineering. His research is in system identification, feedback control, and unmanned air vehicle systems.

Affiliations and Expertise

NASA Langley Research Center

James Hubbard Jr.

James E. Hubbard Jr., is currently Professor of engineering at the University of Maryland and is serving as the Langley Distinguished Professor, resident at the National Institute of Aerospace. He has researched, developed, and manufactured morphing aircraft, smart materials, and unmanned air vehicle technologies. Prior to this, he led several companies, served as a Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and earned a PhD from the same institution. He is a Fellow of The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).

Affiliations and Expertise

University of Maryland and National Institute of Aerospace, USA


"...very clearly written and is quite readable. The authors are clearly leading experts in the field...strongly recommended to readers interested in the subject."--The Aeronautical Journal, February 2015

"Aerospace engineers Grauer…and Hubbard…describe an ornithopter they designed, built, and tested. An ornithopter flies by flapping wings like a bird. They cover ornithopter test platform characterizations, rigid multi-body vehicle dynamics, system identification of aerodynamic models, and simulation results."--ProtoView.com, February 2014