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Optimal penetration landing trajectories in the presence of windshear

  • A. Miele
  • T. Wang
  • H. Wang
  • W. W. Melvin
Contributed Papers

Abstract

This paper is concerned with optimal flight trajectories in the presence of windshear. The penetration landing problem is considered with reference to flight in a vertical plane, governed by either one control (the angle of attack, if the power setting is predetermined) or two controls (the angle of attack and the power setting). Inequality constraints are imposed on the angle of attack, the power setting, and their time derivatives.

The performance index being minimized measures the deviation of the flight trajectory from a nominal trajectory. In turn, the nominal trajectory includes two parts: the approach part, in which the slope is constant; and the flare part, in which the slope is a linear function of the horizontal distance. In the optimization process, the time is free; the absolute path inclination at touchdown is specified; the touchdown velocity is subject to upper and lower bounds; and the touchdown distance is subject to upper and lower bounds.

Three power setting schemes are investigated: (S1) maximum power setting; (S2) constant power setting; and (S3) control power setting. In Scheme (S1), it is assumed that, immediately after the windshear onset, the power setting is increased at a constant time rate until maximum power setting is reached; afterward, the power setting is held constant; in this scheme, the only control is the angle of attack. In Scheme (S2), it is assumed that the power setting is held at a constant value, equal to the prewindshear value; in this scheme, the only control is the angle of attack. In Scheme (S3), the power setting is regarded as a control, just as the angle of attack.

Under the above conditions, the optimal control problem is solved by means of the primal sequential gradient-restoration algorithm (PSGRA). Numerical results are obtained for several combinations of windshear intensities and initial altitudes. The main conclusions are given below with reference to strong-to-severe windshears.

In Scheme (S1), the touchdown requirements can be satisfied for relatively low initial altitudes, while they cannot be satisfied for relatively high initial altitudes; the major inconvenient is excess of velocity at touchdown. In Scheme (S2), the touchdown requirements cannot be satisfied, regardless of the initial altitude; the major inconvenient is defect of horizontal distance at touchdown.

In Scheme (S3), the touchdown requirements can be satisfied, and the optimal trajectories exhibit the following characteristics: (i) the angle of attack has an initial decrease, which is followed by a gradual, sustained increase; the largest value of the angle of attack is attained near the end of the shear; in the aftershear region, the angle of attack decreases gradually; (ii) initially, the power setting increases rapidly until maximum power setting is reached; then, maximum power setting is maintained in the shear region; in the aftershear region, the power setting decreases gradually; (iii) the relative velocity decreases in the shear region and increases in the aftershear region; the point of minimum velocity occurs at the end of the shear; and (iv) depending on the windshear intensity and the initial altitude, the deviations of the flight trajectory from the nominal trajectory can be considerable in the shear region; however, these deviations become small in the aftershear region, and the optimal flight trajectory recovers the nominal trajectory.

A comparison is shown between the optimal trajectories of Scheme (S3) and the trajectories arising from alternative guidance schemes, such as fixed controls (fixed angle of attack, coupled with fixed power setting) and autoland (angle of attack controlled via path inclination signals, coupled with power setting controlled via velocity signals). The superiority of the optimal trajectories of Scheme (S3) is shown in terms of the ability to meet the path inclination, velocity, and distance requirements at touchdown. Therefore, it is felt that guidance schemes based on the properties of the optimal trajectories of Scheme (S3) should prove to be superior to alternative guidance schemes, such as the fixed control guidance scheme and the autoland guidance scheme.

Key Words

Flight mechanics landing abort landing penetration landing optimal trajectories optimal control windshear problems sequential gradient-restoration algorithm primal sequential gradient-restoration algorithm 

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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. Miele
    • 1
  • T. Wang
    • 1
  • H. Wang
    • 1
  • W. W. Melvin
    • 2
  1. 1.Aero-Astronautics GroupRice UniversityHouston
  2. 2.Airworthiness and Performance CommitteeAir Line Pilots Association (ALPA)Washington, DC

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