Research on a full envelop controller for an unmanned ducted-fan helicopter based on switching control theory

  • Yin WangEmail author
  • HongYi Song
  • Qiang Li
  • Hui Zhang


Rotor and ducted-fan structured unmanned helicopters have shown energy efficiency in low flight speed and hovering, due to the novel ducted-fan structure. However, its aerodynamic characteristics may change dramatically when flight at higher speed, resulting in a wide flight envelope when compared with conventional structured helicopters. Hence, the flight controller is required to schedule itself based on the flight states and guarantees the overall performances of the helicopter on the entire flight envelop. This paper presents a switching system theory based approach to design the optimal controllers over a wide region of flight envelop. In the proposed method, a family of robust controller are designed based on typical operational conditions and the controller is adjusted to guarantee the stability when the switching event is trigged. A hysteresis switching logic is utilized to ensure smooth transient between specific operational subspaces. The stability of the proposed control method was analyzed through Lyapunov theory. Nonlinear simulations based flight dynamics of the prototype helicopter have demonstrated the flexibility and efficiency of the proposed work.


switching system robust control unmanned helicopter flight control 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Chen Z, Wang D B, Zeng Z, et al. Modeling and sliding mode control with boundary layer for unmanned coaxial rotor ducted fan helicopter (in Chinese). Trans Nanjing Univ Aero Astro, 2016, 33: 199–207zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Harun-Or-Rashid M, Song J B, Chae S, et al. Unmanned coaxial rotor helicopter dynamics and system parameter estimation. J Mech Sci Tech, 2014, 28: 3797–3805MathSciNetCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Wang Y, Wang D. Tight formation control of multiple unmanned aerial vehicles through an adaptive control method. Sci China Inf Sci, 2017, 60: 070207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Dong Z Y, Liu S A, Liu C, et al. Modelling and robust control of an unmanned coaxial rotor helicopter with unstructured uncertainties. Adv Mech Eng, 2017, 9: 168781401668796CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Su B L, Li S Y, Zhu Q M. The design of predictive control with characterized set of initial condition for constrained switched nonlinear system. Sci China Ser E-Tech Sci, 2009, 52: 456–466MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Wang Y, Wang D. Variable thrust directional control technique for plateau unmanned aerial vehicles. Sci China Inf Sci, 2016, 59: 33201CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Cheng H, Dong C, Jiang W, et al. Non-fragile switched H∞ control for morphing aircraft with asynchronous switching. Chin J Aeronautics, 2017, 30: 1127–1139CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Liu Y, Xiao D, Lu Y. Research on advanced flight control methods based on actuator constraints for elastic model of hypersonic vehicle. Proc Inst Mech Eng Part G-J Aerospace Eng, 2014, 228: 1627–1637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Yao L U, Dong C Y, Wang Q, et al. Variable gain nonlinear switching controller design for near space vehicles (in Chinese). Contr Deci, 2017, 32: 613–618zbMATHGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zhu Y Z, Zhang L X, Lin W Y, et al. Benefits of redundant channels in observer-based H∞ control for discrete-time switched linear systems. Sci China Tech Sci, 2016, 59: 55–62CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. 11.
    Morse A S, Mayne D Q, Goodwin G C. Applications of hysteresis switching in parameter adaptive control. IEEE Trans Automat Contr, 1992, 37: 1343–1354MathSciNetCrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Anderson JD. Fundamentals of Aerodynamics. 6th ed. New York: McGraw Hill Education Press, 2017Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Seddon J, Newman S. Basic Helicopter Aerodynamics. 3rd ed. West Sussex: Wiley John, 2011CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Dreier ME. Introduction to Helicopter and Tiltrotor Flight Simulation. Reston: AIAA Education, 2007CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    McFarlane D, Glover K. A loop-shaping design procedure using H/ sub infinity/synthesis. IEEE Trans Automat Contr, 1992, 37: 759–769CrossRefzbMATHGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Science China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of AstronauticsNanjing University of Aeronautics and AstronauticsNanjingChina
  2. 2.Science and Technology on Aircraft Control LaboratoryFlight Automatic Control Research InstituteXi’anChina

Personalised recommendations