Journal of Intelligent & Robotic Systems

, Volume 73, Issue 1–4, pp 209–217 | Cite as

Control-Oriented Physical Input Modelling for a Helicopter UAV

  • Bryan Godbolt
  • Alan F. LynchEmail author


It has become standard in the helicopter UAV control literature to use the main and tail rotor thrusts, and the main rotor flapping angles as inputs. However, the physically-controllable inputs are servomotors which actuate the main rotor cyclic and collective pitch, and the tail rotor collective pitch. Precise treatments of the helicopter model exist which study the physical inputs. However, these models remain intractable for practical implementation motivating researchers to use rough approximations such as simple gain relationships between thrust and collective. We propose and identify a physical input model which retains the accuracy of a general model but is algebraically simple enough for its use in control design. As a result of experimental validation, the vehicle’s velocity is incorporated into the model to improve its accuracy.


Helicopter modeling and control Helicopter thrust model Model-based control Helicopter UAV autopilot 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Applied Nonlinear Controls Laboratory, Department of Electrical and Computer EngineeringUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada

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