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Height Estimation and Control of Rotorcraft in Ground Effect Using Spatially Distributed Pressure Sensing

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We describe a dynamic height controller for rotorcraft hovering and landing in ground effect based on flow field sensing and estimation. The rotor downwash in ground effect is represented using a ring-source potential-flow model selected for real-time use and validated experimentally. A nonlinear dynamic model of the heave test stand that represents the dynamics of a rotorcraft in ground effect is presented. Flow field pressure measurements are compared with flow-model predictions in a grid-based recursive Bayesian filter to estimate height above ground. Height control in ground effect using the estimated height is implemented with a dynamic linear controller. The experimental results show that height estimation and control are possible for a miniature autonomous rotorcraft by comparing two sets of differential pressure measurements in the rotor downwash with a low-order aerodynamic model in a Bayesian filter.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2016

This article was made available online on September 8, 2016 as a Fast Track article with title: "Height Estimation and Control of Rotorcraft in Ground Effect Using Spatially Distributed Pressure Sensing".

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  • The Journal of the AHS is the world's only scientific journal dedicated to vertical flight technology. It is a peer-reviewed technical journal published quarterly by The Vertical Flight Society and presents innovative papers covering the state-of-the-art in all disciplines of VTOL design, research and development. (Please note that VFS members receive significant discounts on articles and subscriptions.)

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