Degree Name

BS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering Department


Eric Mehiel


This paper describes the design, fabrication, and analysis of an experiment that demonstrates the stability and control system characteristics of an aircraft constrained at the center of gravity in an air flow field. Given a set of basic requirements, the physical system (including the airframe, wings, tail, and mounted ball bearing) was designed, modeled, and manufactured. With the aircraft placed in front of a fan and allowed to rotate freely with the ball bearing, an angular rate sensor and servo motor to the deflect the elevator may be connected to any computer using an analog/digital Data Acquisition (DAQ) device to send and receive signals needed for the real-time control of the system. Using Simulink and Matlab with the DAQ device, the user may take data on the response of the aircraft and design the control system. The basic open loop input/output responses, system identification, and comparison to a theoretical model are described, and future work will be used to identify the closed loop control characteristics of the experiment.