Degree Name

BS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering Department


Eric Mehiel


This report describes the design and analysis of a control experiment to be implemented in the AERO 320 curriculum. The purpose of the experiment is to give the students hands-on experience working with a control system. In addition, the experiment aims to demonstrate the effect a proportional, integral, derivative (PID) controller has on a control system. The system to be controlled is a model helicopter, constrained to vertical motion. The physical system was built using radio controlled (RC) components, off-the-shelf products, and custom designed parts. The system was tested using an RC transmitter and receiver to manually control the height of the model. A Simulink model with PID controller and simplified plant model was developed and analyzed. A Routh-Hurwitz tabulation was conducted to determine the range of controller gains that would stabilize the system. The gains were varied to determine the effect on the step response and Bode diagram for the helicopter model. The results showed that the changing gain values did not affect the phase margin or gain crossover frequency of the system. Future improvements to the physical system and Simulink model are covered in detail at the end of the report with end goal of testing the system closed loop.