Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Eric Mehiel


The aim of this effort is to implement a nonlinear flight control architecture, specifically flight path control via command filtered backstepping, for use in AME UAS's Fury® 1500 unmanned flying wing aircraft. Backstepping is a recursive, control-effort minimizing, constructive design procedure that interlaces the choice of a Lyapunov function with the design of feedback control. It allows the use of certain plant states to act as intermediate, virtual controls, for others breaking complex high order systems into a sequence of simpler lower-order design tasks.

Work herein is a simplified implementation based on publications by Farrell, Sharma, and Polycarpou. Online approximation is not applied, however command filtering along with two variants of control allocation is. This minimal approach was done to mitigate risk, as adaptation could be added in future work to this baseline. Command filtering assures that control inputs generated meet magnitude, rate, and bandwidth constraints for states and actuators as well as provides command derivatives that reduce computation. Two different forms of control allocation were implemented, the simplest a least-squares pseudo-inverse and the second an optimal quadratic programming method.

Two Simulink based simulations successfully flew AME's Fury® 1500 UAS: a nominal case with fully operational actuators and a failure case with an actuator stuck at -10°. Coordinated flight for both cases with outer loop tracking was achieved for a demanding autopilot task of simultaneously varying heading and flight-path angle commands, ±60° and ±10° respectively, for a constant airspeed command of 135 ft/s. Command signals were generated were achievable due to the command filter implementation.