A Comparative Framework for Maneuverability and Gust Tolerance of Aerial Microsystems
Humbert, James S
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Aerial microsystems have the potential of navigating low-altitude, cluttered environments such as urban corridors and building interiors. Reliable systems require both agility and tolerance to gusts. While many platform designs are under development, no framework currently exists to quantitatively assess these inherent bare airframe characteristics which are independent of closed loop controllers. This research develops a method to quantify the maneuverability and gust tolerance of vehicles using reachability and disturbance sensitivity sets. The method is applied to a stable flybar helicopter and an unstable flybarless helicopter, whose state space models were formed through system identification. Model-based static H-infinity controllers were also implemented on the vehicles and tested in the lab using fan-generated gusts. It is shown that the flybar restricts the bare airframe's ability to maneuver in translational velocity directions. As such, the flybarless helicopter proved more maneuverable and gust tolerant than the flybar helicopter. This approach was specifically applied here to compare stable and unstable helicopter platforms; however, the framework may be used to assess a broad range of aerial microsystems.