Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Richard G. Cobb, PhD


Wind tunnels play an indispensable role in the process of aircraft design, providing a test bed to produce valuable, accurate data that can be extrapolated to actual flight conditions. Historically, time-averaged data has made up the bulk of wind tunnel research, but modern flight design necessitates the use of dynamic wind tunnel testing to provide time-accurate data for high frequency motion. This research explores the use of a 6 degree of freedom (DOF) motion test apparatus (MTA) in the form of a robotic arm to allow models inside a subsonic wind tunnel to track prescribed trajectories to obtain time-accurate force and moment coefficients. Specifically, different control laws were designed, simulated, and integrated into a 2 DOF model representative of the elbow pitch and wrist pitch joints of the MTA system to decrease positional tracking error for a desired end-effector trajectory. Stability of the closed-loop systems was proven via Lyapunov analysis for all of the control laws, and the control laws proved to decrease tracking error during the trajectory case studies. An adaptive sliding mode control scheme was chosen as most suitable to simulate on the 6 DOF model due to the small tracking error as compared to the other control schemes and the availability of parameters of the actual MTA system when subject to the time-varying aerodynamics of the wind tunnel.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number