Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Advisor

Meir Pachter, PhD


A new control methodology for manual flight control, viz., real-time tracking control, is developed. Amplitude and rate constrained dynamic actuators are considered. Optimal tracking control is made possible by the use of unique reference signal prediction strategies which extrapolate the reference signal over the optimization horizon. A receding horizon, linear-quadratic inner-loop controller is employed in conjunction with an outer-loop nonlinear element. The constraint effects mitigation strategy is to optimally track a modified reference signal which yields feasible actuator commands over the optimization horizon when the pilot demanded reference is too aggressive to be tracked by the inner-loop optimal control law. A discrete-time implementation yields computationally inexpensive, closed-form solutions which are implementable in real-time and which afford the optimal tracking of an exogenous, unknown a priori reference signal. The developed control algorithm is applied to an open-loop unstable aircraft model, with attention being given to the trade-offs associated with the conflicting objectives of aggressive tracking and saturation avoidance. One-step ahead constraint mitigation is shown to provide substantial improvement in the constrained system response, while slightly more complicated constraint mitigation strategies yield stronger stability properties.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number