Implementation of Constrained Control Allocation Techniques Using an Aerodynamic Model of an F-15 Aircraft


John Glenn Bolling

Master's Thesis submitted to the Faculty of the Virginia Tech in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of

Master of Science


Aerospace and Ocean Engineering


Dr. Wayne Durham

May 21, 1997
Blacksburg, Virginia


Control Allocation as it pertains to aerospace vehicles, describes the way in which control surfaces on the outside of an aircraft are deflected when the pilot moves the control stick inside the cockpit. Previously, control allocation was performed by a series of cables and push rods, which connected the 3 classical control surfaces (ailerons, elevators, and rudder), to the 3 cockpit controls (longitudinal stick, lateral stick, and rudder pedals). In modern tactical aircraft however, it is not uncommon to find as many as 10 or more control surfaces which, instead of being moved by mechanical linkages, are connected together by complex electrical and/or hydraulic circuits. Because of the large number of effectors, there can no longer be a one-to-one correspondence between surface deflections on the outside of the cockpit to pilot controls on the inside. In addition, these exterior control surfaces have limits which restrict the distance that they can move as well as the speed at at which they can move. The purpose of Constrained Control Allocation is to deflect the numerous control surfaces in response to pilot commands in the most efficient combinations, while keeping in mind that they can only move so far and so fast. The implementation issues of Constrained Control Allocation techniques are discussed, and an aerodynamic model of a highly modified F-15 aircraft is used to demonstrate the various aspects of Constrained Control Allocation. This work was conducted under NASA research grant NAG-1-1449 supervised by John Foster of the NASA Langley Research Center

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