Developing active manipulators in aircraft flight control

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Most haptic interfaces developed for aircraft control provide haptic support as an additional force on the control manipulator. This study revisits the active manipulator, which is a design concept that is different from but complementary to existing haptic interfaces. This control device sends the force that the pilot exerts on it to the aircraft while feeding back the aircraft rotational rate by means of its deflection angle. It is found that, in comparison with the conventional passive manipulator, the active manipulator greatly facilitates target following and disturbance rejection in compensatory tracking tasks. Furthermore, larger improvements in task performance are associated with higher forcing-function bandwidths. These findings are accounted for by the fact that the active manipulator changes the effective controlled-element dynamics into integratorlike dynamics while at the same time integrating disturbance rejection into the neuromuscular system. However, the high-frequency disturbances acting on the aircraft present in feedback about the aircraft state adversely affect the operational effectiveness of the active manipulator. Based on the experimental findings and results from the passivity theory, a lead-lag filter is designed and evaluated, which mitigates this effect without affecting task performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1755-1767
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2019

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