Flight-Path Reconstruction and Flight Test of Four-Line Power Kites

R. Borobia-Moreno, Gonzalo Sánchez-Arriaga, A. Serino, Roland Schmehl

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)
33 Downloads (Pure)


A flight-path reconstruction algorithm for tethered aircraft, which is based on an extended Kalman filter, is presented. The algorithm is fed by the measurements of a set of onboard and ground-based instruments and provides the optimal estimation of the system state-space trajectory, which includes typical aircraft variables such as position and velocity, as well as an estimation of the aerodynamic force and torque. Therefore, it can be applied to closed-loop control in airborne wind energy systems and it is a first step toward aerodynamic parameter identification of tethered aircraft using flight-test data. The performance of the algorithm is investigated by feeding it with real flight data obtained from a low-cost and highly portable experimental setup with a four-line kite. Several flight tests, which include pullup and lateral-directional steering maneuvers with two kites of different areas, are conducted. The coherence of the estimations provided by the filter, such as the kite state-space trajectory and aerodynamic forces and torques, is analyzed. For some standard variables, such as kite Euler angles and position, the results are also compared with a second independent onboard estimator.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2604-2614
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics: devoted to the technology of dynamics and control
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Bibliographical note

Green Open Access added to TU Delft Institutional Repository ‘You share, we take care!’ – Taverne project https://www.openaccess.nl/en/you-share-we-take-care Otherwise as indicated in the copyright section: the publisher is the copyright holder of this work and the author uses the Dutch legislation to make this work public.


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