Probabilistic Flight Envelope Estimation with Application to Unstable Over-Actuated Aircraft

Mingzhou Yin, Qiping Chu, Ye Zhang, Michael A. Niestroy, Coen de Visser

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference proceedings/Edited volumeConference contributionScientificpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This paper proposes a novel and practical framework for safe flight envelope estimation and protection, in order to prevent loss-of-control-related accidents. Conventional analytical envelope estimation methods fail to function efficiently for systems with high dimensionality and complex dynamics, which is often the case for high-fidelity aircraft models. In this way, this paper develops a probabilistic envelope estimation method based on Monte Carlo simulation. This method generates a probabilistic estimation of the flight envelope by simulating flight trajectories with extreme control effectiveness. It is shown that this method can significantly reduce the computational load compared with previous optimization-based methods and guarantee feasible and conservative envelope estimation of no less than seven dimensions. This method was applied to the Innovative Control Effectors aircraft, an over-actuated tailless fighter aircraft with complex aerodynamic coupling between control effectors. The estimated probabilistic flight envelope is used for online envelope protection by a database approach. Both conventional state-constraint-based and novel predictive probabilistic flight envelope protection systems were implemented on a multi-loop nonlinear dynamic inversion controller. Real-time simulation results prove that the proposed framework can protect the aircraft within the estimated envelope and save the aircraft from maneuvers that otherwise would result in loss of control.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAIAA Scitech 2019 Forum
Subtitle of host publication7-11 January 2019, San Diego, California, USA
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)978-1-62410-578-4
Publication statusPublished - 2019
EventAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019 - San Diego, United States
Duration: 7 Jan 201911 Jan 2019


ConferenceAIAA Scitech Forum, 2019
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Internet address


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