Adaptive vortex seeking formation flight neurocontrol

Eugene Lavretsky, Naira Hovakimyan, Anthony Calise, Vahram Stepanyan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


This paper focuses on adaptive output-tracking flight control design problem with on-line extremum seeking command generation. The problem is motivated by the need to design an autopilot for autonomous close-coupled formation flight of two aircraft. Control design task is associated with the trailing aircraft only. Flying in formation, the trailing aircraft must constantly seek an optimal relative to the leader position that minimizes aerodynamic drag force induced by the wing tip vortices of the lead aircraft. The trailing aircraft dynamics are represented by two interconnected uncertain subsystems: 1) longitudinal (relative position, true airspeed) dynamics and 2) lateraldirectional (lateral position, bank angle, roll rate) dynamics. The two subsystems approximate the trailing aircraft motion in a closed-coupled formation with the leader. While the control command for the first subsystem is predetermined (desired longitudinal separation), the command for the second subsystem (desired lateral separation) is computed on-line such that the influence of the second subsystem on the first one is minimized. Using feedforward neural networks, direct adaptive model reference control, and on-line extremum seeking command generation, the proposed formation flight autopilot provides the trailing aircraft with bounded output tracking and minimizes effects of vortex uncertainty on the aircraft aerodynamic drag force. Boundedness of the tracking error signals in the closed-loop system is shown using Lyapunov direct method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc.
ISBN (Print)9781563479786, 9781624100901
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit 2003 - Austin, TX, United States
Duration: Aug 11 2003Aug 14 2003

Publication series

NameAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit


OtherAIAA Guidance, Navigation, and Control Conference and Exhibit 2003
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityAustin, TX

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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