Development of Control Strategies for a Twin-Cyclocopter in Forward Flight

Shrestha, Elena; Hrishikeshavan, Vikram; Benedict, Moble; Yeo, Derrick; Chopra, Inderjit
October 2016
Journal of the American Helicopter Society;2016, Vol. 61 Issue 4, p042009-1
Academic Journal
We describe the development of control strategies and wind tunnel experiments that enabled the first successful stable forward flight of a cyclocopter purely using thrust vectoring. Unlike a conventional helicopter, a cyclocopter is propelled in forward flight without pitching the entire vehicle and instead maintains a level attitude by vectoring thrust from the cyclorotors. The 550-g vehicle uses two cyclorotors and a horizontal conventional rotor that counteracts the pitching moment generated by the cyclorotors and also provides pitch control. With this configuration, there is a roll-yaw gyroscopic coupling due to net unbalanced angular momentum and a roll-yaw control cross-coupling caused by changing magnitude of the tilted thrust vector. Both couplings are eliminated by mixing roll and yaw inputs with appropriate ratios found from wind tunnel experiments. After implementing the control mixing strategy in the closed-loop feedback system, the cyclocopter successfully achieved steady level forward flight up to 5 m/s.


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