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Active Flight Path Control for an Induced Spin Flight Termination System
In this thesis, we describe a method for controlling the cycle-averaged velocity direction of a fixed-wing aircraft in an unpowered, helical descent. While the aircraft propulsion system is disabled, either intentionally or due to a failure, the aerodynamic control surfaces (aileron, elevator, and rudder) are assumed to be functional. Our approach involves two steps: (i) establishing a stable, steady, helical motion for which the control surfaces are not fully deflected and (ii) modulating the aircraft control surfaces about their nominal positions to ``slant'' the helical flight path in a desired direction relative to the atmosphere, whether to attain a desired impact location, to counter a steady wind, or both. The effectiveness of the control law was evaluated in numerical simulations of a general transport model (GTM).