Numerical simulation of feedback control of aerodynamic configurations in steady and unsteady ground effects

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Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University

A general numerical simulation of closely coupled lifting surfaces in steady and unsteady ground effects was developed. This model was coupled with the equations of motion to simulate aerodynamic-dynamic interaction. The resulting model was then coupled with a feedback-control law to form a general nonlinear unsteady numerical simulation of control of an aircraft in and out of ground effect.

The aerodynamic model is based on the general unsteady vortex-lattice method and the method of images. It is not restricted by planform, angle of attack, sink rate, dihedral angle, twist, camber, etc. as long as stall or vortex bursting does not occur. In addition, it has the versatility to model steady and unsteady aerodynamic interference. The present model can be used to simulate any prescribed flare and to model the effects of cross and/or head winds near the ground.

The present results show the influences of various parameters on the aerodynamic coefficients for both steady and unsteady flows. Generally, the ground increases the aerodynamic coefficients; the greater the sink rates, the stronger the effects. Increasing the aspect ratio increases both the steady and unsteady ground effects. An exception is a large aspect-ratio wing with large camber. The present results are generally in close agreement with limited exact solutions and experimental data.

In the aerodynamic-dynamic simulation, the equations of motion were solved by Hammlng's predictor-corrector method. The aircraft, air stream, and control surfaces were treated as a single dynamic system. The entire set of governing equations was solved simultaneously and interactively. The aerodynamic-dynamic model was used to study a configuration that resembles a Cessna 182 airplane. The ground lowers the effectiveness of the tail in controlling pitch, increases the lift and drag, and makes the hinge-moment less negative. Proportional and rate control laws were used in a feedback system to control pitch. One set of gains was used in and out of ground effect. For the same control input, the pitch angle responds faster and overshoots more near the ground than it does far from the ground. The present results demonstrate the feasibility of using the current simulation to model more complicated motions and the Importance of including the unsteady ground effects when analyzing the performance of an airplane during a landing maneuver.