Airships actuality is associated with aerostatic lift, as well as with the current new level of technical capabilities of production of airships. The new stage of airship development is evidenced by numerous reports about projects and tests of various designs of airships.
Reasons for automatic airships:
- Human mistake is excluded.
- For an airship with big dimensions pilot has difficulties to “feel” and control.
- Support system for pilot like a cruise-control.
- Take-off and landing operations are difficult for pilot in wind disturbances.
- Automatic stabilization of flight in conditions of high wind loads.
- Increased safety due to control system actions in emergency conditions (when pilot actions are limited or impossible).
- Transportation in deadly conditions, when pilot is impossible to control: high radiation, chemical or biological danger, etc.
Airships automatic Control Systems Design
Airships is the most attractive type of aircraft from the implementation of the automatic control point of view. Even in case of control system failure airship remains in the air by aerostatic lift. In the other hand, airships have a number of features that need to be taken into account in the development of control laws:
- Airship has a large surface area.
- The airship’s speed is comparable to the speed of the surrounding air.
- Aerodynamic research should be performed for a wide range of airship flight parameters (airspeed, angle of attack and sideslip angle, angular frequencies and altitude). The natural experiments consume a lot of time and resources so it is appropriate to combine them with numerical methods.
We adhere to the following design steps of automatic control systems for airships:
- Mathematical modeling.
- Design of Control algorithm.
- Control system implementation.
Mathematical model of the airship is constructed on the basis of the kinematics and dynamics of rigid body model, models of actuators and air-gas system.
Computations of aerodynamic coefficients, mass and inertia parameters and other parameters is carried out to define the parameters of a mathematical model of the airship.
The main results of mathematical modeling:
- Controllability estimation results for various modes basing on the airship’s kinematics and dynamics equations.
- Relationship of aerodynamic coefficients to wind speed, attack and sideslip angles, angular speed and airship altitude.
- Relationship of aerodynamic forces and moments created by airship’s empennage to wind speed, attack angles, angular velocity and airship’s altitude.
- Relationships of the propeller’s thrusts to their rotation speeds, speed and altitude of the airship.
- Model of ballonets describing its influence on the airship’s mass and the value and application point of the gravity and Archimedes forces.
- Necessary thrusts and drive powers required for implementation of the preset trajectories at various speeds, attack and sideslip angles, altitudes and drive’s configurations.
Design of Control algorithm
The original patented algorithm calculates the required control (forces and moments and the settings of the actuators) for performing of a given flight task.
To account for the deformations, inaccuracies in definition of aerodynamics and added mass, unaccounted factors (ice, uneven heating) algorithms of robust estimation of external, parametric and structural perturbations are used.
Control system implementation
For debugging, operator training and demonstration airship software and hardware simulation developed, works in conjunction with a connected control system.
Control, navigation and telecommunications system has a modular architecture that makes it easier to set-up, maintenance and repair, as well as allows modifying the system to the requirements of the customer.
On-board computer software is designed based on advanced operating system and has a modular hierarchical structure. This allows to create different scenarios for its use, analyze the available data in the system and quickly make modifications to the system using modern development tools.
The software incorporates a means to record all flight data and playback and conversion for subsequent analysis.
|Design, manufacture and delivery of control, navigation and telecommunications systems for a prototype of an unmanned high-altitude airship (near space aircraft platform control system) for the China’s Hunan Space Agency Booklet|
|European Commission grant project MAAT (Multibody Advanced Airship for Transport) Booklet|
|Research commissioned by Russian Ministry of Defense:|
|The initiative project on the development a robotic mini-airship “Sterkh”|
|A number of student projects|
- Device of control of airship. The Russian patent for a utility model number 137812 from 05/02/2014
- The program of calculation and investigation of environment probabilistic model for motion planning system of autonomous stratospheric airship: a certificate of state registration of computer program number 2014613033
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