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A Gust Soaring Controller for Small Uninhabited Gliders

Jack Langelaan


The focus of this paper is on gust soaring: energy extraction from atmospheric turbulence by small- and mini-uninhabited aerial vehicles.  A controller which superimposes a gust-dependent control input on a state-feedback derived control input is proposed.  A genetic algorithm is used to obtain control gains and the optimal nominal trim state is described.  Control laws are designed for both vertical sinusoidal gust fields as well as vertical and longitudinal Dryden gust fields.  The optimal trim state and controller gains are shown to vary with gust intensity, and results of Monte Carlo simulations show significant energy savings for the gust soaring controller over a feedback-only controller.


Atmospheric physics; Aerodynamics; Design

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