Digital Flight Control Research Using Microprocessor Technology

Robert F. Stengel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The Flight Research Laboratory at Princeton University is engaged in an experimental program to investigate a variety of approaches to digital control by actual flight test. Experimentation is being conducted with Princeton's 6-DOF variable-response research aircraft (VRA), which is equipped for direct side-force control, direct-lift control, feedback of all motion variables, and multiple-pilot command modes. VRA avionics have been augmented by a microprocessor digital flight control system (Micro-DFCS), which uses off-the-shelf computer components capable of operating in parallel or in series with the existing variable-response system. The digital control laws operate in conjunction either with the “bare airframe” dynamics of the VRA or with the dynamics of a simulated aircraft, provided by the existing variable-response system. The initial flight control computer program CAS-1 provides three longitudinal control options: direct (unaugmented) command, pitch rate command, and normal acceleration command. The latter two options are “Type 0” systems designed by linear-quadratic control theory. Future Micro-DFCS software will provide a variety of increasingly complex control options, including “Type 1” logic, gain scheduling, coupled 3-axis control, and “CCV” command modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)397-404
Number of pages8
JournalIEEE Transactions on Aerospace and Electronic Systems
Issue number3
StatePublished - May 1979

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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