Stability boundaries for aircraft with unstable lateral-directional dynamics and control saturation

Prakash C. Shrivastava, Robert F. Stengel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


Aircraft that do not possess inherent (aerodynamic) stability must rely on closed-loop control systems for stable operation. Because there are limits on the deflections of an aircraft's control surfaces, the region of stable operation also is bounded. These boundaries are investigated for a lateral-directional example in which vertical fin size is inadequate to provide directional stability and where aileron and rudder deflections are subject to saturation; Fourth-order models are used in this study, with flight control logic based on minimum-controlenergy linear-quadratic-regulatory theory. It is found that the stability boundaries can be described by unstable limit cycles surrounding stable equilibrium points. Variations in regions of stability with gain levels and command inputs are illustrated. Current results suggest guidelines for permissible limits on the open-loop instability of an aircraft's lateral-directional modes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)62-70
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Control and Systems Engineering
  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Applied Mathematics


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