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Aircraft Pitch Control



VIKAS ( 2K12/EC/189)
VIKAS YADAV ( 2K12/EC/190)

What is Pitch ?
Stability and control are much more
complex for an airplane, which can
move freely in three dimensions, than
for cars or boats, which only move in

By moving the elevator control backwards the pilot

moves the elevator up (a position of negative
camber) and the downwards force on the horizontal
tail is increased. Theangle of attackon thewings
increased so the nose is pitched up and lift is
generally increased.

Rotation around the side-to-side axis is

The Elevator Controls Pitch
On the horizontal tail surface, the
elevator tilts up or down, decreasing or
increasing lift on the tail. This tilts the
nose of the airplane up and down.

Understanding the Physical


The basic coordinate axes and forces acting on

an aircraft are shown in the figure

The equations governing the

motion of an aircraft are a very
complicated set of six nonlinear
coupled differential equations.
However, under certain
assumptions, they can be
decoupled and linearized into
longitudinal and lateral
Aircraft pitch is governed by the
longitudinal dynamics. In this
example we will design an
autopilot that controls the pitch
of an aircraft.

Understanding the underlying


ASSUMPTIONS : 1. Aircraft is in steady-cruise at constant altitude and velocity; thus, the thrust,
drag, weight and lift forces balance each other in thex- andy-directions.
2. Change in pitch angle will not change the speed of the aircraft under any circumstance

Symbols Used :

Transfer Function
Before finding transfer function ,we need to plug in some real values .We are using values
from Airbus commercial aircraft .

Taking Laplace transform of the above mentioned equations :

Transfer Function

After a simple mathematics, We can get the transfer function for aircraft pitch
control system .

Understanding the Design


To design a feedback controller so that in response to a step command of pitch

angle the actual pitch angle overshoots less than 10%, has a rise time of less than
2 seconds, a settling time of less than 10 seconds, and a steady-state error of less
than 2%. For example, if the reference is 0.2 radians (11 degrees), then the pitch
angle will not exceed approximately 0.22 rad, will rise from 0.02 rad to 0.18 rad
within 2 seconds, will settle to within 2% of its steady-state value within 10
seconds, and will settle between 0.196 and 0.204 radians in steady-state.

In summary, the design requirements are the following.

Peak Overshoot less than 10%

Rise time less than 2 seconds

Settling time less than 10 seconds

Steady-state error less than 2%

Open loop Modelling

From the above plot, we see that the openloop response does not satisfy the design
criteria at all. In fact, the open-loop
response is unstable.


Close loop Modelling

Examining the above closed-loop step

response, the addition of feedback has
stabilized the system. In fact, the steadystate error appears to be driven to zero and
there is no overshoot in the response, though
the settling-time requirements are not met.


Choosing the right Controller

A proportional controller Kp will have the effect of reducing rise time but will never
reduce steady state error.
An integral control Ki will eliminate the steady state error for constant or step input but
will make the transient response slower.
A derivative control Kd will increase the stability of system ,reducing the overshoot
improving the transient response .


Basic Controller Architecture

For a step reference of 0.2 radians, the design

criteria are the following.
Overshoot less than 10%
Rise time less than 2 seconds
Settling time less than 10 seconds
Steady-state error less than 2%

We will take advantage of the

automated tuning capabilities of
theSISO Design Toolwithin
MATLAB to design our PID
controller. First, enter the
following code at the command
line to define the model of our

The SISO Design tool can be

opened by typing sisotool(P_Pitch) at
the command line


Proportional Control

Kp = 1
The performance is improved with proportional
controller, though the settling time is still much
too large.


Proportional Integral Controller

Ki = 0.56, Kp = 1.00
The addition of integral control helped reduce
the average error in the signal more quickly.
Unfortunately, the integral control also made the
response more oscillatory, therefore, the settle
time requirement is still not met. Furthermore, the
overshoot requirement is no longer met either.


PID Controller

The response with PID meets all of the given

requirements as summarized below.
Overshoot = 5% < 10%
Rise time = 1.2 seconds < 2 seconds
Settling time = 5 seconds < 10 seconds
Steady-state error = 0% < 2%
Therefore, this PID controller will provide the
desired performance of the aircraft's pitch.


Root Locus Plot

Type sisotool('rlocus', P_pitch) in the
command window. Two windows will
initially open, one is the SISO Design Task
which will open with the root locus of the
plant with gain K as shown below, and the
other is the Control and Estimation Tool
Manager which allows you to design
compensators, analyze plots, and so forth.

We specifically need to shift the root locus

more to the left in the complex plane to get
it inside our desired region. One way to do
this is to employ a lead compensator.


Root locus with Lead Compensator

The transfer function of a typical lead
compensator is the following, where
the zero is smaller than the pole,
that is, it is closer to the imaginary
axis in the complex plane.

Since the root locus is entirely in the

negative half of s-plane, the system is


Bode Plot : Closed Loop Response


Analysing the Bode plot

Examination of the plots demonstrates that the settle time requirement of 10 seconds
is not close to being met. One way to address this is to make the system response
faster, but then the overshoot shown above will likely become a problem. Therefore,
the overshoot must be reduced in conjunction with making the system response
faster. We can accomplish these goals by adding a compensator to reshape the Bode
plot of the open-loop system.
Two Observed Behaviour
the gain crossover frequency is directly related to the closed-loop system's speed of
response, and
the phase margin is inversely related to the closed-loop system's overshoot.
Therefore, we need to add a compensator that will increase the gain crossover frequency and
increase the phase margin as indicated in the Bode plot of the open-loop system.


Lead Compensator
A type of compensator that can accomplish both of our goals is a lead compensator
A lead compensator adds positive phase to the system. Additional positive phase increases the
phase margin, thus, increasing the damping. The lead compensator also generally increases the
magnitude of the open-loop frequency response at higher frequencies, thereby, increasing the
gain crossover frequency and overall speed of the system. Therefore, the settling time should
decrease as a result of the addition of a lead compensator. The general form of the transfer
function of a lead compensator is the following.


Bode plot with Compensator

Closed loop response with lead compensator


Analysing the Results

Therefore, the following lead compensator is able to

satisfy all of our design requirements.



The design requirements are fulfilled by the PID

controller design.

Since the gain margin( infinity ) and phase margin

(71.5 degree) both are positive , the system is