A Survey of Subscale Aircraft Primary Flight Control Actuator Dynamic Response Characteristics

Wail I. Harasani


This paper is intended to act as a reference document for subscale aircraft and aerospace system designers who are laying out primary flight control devices. Although a great deal of information exists on actuator deflections, moments, relatively little data is publicly available on actuator dynamics. Because aircraft dimensions and weights are growing ever smaller, aeromechanical modes are growing higher and higher in frequency. As a result, it is imperative that flight control actuators with high enough bandwidths to control these aircraft be specifid, modeled, integrated and flown. The paper begins with a brief overview of seveal major flight control actuator classes which are suitable for subscale aircraft flight control and a fundamental history of each. Following the historical overview, a survey of i.) conventional electromagnetic servoactuators, ii.) pieoelectric and iii.) pneumatic subscale flight control actuators are made. The study concludes with a side-by-side comparison of the dynamics of subscale flight control actuators with corner frequencies ranging from 0.5 to 460 Hz.


Flight Control, Subscale, MicroFlight, UAV, MAV, Servoactuator, Piezoelectric

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