The Impact of Control Allocation on Optimal Control Surface Positioning and Sizing

A comparative study for a PrandtlPlane

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Classically, aircraft controls are designed such that every control surface type primarily influences a single degree of freedom by creating a moment. Increased availability of computational resources and novel aircraft configuration allow a deviation from this approach and to utilize individual control surfaces to generate moments around multiple axes. The research investigates the impact of control allocation algorithms on the required control surface span and area for a box-wing configuration aircraft, the PrandtlPlane. The unique geometry of two full wings allows more flexibility in control surface placement. An optimization system for automatic control surface sizing under the constraints of adequate handling qualities has been developed and used to compare mechanical gearing, the constrained pseudo inverse, and the direct allocation algorithms. The results show that the PrandtlPlane configuration can benefit from the use of control allocation, showing a clear advantage of the direct allocation algorithm.