System identification of small-size unmanned helicopter dynamics

Bernard Mettler, Mark B. Tischler, Takeo Kanade

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

179 Scopus citations


Flight testing of a fully-instrumented model-scale unmanned helicopter (Yamaha R-50 with 10 ft. diameter rotor) was conducted for the purpose of dynamic model identification. This paper describes the application of CIFER system identification techniques, which have been developed for full size helicopters, to this aircraft. An accurate, high-bandwidth, linear state-space model was derived for the hover condition. The model structure includes the explicit representation of regressive rotor-flap dynamics, rigid-body fuselage dynamics, and the yaw damper. The R-50 configuration and identified dynamics are compared with those of a dynamically scaled UH-1H. The identified model shows excellent predictive capability and is well suited for flight control design and simulation applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1706-1717
Number of pages12
JournalAnnual Forum Proceedings - American Helicopter Society
StatePublished - Jan 1 1999
EventProceedings of the 1999 55th Annual Forum of the American Helicopter Society, FORUM 55 - Montreal, Que., Can
Duration: May 25 1999May 27 1999


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