Flight Mechanics and Control

The Flight Mechanics and Control research group at IIT Kharagpur explores a diverse range of topics with a variety of approaches. Specific areas of research include Flight Dynamics and Controls, Flight Testing Design Guidance and Control of Rockets, Parafoil, UAV, MAV, WIG-Craft etc., Space Dynamics, Intelligent Systems, System Identification/Parameter Estimation - Neural Networks, Path planning, Trajectory optimization, Obstacle avoidance algorithms, and multi-agent systems of unmanned vehicle systems, Satellite based Navigation Systems (e.g. GPS, IRNSS etc.) including algorithm development for advanced navigation systems and reliability studies of satellite signals for autonomous/safety or liability-critical applications, Fault detection and Sensor fusion.

Current research activities include: Adaptation of Trajectory Optimization Techniques for Onboard Implementation for Unpowered Air Dropped Glide Vehicle, Altitude control of Magneto-Coulombic Satellites and Development and Validation of Kalman Filter-Based Integrity Monitoring Algorithms for advanced Navigation Systems.


3 DOF Gyroscope
The 3 DOF Gyroscope is a dynamically diverse experimental platform ideal for study of rotational dynamics principles related to the real-life applications including altitude control, momentum wheel control, navigation, satellite orientation, auto-pilot systems and technical devices with gyroscopic sensors, such as smart phones, tablets or video game controllers.

Students learn how to:
  • obtain a state-space representation of the open-loop system
  • design a state-feedback gain for the closed-loop system using Linear Quadratic Regulator (LQR) optimization
  • simulate the system using the designed controller and ensure stability of the system
  • implement the state-feedback controller on the system and evaluate its performance
In addition to teaching active control concepts, the 3 DOF Gyroscope can be also used for research in various areas, including nonlinear control and system identification.

Twin Rotor MIMO System (TRMS)
  • Two Rotor Aerodynamical System (TRAS) is a laboratory set-up designed for control experiments.
  • In certain aspects its behavior resembles that of a helicopter.
  • It is Multi Input Multi Output (MIMO) strongly cross-coupled control system.
  • It illustrates a high order nonlinear system with significant cross-couplings.
  • The TRAS system has been designed to operate with an external, PC-based digital controller.
  • The control computer communicates with the position, speed sensors and motors by a dedicated I/O board and power interface.
  • It is controlled by the real-time MATLAB/Simulink RTW/RTWT environment.
  • A pre-programmed library of controllers and Simulink models supports the TRAS system.

Inverted Pendulum System
  • The Pendulum & Cart System consists of a pole mounted on a cart in such a way that the pole can swing freely only in the vertical plane.
  • It is a forth order, nonlinear and unstable real-time control system
  • The system operates directly in the MATLAB/Simulink environment.
  • The user obtains ready pre-programmed experiments in the real-time using the RTWT toolbox.
  • The user also generates his own controller in a very fast and easy way using Simulink and library of drivers.

Magnetic Levitator System
  • The Magnetic Levitation System (MLS) is a nonlinear, open-loop, unstable frictionless dynamical system.
  • Both analogue & digital control solutions are implemented.
  • The system is fully integrated with MATLAB/Simulink and operates in the real-time in MSWindows.
  • In the case of two electromagnets the lower one can be used for external excitation or as a contraction unit. This feature extends the MLS application and is useful in robust controllers design.
  • The user has a chance to go step-by-step through the discrete models identification.
  • The user can also create his own controller in a fast and easy way.