Helicopter Mathematical Model Development using an RC Pilot – RC Piloted Flight Trial, Data Acquisition, Model Development and Analysis


  1. Trentini, M.
  2. Fenrick, D.
  3. Desgagnés, R.
  4. Anderson, D.
  5. Monckton, S.
  6. Hui, K.
Corporate Authors
Defence R&D Canada - Suffield, Ralston ALTA (CAN)
Defence R&D Canada – Suffield is investigating the feasibility of using a lightweight rotorcraft unmanned aerial vehicle with sufficient payload capacity to deliver an autonomous field resupply capability. Under this project, a modified ultralight helicopter has been equipped with actuators and computer control to deliver unmanned flight capability. It has also been fitted with sensors and data acquisition hardware to record flight test data. Using a technique called parameter estimation, flight test data from a prescribed set of manoeuvres conducted to excite the dynamic modes of a helicopter can be collected, processed, and used to develop and validate a mathematical model of the helicopter dynamics. Parameter estimation was originally developed for manned aircraft and poses some challenges for use in unmanned systems. In the effort reported herein, collection of flight test data was attempted using a radio-controlled (RC) pilot performing the prescribed set of manoeuvres in the radio-controlled operational mode of the helicopter. The RC pilot had difficulty performing the manoeuvres while maintaining stability of the aircraft, allowing only a preliminary mathematical model to be constructed. A methodology is proposed to obtain the necessary flight data to afford a full mathematical model.

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unmanned aerial vehicle;uav;helicopter;model;stability;flight control algorithms
Report Number
DRDC-SUFFIELD-TM-2011-240 — Technical Memorandum
Date of publication
01 Dec 2011
Number of Pages
Electronic Document(PDF)

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