Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Electrical Engineering (MSEE)

Degree Level



Electrical Engineering


Roy A. McCann

Committee Member

Juan Balda

Second Committee Member

Jingxian Wu


Actuator Failure, Adaptive Control, Aircraft Control, Aircraft Model, LQR, Transport Aircraft


Aircraft operate over a wide range of conditions including atmospheric, weight, and center ofgravity changes. This presents a substantial challenge to automatic control system designers. When these operating conditions are merged with a partial or full control surface failure, automatic flight control is near impossible with conventional controllers. Additionally, when pilots experience control failure emergencies during flight, workload and fatigue increase drastically. The continued research of automatic flight control systems that can seamlessly adapt to unmodelled failures will enable a new generation of robust aircraft control. In this paper a 9th order 6 degree of freedom aircraft model is used to evaluate a transport type aircraft’s response to an adaptive controller given unknown actuator failures. A differential thrust transport type aircraft model is developed and modeled in MATLAB and Simulink. A nominal controller is then designed using a linear quadratic regulator (LQR). This generates a model reference response to a perturbed flight condition. An adaptive controller is subsequently implemented as a controller to the linearized aircraft model. This enables the study of convergence to the uninhibited reference output after multiple actuator failures.