A method for estimating airspeed, angle of attack, and sideslip without using conventional, pitot-static airdata system is presented. The method relies on measurements from GPS, an inertial measurement unit (IMU) and a low-fidelity model of the aircraft's dynamics which are fused using two, cascaded Extended Kalman Filters. In the cascaded architecture, the first filter uses information from the IMU and GPS to estimate the aircraft's absolute velocity and attitude. These estimates are used as the measurement updates for the second filter where they are fused with the aircraft dynamics model to generate estimates of airspeed, angle of attack and sideslip. Methods for dealing with the time and inter-state correlation in the measurements coming from the first filter are discussed. Simulation and flight test results of the method are presented. Simulation results using high fidelity nonlinear model show that airspeed, angle of attack, and sideslip angle estimation errors are less than 0.5 m/s, 0.1 deg, and 0.2 deg RMS, respectively.Factors that affect the accuracy including the implication and impact of using a low fidelity aircraft model are discussed. It is shown using flight tests that a single linearized aircraft model can be used in lieu of a high-fidelity, non-linear model to provide reasonably accurate estimates of airspeed (less than 2 m/s error), angle of attack (less than 3 deg error), and sideslip angle (less than 5 deg error). This performance is shown to be relatively insensitive to off-trim attitudes but very sensitive to off-trim velocity.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. September 2014. Major: Aerospace Engineering and Mechanics. Advisor: Demoz Gebre-Egziabher. 1 computer file (PDF); viii, 99 pages.
Lie, F. Adhika Pradipta.
Synthetic air data estimation: a case study of model-aided estimation.
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