Fly by wire systems can offer a wide variety of assistive features for the pilot. This project was focussed on developing a range of the most essential systems that, if configured correctly, would substantially lower the skill required to pilot the proposed aircraft, as well as offering a solid base for future additions to the system.
Measures the aircraft’s altitude relative to sea level
Tracks the angular orientation of the plane
Lets the aircraft maintain a set attitude
This finalizes the project, resulting in a working model airplane that was used to develop a fly by wire system. The system consisted of an altimeter, accelerometer and AHRS system, forming a basic inertial navigation system. The implemented filters are flexible and easily adaptable to include more state variables and support redundant sensors. The controller is able to control the flight control surfaces, that have all been motorized, accepting either the desired attitude angles or turning rates for roll and pitch as an input. This forms a good foundation to implement a full autopilot in the future. The main requirement for this would be the addition of a GPS receiver giving the plane absolute positioning capability and also providing additional altitude data that could be fused into the altimeter. The main challenge of the project was its broad range of different topics. It was quite difficult to cover and document every subject in enough detail to get acceptable results, especially given the fact, that most of the fields involved are not covered in the school curriculum, requiring extensive research. Another challenge was posed through the extensive tuning required for the described sensor fusion and motion control algorithms. This problem however is already partially taken care of, as a new self-tuning algorithm is already nearing the first testing phase.