In the design of flight control systems there are issues that deserve special consideration and attention such as external perturbations or systems failures. A Simple Adaptive Controller (SAC) that does not require a-priori knowledge of the faults is proposed in this paper with the aim of realizing a fault tolerant flight control system capable of leading the pitch motion of an aircraft. The main condition for obtaining a stable adaptive controller is the passivity of the plant; however, since real systems generally do not satisfy such requirement, a properly defined Parallel Feedforward Compensator (PFC) is used to let the augmented system meet the passivity condition. The design approach used in this paper to synthesize the PFC and to tune the invariant gains of the SAC is the Population Decline Swarm Optimization (PDSO). It is a modification of the Particle Swarm Optimization (PSO) technique that takes into account a decline demographic model to speed up the optimization procedure. Tuning and flight mechanics results are presented to show both the effectiveness of the proposed PDSO and the fault tolerant capability of the proposed scheme to control the aircraft pitch motion even in presence of elevator failures. © 2019 Techno-Press. Ltd.
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