Advanced Flight Control Laboratory

Centaurus Wind Tunnel

Centaurus Wind Tunnel


  • Students receive practical, hands on experience of live visualizations of control systems during flight.
  • Advance data monitoring and access
  • Advance real-time controls and data analysis.

Centaurus Wind Tunnel


The Centaurus Advance Flight Control Laboratory is a powerful educational aid, as aeronautical students will be able to view in real-time the behavior and performance of particular aircraft, mainly UAV designs in a controlled environment of the wind tunnel.

The current increase demand in military UAVs has been fueling a build-up in the private sector. UAVs represent a promising and cost-effective alternative to manned aircraft for many civilian applications. Compared to traditional air vehicles, UAVs offer significant advantages in terms of human safety (especially in dull, dirty, and dangerous missions), operational cost reduction, and work rate efficiency. While system research is very advanced in the United States, interest in Asia has only just initiated presenting a big gap in actual involvement of controls system hardware for Aeronautical students. This make it more imperative for Aeronautical students to be equip and lessen the existing gap.

The Centaurus Advance Flight Controls Laboratory enable students witness the actual performance characteristic of the actual physical plane inside a test cell which an advance hardware-enable controls will maneuvered the plane to achieved desired flight attitude.

Students will be involved in the setting of various control parameters and its resulted flight behavior. This enable first hand appreciation on how it influence the fight characteristic which normally only happened in flight or on board an expensive multimillions flying laboratory.

The control design process begins by defining the performance requirements. Control system performance is often measured by applying a step function as the set point command variable, and then measuring the response of the process variable. Commonly, the response is quantified by measuring defined waveform characteristics. Rise Time is the amount of time the system takes to go from 10% to 90% of the steady-state, or final, value.

Percent Overshoot is the amount that the process variable overshoots the final value, expressed as a percentage of the final value. Settling time is the time required for the process variable to settle to within a certain percentage (commonly 5%) of the final value. Steady-State Error is the final difference between the process variable and set point. Note that the exact definition of these quantities will vary according to the desired flight characteristic.


The Centaurus Advance Flight Controls Laboratory uses integrate a Freescale real-time processor with the VxWorks real-time operating system. The 5200 interfaces to a Xilinx FPGA via an internal PCI bus. In addition, the FPGA is tied directly to connectors for a variety of analog and digital I/O modules that connected to sensors, actuators, and communication buses.  The hardware are used as flight computer to acquire sensor information and generate PWM actuator signals from the control algorithms which is then used to achieved the desired flight behavior. Once the control parameter and results are satisfactory, the algorithms and then be downloaded into the hardware and run independently without a computer.




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