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This paper presents an optimal control theory that accounts for variable time intervals in the information distribution to control effectors in a distributed microprocessor based flight control system. The theory is developed using a linear process model for the aircraft dynamics and the information distribution process is modeled as a variable time increment process where, at the time that information supplied to the control effectors, the control effectors know the time of the next, information update only in a stochastic sense. An optimal control problem is formulated and solved that provides the control law that minimizes the expected value of a quadratic cost function. An example is presented where the theory is applied to the control of the longitudinal motions of the F8-DFBW aircraft. Theoretical and simulation results indicate that, for the example problem, the optimal cost obtained using a variable time increment Markov information update process where the control effectors know only the past information update intervals and the Markov transition mechanism is almost identical to that obtained using known uniform information update interval.
Date of Conference: Dec. 1977