Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Mario G. Perhinschi.


Nearly all modern helicopters are designed with a swashplate-based system for control of the main rotor blades. However, the swashplate-based approach does not provide the level of redundancy necessary to cope with abnormal actuator conditions. For example, if an actuator fails (becomes locked) on the main rotor, the cyclic inputs are consequently fixed and the helicopter may become stuck in a flight maneuver. This can obviously be seen as a catastrophic failure, and would likely lead to a crash.;These types of failures can be overcome with the application of individual blade control (IBC). IBC is achieved using the blade pitch control method, which provides complete authority of the aerodynamic characteristics of each rotor blade at any given time by replacing the normally rigid pitch links between the swashplate and the pitch horn of the blade with hydraulic or electronic actuators. Thus, IBC can provide the redundancy necessary for subsystem failure accommodation. In this research effort, a simulation environment is developed to investigate the potential of the IBC main rotor configuration for fault-tolerant control.;To examine the applications of IBC to failure scenarios and fault-tolerant controls, a conventional, swashplate-based linear model is first developed for hover and forward flight scenarios based on the UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter. The linear modeling techniques for the swashplate-based helicopter are then adapted and expanded to include IBC. Using these modified techniques, an IBC based mathematical model of the UH-60 helicopter is developed for the purposes of simulation and analysis. The methodology can be used to model and implement a different aircraft if geometric, gravimetric, and general aerodynamic data are available.;Without the kinetic restrictions of the swashplate, the IBC model effectively decouples the cyclic control inputs between different blades. Simulations of the IBC model prove that the primary control functions can be manually reconfigured after local actuator failures are initiated, thus preventing a catastrophic failure or crash. Furthermore, this simulator promises to be a useful tool for the design, testing, and analysis of fault-tolerant control laws.