Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



Statler College of Engineering and Mineral Resources


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

Committee Chair

Yu Gu

Committee Co-Chair

Marcello R Napolitano

Committee Member

Xiaopeng Ning

Committee Member

Mario Perhinschi

Committee Member

Sergiy Yakovenko


Understanding human control behavior is an important step for improving the safety of future aircraft. Considerable resources are invested during the design phase of an aircraft to ensure that the aircraft has desirable handling qualities. However, human pilots exhibit a wide range of control behaviors that are a function of external stimulus, aircraft dynamics, and human psychological properties (such as workload, stress factor, confidence, and sense of urgency factor). This variability is difficult to address comprehensively during the design phase and may lead to undesirable pilot--aircraft interaction, such as pilot-induced oscillations (PIO). This creates the need to keep track of human pilot performance in real-time to monitor the pilot vehicle system (PVS) stability.;This work focused on studying human pilot behavior for the longitudinal axis of a remotely controlled research aircraft and using human-in-the-loop (HuIL) simulations to obtain information about the human controlled system (HCS) stability. The work in this dissertation is divided into two main parts: PIO analysis and human control model parameters estimation. To replicate different flight conditions, this study included time delay and elevator rate limiting phenomena, typical of actuator dynamics during the experiments. To study human control behavior, this study employed the McRuer model for single-input single-output manual compensatory tasks. McRuer model is a lead-lag controller with time delay which has been shown to adequately model manual compensatory tasks.;This dissertation presents a novel technique to estimate McRuer model parameters in real-time and associated validation using HuIL simulations to correctly predict HCS stability. The McRuer model parameters were estimated in real-time using a Kalman filter approach. The estimated parameters were then used to analyze the stability of the closed-loop HCS and verify them against the experimental data. Therefore, the main contribution of this dissertation is the design of an unscented Kalman filter--based algorithm to estimate McRuer model parameters in real time, and a framework to validate this algorithm for single-input single-output manual compensatory tasks to predict instabilities.