Departmental Papers (ESE)


This paper deals with the control of a thrust vectored flying wing known as the ducted fan, developed at California Institute of Technology. The experiment was developed to serve as a testbed for nonlinear control design. In an earlier paper, the authors reported simulation results based on a simplified (no aerodynamics involved) planar model of the ducted fan around hover position. In this paper we report on the modeling and simulation of the ducted fan in forward flight, where aerodynamic forces and moments can no longer be ignored. A receding horizon scheme is developed to generate trajectories for the forward flight model. Using a more simplified version of the model, some aggressive trajectories are generated. These trajectories are then used as a reference in the receding horizon scheme, and morphed into the trajectories of the full model. Simulation results depict the capabilities of the ducted fan as well as this methodology in performing aggressive maneuvers.

Document Type

Conference Paper

Subject Area


Date of this Version

December 2000


Copyright 2000 IEEE. Reprinted from Proceedings of the 39th IEEE Conference on Decision and Control 2000, Volume 4, pages 3582-3587.
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NOTE: At the time of publication, author Ali Jadbabaie was affiliated with the California Institute of Technology. Currently (March 2005), he is a faculty member in the Department of Electrical and Systems Engineering at the University of Pennsylvania.


aerospace control, military aircraft, nonlinear control systems, remotely operated vehicles, aerodynamic forces, aggressive maneuvering, ducted fan, forward flight, hover position, nonlinear control design, receding horizon approach, thrust vectored flying wing, thrust vectored aircraft, receding horizon control



Date Posted: 30 April 2005