Distributed Formation Flight Control Using Constraint Forces Academic Article uri icon


  • A new approach for formation flight control of multiple aircraft is presented. Constraint forces are used to derive the dynamics of a constrained, multibody system. A stable, distributed control algorithm is designed based on the information flow graph for a group of aircraft. The aircraft will achieve a particular formation while ensuring an arbitrarily small bounded navigation tracking error with parameter uncertainties of the entire group. It is assumed that uncertainty exists in the drag coefficient of each aircraft. An adaptation algorithm is developed to compensate for the uncertainty and estimate the drag coefficient. The advantage of the proposed distributed control algorithm is that it allows the addition/removal of other aircraft into/from the formation seamlessly with simple modifications of the control input Furthermore, the algorithm provides inherent scalability. Simulations were conducted to verify the proposed approach. Copyright 2008 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

published proceedings


author list (cited authors)

  • Zou, Y., Pagilla, P. R., & Ratliff, R. T.

citation count

  • 35

complete list of authors

  • Zou, Yunfei||Pagilla, Prabhakar R||Ratliff, Ryan T

publication date

  • January 2009