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Mathematical Problems in Engineering
Volume 2016, Article ID 2141482, 7 pages
Research Article

Flight Tests of Autopilot Integrated with Fault-Tolerant Control of a Small Fixed-Wing UAV

1College of Automation Engineering, Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Nanjing 210016, China
2Key Laboratory of Internet of Things and Control Techniques of Jiangsu Province, Nanjing 210016, China

Received 25 December 2015; Accepted 15 June 2016

Academic Editor: Wen Chen

Copyright © 2016 Shuo Wang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


A fault-tolerant control scheme for the autopilot of the small fixed-wing UAV is designed and tested by the actual flight experiments. The small fixed-wing UAV called Xiang Fei is developed independently by Nanjing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics. The flight control system is designed based on an open-source autopilot (Pixhawk). Real-time kinematic (RTK) GPS is introduced due to its high accuracy. Some modifications on the longitudinal and lateral guidance laws are achieved to improve the flight control performance. Moreover, a data fusion based fault-tolerant control scheme is integrated in altitude control and speed control for altitude sensor failure and airspeed sensor failure, which are the common problems for small fixed-wing UAV. Finally, the real flight experiments are implemented to test the fault-tolerant control based autopilot of UAV. Real flight test results are given and analyzed in detail, which show that the fixed-wing UAV can track the desired altitude and speed commands during the whole flight process including takeoff, climbing, cruising, gliding, landing, and wave-off by the fault-tolerant control based autopilot.