The goal of this paper is to describe a test bed for real-time helicopter flight control systems and some initial control experiments utilizing the test bed. The developed test bed consists of an off-the-shelf radio control helicopter which has been modified so that it can be computer controlled. The helicopter is mounted on a sensor equipped test fixture which provides information on the helicopter's position and attitude while allowing it to move freely within some limited area. In this paper we describe the hardware and software developed to allow real-time helicopter flight control and plant identification. In addition we propose a dynamic model for the miniature helicopter plant and use this model to design a linearized feedback controller for hovering.
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