Airplane Pitch Stability Control

Image of an airplane tipping nose up and nose down.

Work on an experiment that will better help control the pitch of an airplane via a joystick.

Project description

Pilot-induced oscillation is a frightening aspect of pitch control of an aircraft. Numerous planes have been set into pilot-induced oscillation due to the phase lag of the human in the loop control. The proposed work is to develop a table top experiment to demonstrate pitch control of an aircraft using a commercial off the shelf joystick. A programmable delay is inserted between the joystick and the aircraft to illustrate the impact phase delays have on the stability of the human-in-the-loop controller.

This work requires knowledge of system stability analysis, hardware integration and Arduino programming to integrate the joystick with a microcontroller which drives a motor which actuates the airplane model.

Project outcome

Tabletop experiment to illustrate the impact of phase delays in stability of closed loop systems. This can serve as a demonstration in an introductory class on control.

Project details

Timing, eligibility and other details
Length of commitment About a semester, 3-5 months
Start time Spring semester 2022
In-person, remote, or hybrid? Hybrid
Level of collaboration Individual student project
Benefits Research experience
Who is eligible Seniors with experience in Ardunio and Matlab programming

Project mentor

Tarunraj Singh


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

1009 Furnas Hall

Phone: (716) 645-1428


Start the project

  1. Email the project mentor using the contact information above to express your interest and get approval to work on the project. (Here are helpful tips on how to contact a project mentor.)
  2. After you receive approval from the mentor to start this project, click the button to start the digital badge. (Learn more about ELN's digital badge options.) 

Preparation activities

Once you begin the digital badge series, you will have access to all the necessary activities and instructions. Your mentor has indicated they would like you to also complete the specific preparation activities below. Please reference this when you get to Step 2 of the Preparation Phase. 

  • Watch this video showing an example of pilot-induced oscillations.
  • After initially contacting Dr. Singh, you will set up a video call to ensure you have the necessary hardware integration background.


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering