Graduation Semester and Year




Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Aerospace Engineering


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering

First Advisor

Atilla Dogan


Aerial refueling is the process of transferring fuel from one aircraft (the tanker) to another (the receiver) during flight. In aerial refueling operations, the receiver aircraft is exposed to nonuniform wind field induced by tanker aircraft, and this nonuniform wind field leads to differences in readings of airdata sensors placed at different locations on the receiver aircraft. There are advantages and disadvantages of this phenomenon. As an advantage, it is used as a mechanism to estimate relative position of the receiver aircraft inside the nonuniform wind field behind the tanker. Using the difference in the measurements from multiple identical sensors, a model of the nonuniform wind field that is organized as maps of the airspeed, side slip angle and angle of attack as functions of the relative position is prepared. Then, using the developed algorithms, preformed maps and instant sensor readings, the relative position receiver aircraft is determined.The disadvantage of the phenomenon is that the differences in readings of airdata sensors cause false fault detections in a redundant-sensor-based Fault Detection and Isolation (FDI) system developed based on the assumption of identical sensor readings from three airdata sensors. Such FDI algorithm successfully performs detection and isolation of sensor faults when the receiver aircraft flies solo or outside the wake of the tanker aircraft. However, the FDI algorithm yields false fault detection when the receiver aircraft enters the tanker's wake. This problem can be eliminated by modifying the FDI algorithm. For the robustness, the expected values of the sensor measurements are incorporated in the FDI algorithm, instead of the assumption of identical measurements from the sensors. The expected values, which depend on the position of the receiver relative to the tanker, are obtained from the maps of the nonuniform wind field as functions of the relative position. The new robust FDI detects and isolates sensor faults, as well as it eliminates the false fault detection in the nonuniform wind field induced by the tanker aircraft.


Aerospace Engineering | Engineering | Mechanical Engineering


Degree granted by The University of Texas at Arlington