Accurately modeling the dynamic characteristics of a helicopter is difficult and time-consuming. This paper presents a new identification approach which applies the modes partition method and structure traversal (MPM/ST) algorithm. The dynamic modes, instead of model parameters of each model structure, are sequentially identified through MPM. The model with the minimum cost function (CF) is chosen from the best model set and is defined as the final model. Real flight tests of an unmanned helicopter are carried out to verify the identification approach. Time- and frequency-domain results of the identified models clearly demonstrate the potential of MPM/ST in modeling such complex systems.

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