This paper examines the performance enhancement of a statically unstable aircraft subject to the input and state constraints. Under control saturation, i/o linearizability is destroyed and the state trajectories may not be attracted to the sliding surface. If the reference signals are sufficiently large and the zero-dynamics is lightly damped, the i/o linearizing control may become unreasonably large in magnitude, making the closed-loop system susceptible to the damaging effects of control saturation. In addition to performance degradations such as increased tracking errors, control saturation can drive the closed-loop system to instability. In this paper, a new design method called approximate i/o linearization is presented to enhance the performance of the SISO longitudinal flight control problem under saturation. The new approximate i/o linearization law is obtained by solving a pointwise minimization problem. The function to be minimized consists of a surface whose relative degree is one, its derivative, and weighted square of the input u. The advantages of the approximate i/o linearization is that the adverse effects of control saturation can be minimized by properly selecting the weight on the usage of the control. The only requirement for the new technique is that the original plant be locally i/o linearizable. Thus approximate i/o linearization does not impose additional strict requirements on the plant. In the remaining sections of the paper, stability and bounded tracking properties of the approximate i/o linearization are proven. Finally, a longitudinal flight control problem is used to demonstrate the application of approximate i/o linearization.

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