This paper investigates a passive fault tolerant control to aircraft that suffers from vertical tail damage. A novel notion of damage degree is introduced to parameterize the damaged flight dynamics model. It is applied to seek the maximum allowable damage degree (tolerance capacity) stabilizable by the proposed passive fault tolerant and backup control under a linearized model. The design algorithms are presented and illustrated through numerical simulations on a Boeing-747 100/200 model. Furthermore, the impact of potential control saturation is taken into account in the proposed design and a set of design parameters are tuned such that the maximum allowable damage degree is bounded, represented as the so-called critical damage degree.

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