This paper presents the development of a biomimetic closed-loop flight controller that integrates gust alleviation and flight control into a single distributed system of feather-like panels over the upper and lower surfaces. This bio-inspired gust alleviation system (GAS) mimics the techniques used by birds to respond to turbulent and gusting airflow. The GAS design replicates the profile of a bird’s wing through the installation of feather-like panels across the upper and lower surfaces of the airfoil, and replacement of the trailing-edge flaps. While flying through gusts, the flight controller uses a linear quadratic regulator to perform continuous adjustments to the local states through active deflection of electromechanical feathers. This system consequently offers a wide range of flap configurations that enable the vehicle to perform gust response maneuvers unachievable by standard aircraft. The GAS is developed using a 2D adaptive panel method that enables analysis of the airfoil’s aerodynamic performance during all flap configurations. The airfoil’s dynamic model is simulated to calculate the disturbances incurred during gusting flows. The flight controller tracks the vehicles velocity, angle of attack and position, and continuously performs adjustment to the orientation of each flap to induce the corrective responses to inbound gusts. The replacement of standard single trailing edge profile with the integration of a dual trailing edge (DTE) configuration offers a reduction of the aircraft’s deviation from the target flight path through the introduction of aero-braking during strong longitudinal gusts. The introduction of 6 additional surface flaps offers new flap configurations capable of minimizing the disturbances in the aircraft’s global states. Non-linear and linear dynamic models of the 8-flap GAS are compared to a traditional single control surface baseline wing and the DTE configuration. The feedback loops synthesized depend on the inertial changes of the global states; however, variations in flap configuration are compared. The integration of an 8-flap GAS provides enhancements to maneuverability and stability in turbulent intensive environments.

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