Aerospace and Mechanical Engineering
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Dr. Dale Enns awarded the 2018 Honeywell Lifetime Achievement Award

Dr. Dale Enns is a world expert on aircraft flight control systems. Before the mid-1990s, flight control systems for fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft were designed using classical control techniques that took a great deal of time and skill to create, implement, and certify. Modern fighter and commercial aircraft have become exceedingly complex and require multivariable control design. Dale developed a control theory called Dynamic Inversion (DI) that has become the standard for multivariable control of modern aircraft. In 1996, the development of DI theory and his expertise in the design and application of control theory to aircraft led Dale to win the Air Force Research Lab (AFRL) Application of Multivariable Control Theory to Aircraft Control Laws Program. Dale was the Principal Investigator of the AFRL Program with sub-contractors Lockheed Martin Skunk Works & Tactical Aircraft Systems. Dale and the Team developed flight control laws using three techniques including DI and applied them to simulations of three aircraft models: 1) F-16; 2) YF-22; and 3) F-117. These control techniques and applications were summarized in a 1996 report called Multivariable Control Design Guidelines where Dale was the lead author. This report is a handbook for aircraft flight control which includes lessons learned and best practices. Multivariable control techniques have become the standard to design control laws for aircraft and DI is the most widely applied multivariable control design technique in the aircraft industry today. This transition from classical control techniques to multivariable control techniques and, more specifically, Dynamic Inversion across industry, is attributable to Dale and this seminal 1996 report.

The greatest technical achievement of Dale’s career was convincing Lockheed Martin to use the Honeywell invented and developed Dynamic Inversion control laws as the basis for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter aircraft flight control laws. Dale also developed a reusable, software implementation of Dynamic Inversion called Multi-Application Control (MACH). Dale used MACH to win over 20 research proposals from DARPA, NATO, NASA, AFRL, the US Army, and the US Air Force. He also applied MACH to design control laws for multiple aircraft including the USAF X-30 National Aerospace Plane. Dale was the Principal Investigator of the MQ-16 T-Hawk VTOL UAV and used MACH to develop the control laws. T-Hawks weigh less than 20 lbs and can be carried in a backpack. T-Hawks have been used to detect IEDs and other hazards in-theater in Iraq and Afghanistan during Operation Enduring Freedom, to monitor nuclear fallout at the Fukushima Dai-Ichi nuclear plant in Japan, and was the first UAV to receive FAA approval to fly in civilian airspace as used by the Miami-Dade County Police Force.

Over the last 20 years, the use of Dale’s Dynamic Inversion control theory and MACH resulted in hundreds of millions of dollars in revenue for Honeywell. As a result of his exceptional technical accomplishments and their significant business impact, Dale was awarded the Honeywell Lifetime Achievement Award in February 2018.

 

 

 

 

 

Last Modified: 2018-03-08 at 08:34:20 -- this is in International Standard Date and Time Notation