Aerospace Industrial Benchmark on Fault Detection

Organizers and contact

Japie Engelbrecht, Stellenbosch University, South Africa,

Philippe Goupil, Airbus, Toulouse, France,

For any questions regarding the competition, please contact the two organizers.


This benchmark is dedicated to fault detection in the Flight Control System (FCS) of a civil commercial aircraft. The FCS is part of the aircraft avionic systems and consists of all the elements located between the pilot inputs (in the cockpit) and the movable parts (the control surfaces), including these two elements. It comprises as well sensors, probes, wiring, actuators, numerical buses, power sources, control computers, etc… It is used to control the aircraft attitude, trajectory and speed.

The detection of all related failures in FCS is a very important point to be considered in the aircraft design. In particular, in the context of aircraft overall optimization and their increasing size, system design objectives originating from structural loads design constraints are more and more stringent. The main issue is weight saving to improve aircraft performances (e.g. consumption, noise, range). Consequently, for system failures affecting the aircraft structure, performance of detection methods must be improved, while retaining a perfect robustness. This benchmark deals with a particular FCS failure, which has an influence on aircraft structural loads. This failure is called oscillatory failure case (OFC) in literature. For structure-related system objectives, it is necessary to detect OFC beyond a given amplitude in a given number of periods, whatever the unknown OFC frequency.

The benchmark consists of a Matlab/Simulink© model (a simple generic aircraft model in cruise phase) accompanied with a technical note, which describes the industrial context of the benchmark and which provides the reader with the technical problem to solve.

How to participate?

If you and your team want to participate, you simply have to download the package “IFAC WC” available at the following address: It contains a Simulink model, as well as an accompanying technical note detailing the technical problem to solve and the model user guide.


The competition is based on the evaluation of two separate contributions: (i) the design (a Simulink subsystem block to be added in the global Simulink model (see the technical note) and that shall be able to detect all the fault cases according to the requirements detailed in the accompanying technical note); (ii) an extended abstract detailing the principles of the proposed design and submitted through the classical IFAC submission system. Then the organizers will review all submitted designs and extended abstracts and proceed to the selection of the 5 best teams. These teams will be allowed to present their work during a special invited session during the IFAC World Congress. The best team will receive an Airbus award at the end of the invited session.


You have until 15 March 2020 (exact time will be official time of the IFAC submission system, typically 23:59:59 CET) to submit your contributions (design and extended abstract). For the submission, please follow the IFAC submission site and submit under the category “Aerospace competition abstract". Please note that the Simulink designs shall be sent to the organizers (J. Engelbrecht, P. Goupil, see aforementioned emails) and that the extended abstracts shall be submitted through the IFAC submission system.

Please note that extended abstracts of the competitions will not be published in IFAC PapersOnLine. They will only appear in the congress preprints. Extended abstracts will typically be two to four pages in length.