Dr Rafael M Morales-Viviescas


Associate Professor

Aerospace & Computational Engineering Research Group
School of Engineering, Univ. of Leicester
University Road, Leicester, UK
Tel: +44 (0)116 252 5642
Email: rmm23@le.ac.uk

Personal details

Dr Morales-Viviescas has participated and taken the lead in a number of lower TRL projects with the aim to facilitate the development of future rotorcraft configurations and technologies for performance improvements. The benefits of such new technologies include improved airworthiness, enhanced flight comfort, energy saving, reduced maintenance costs, robust flight control algorithms and improved autonomy.

Dr Morales has worked in close collaboration with Leonardo and the control methods have been applied on the helicopters AW101, AW169 and AW139. He was seconded to Leonardo in the second half of 2015. He is also a founding member of a group of specialists in rotorcraft systems within the UK known as the UK Vertical Lift Network and he is currently the University Liaison Officer for the Vertical Flight Society's Chapter in the UK.

Dr Morales took a Lectureship within the School in Sept. 2013 after he joined initially as a Research Associate in 2008, working under the supervision of Prof. Matthew Turner and Prof. Ian Postlethwaite. He received both a PhD and an MSc degree from the University of Manchester in 2008 and 2004, respectively, in the area of Control Engineering. He completed his undergraduate studies in Electronic Engineering in 2001 at the University Santo Tomás (Bogotá, Colombia).

External positions

  • RAEng Industrial Fellow
  • IEEE Member
  • VFS Member and University Liaison Officer for UK Chapter.


My main areas of research may be categorised as follows:

  • Robust Flight Control and Autonomy for Air Vehicles: This research has a primary focus on vehicle configurations with distributed and rotor-based propulsion (e.g. tiltrotors, multicopters, etc.). New rotorcraft configurations demand advanced control algorithms to meet stringent handling qualities and flight control properties, especially for manned use cases such as Urban and Regional Air Mobility transport solutions. The research also explores the interaction between flight control laws and higher  autonomy algorithms, such as path planning and obstacle avoidance, to ensure a desired level of airworthiness and performance.
  • Active Control: this area is currently of great interest in the rotorcraft community and his interests lie in the development and implementation of advanced and comprehensive control systems to achieve an optimal behaviour across a wide range of rotorcraft performance aspects, which includes reduction of vibration, rotor power and noise.
  • Robust Analysis and Design of Feedback Control Systems with Saturation Non-linearities: by accounting for the degrading effects of saturation in the design of control systems, substantial improvements can be achieved in both performance and robustness over conventional control methods. The work in this area is primarily theoretical and hence is transferable to a wide range of engineering applications.


  • Dynamics and Thermofluids (EG2112, Dynamics)
  • Robust Control (EG4311/7015)
  • State Variable Control (EG3311)

All material associated with the above modules can be found on the Blackboard site.

Administrative duties

  • Aerospace Programme Director
  • Admissions Tutor

Selected and Recent Publications

For a full list and open-access versions of the manuscripts, visit my ResearGate and Google Scholar profiles.

  • H. Yang, R. Morales and M. Turner. Robust Analysis for Principal Component Active Control Systems. IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, 2020. (pdf)
  • H. Yang and R. Morales. Full-envelope Flight Control for a Multi-rotor Cessna-182 eVTOL. Proceedings of the European Rotorcraft Forum, 2020.
  • H. Yang, J. Alotaibi and R. M. Morales. Advanced On-Blade Control for Vibration Reduction of the EC-145 Helicopter: Robust Principal Components vs H-Infinity. AIAA Scitech, Orlando, USA, 2020. (pdf)
  • H. Yang, R. M. Morales and M. C. Turner. Robust Principal Component Algorithms for High-Order Fast-Sampled Systems. Proceedings of the European Control Conference, Naples, Italy, 2019. (pdf)
  • J. Alotaibi and R. M. Morales. Comprehensive Mixed-Sensitivity H-infinity Control for vibration Reduction of the EC-145 Rotor. Proceedings of the European Rotorcraft Form, Warsaw, Poland, 2019.
  • V. S. Rao and R. M. Morales. Extended Kalman Observer-based Robust Control for One-Degree-of-Freedom TRMS. Proceedings of the Asian Control Conference, Fukuoka, Japan, 2019.
  • A. Tastemirov, A. Lecchini-Visintini and R. M. Morales. Complete dynamic model of the Twin Rotor MIMO System (TRMS) with experimental validation. Control Engineering Practice, vol. 66, pp. 89-98, 2017. (pdf)
  • R. M. Morales, M. C. Turner, P. Court, R. Hilditch and I. Postlethwaite. Force control of semi-active lag dampers for vibration reduction in helicopters. IET Journal of Control Theory and Applications, Vol. 8, no. 6, pp. 409-419, 2014. (pdf)
  • R. M. Morales, G. Li and W. Heath. Anti-windup and the preservation of robustness against structured norm-bounded uncertainty. International Journal of Robust and Nonlinear Control, vol. 24, no. 17, pp. 2640-2652, 2014. (pdf)
  • R. M. Morales and W. Heath. The Robustness and design of a constrained cross-directional control via IQCs. IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, vol. 19, no. 6, pp. 1421-1432, 2011. (pdf)
  • R. M. Morales. Alternative representations of frequency-domain constraints for improved performance in on-blade control systems. Proceedings of the European Control Conference, June 29 - July 1st, Aalborg, Denmark. 2016. (pdf)
  • R. M. Morales and M. C. Turner. Coping with flap and actuator driving constraints in active rotor applications for vibration reduction. Proceedings of the 41st European Rotorcraft Forum, Munich, Germany, Sept. 2-5, 2015.
  • R. M. Morales and M. C. Turner. Robust anti-windup design for active trailing edge flaps in active rotor applications. Proceedings of the 70th American Helicopter Society Forum, Montreal, Canada, May 20-22, 2014. (pdf)

Research Projects and Awards

  • MENtOR: Methods and Experiments for NOvel Rotorcraft  (PI), EP/S009981/1, £190k (FEC), funded by EPSRC
  • Industrial Secondment Scheme (Awardee), £27k, funded by RAEng (For information click here or here)
  • Vertical Lift Network Grant (Participant), EP/M018164/1, £145k, funded by EPSRC
  • National Rotor Rig Facility (Lead consultant) with ARA, £80k
  • Rotorcraft Technology Validation Programme (Research Associate), £275k
  • Active Rotor Study (PI), £28k, funded by ATI
  • Rotor Embedded Actuator Control Technology (Research Associate), £215k, funded by TSB (now Innovate UK)
  • Santander Awards (Awardee)

PhD students:

  • Dr Jahaz Alotaibi (completed)
  • Dr Hao Yang (completed)

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