This paper investigates the robust performance of attitude tracking control of 3 degrees of freedom (DOF) helicopter. The controlled plant is a multi-input multi-output (MIMO) system with strong interaxis couplings. In addition, the plant model has more outputs than the number of inputs. These facts make the control design becomes challenging for many researchers. In this work, the discrete-time sliding mode control (SMC) law is synthesized and applied for controlling plant with a variation of counter-weight mass. The results show that the best tracking performance is achieved when the nominal counter-weight mass is used. When the counter-weight mass is varied, the system remains stable, but the tracking accuracy is slightly degraded. A comparison study is made to the PID-LQR method, and it is shown that the proposed design outperforms the PID-LQR method.

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