Dr Rafael Morales

Associate Professor

School/Department: Engineering, School of

Telephone: +44 (0)116 252 5642



Dr Morales' expertise is in intelligent algorithms, including control systems and machine learning, with his algorithms being deployed to a diverse industrial base, especially on rotorcraft. Dr Morales is at the cutting edge of designing, validating, and rolling out intelligent algorithms to support innovation and new competitive technologies. He has led several research projects and technological developments for future technologies and has worked in close collaboration with key industrial and government stakeholders. His algorithms have proven to provide the benefits of improved performance, reliability and autonomy. 

Dr Morales currently leads the Aerospace and Computational Research Group at the University of Leicester. To date, he has 40+ publications, including a book chapter, and has raised close to £1M in research and consultancy revenue directly.

Dr Morales is 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. He completed his PhD and MSc studies at the University of Manchester in 2008 and 2005, respectively.


Robust flight control and Autonomy for future air vehicles: This research has a primary focus on vehicle configurations with distributed and/or rotor-based propulsion (e.g. tiltrotors, multicopters, drones, etc.). New rotorcraft configurations demand advanced control algorithms to meet stringent requirements around handling qualities, flight control and certification.

Intelligent algorithms for control, modelling and forecasting: this area of research is recent and combines key elements of machine learning and feedback systems to ensure high reliability.

Active Control: this research area is concerned with the development and implementation of advanced and comprehensive control systems to achieve reduction of vibration rotor power and noise in helicopters.




H. Yang, R. Morales and M. Turner. Robust Analysis for Principal Component Active Control Systems. IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology, vol. 29, no. 3, pp. 1268 - 1283, 2021

H. Yang and R. M. Morales. Robust Flight Control for a Validated XV-15 Model. Vertical Flight Society Annual Forum, 2021.

H. Yang and R. Morales. Robust full-flight envelope control design for an eVTOL vehicle. AIAA Scitech, 2021

H. Yang and R. Morales. Flight control design for a validated XV-15 tiltrotor model: H-infinity vs LPV. European Control Conference, 2021

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. 

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. 

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, 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. 

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.

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. 

For a comprehensive list, please visit his Google Scholar site here.



Primary PhD Supervision:

Yang Hao [awarded]

Jahaz Alotaibi [awarded]


Current Teaching:

Rotorcraft Mechanics and Control (EG4313 EG7015) 

Dynamics and Thermofluids (EG2112 Dynamics)

Business Simulation (EG2006)


Previously taught modules:

Modelling and Classification of Data (now called Machine Learning for Engineers)

Numerical methods

State-variable Control

Robust Control

Year 2 Labs


Press and media


Vertical Flight Society Member and University Liaison Officer for UK Chapter

RAEng Industrial Fellow

HEA Fellow

IEEE Member

AIAA Member


MENtOR: Methods and Experiments for NOvel Rotorcraft (PI) EP/S009981/1 £190k (FEC) funded by EPSRC

Industrial Secondment Scheme (Awardee) £27k funded by RAEng

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)

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