A neural network based time optimal control of flexible structures is presented. The implementation is done on a flexible inverted L structure with surface-bonded piezoceramic sensors/actuators. The state-space presentation, from control input voltages to sensor output voltages is established in multivariable form. A variable gain multi-input multi-output linear quadratic regulator controller is designed and implemented. The controller gains are varied as the modal energy of the system decreases. The gains are varied in such a manner that the system utilizes maximum control energy from fixed amplitude of control voltage. The gains are calculated by solving the Riccatti equation with weightage in performance index that varies according to the states of the system. Thus at periodic intervals, the gains are updated to fully utilize the available control voltage. Comparison of the present technique is done with the classical bang-bang controller. © 2005 by ASME.