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Preliminary Technology Shakedown For Cestol Aircraft Controls Research

The Fundamental Aeronautics Program’s Subsonic Fixed-Wing (SFW) Project and the Integrated Systems Research Program’s Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project conducted a preliminary technology shakedown in the Neuro-Engineering Lab (NEL) at NASA Ames Research Center. Subject matter experts in Short Take-off and Landing (STOL) handling and flying qualities were asked to provide feedback on the operation of advanced control technologies for a representative Cruise-Efficient STOL (CESTOL) vehicle. This shakedown is in preparation for a simulation experiment in the NASA Ames Vertical Motion Simulator for winter 2011 in collaboration with AFRL and Boeing.

Subject matter experts provided feedback on advanced control allocation in conditions similar to pilot-induced oscillations (PIO), and on two adaptive control technologies during transition from cruise (200 knots) to landing (90 knots), and during correction of lateral offset in the final approach. The shakedown utilized a low-cost, low-fidelity fixed-base simulator. The simulated aircraft used for the shakedown is a generic CESTOL model developed from wind tunnel data and modified to include effects of high-lift and high-drag devices.

The primary objective of this shakedown is to identify strengths and weaknesses in the ability of advanced controllers to deliver acceptable performance under reasonable pilot workload. Four subject matter experts affiliated with NASA Ames were involved in the shakedown. Recommendations for improvements to controllers and experiment design will be formulated based on the subject matter experts’ comments.

BACKGROUND: The Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW) Project conducts research to improve prediction methods and technologies that will produce lower noise, lower emissions, and better performing subsonic aircraft for the Next Generation Air Transportation System. The overall goal of the Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) Project is to explore and document the feasibility, benefits, and technical risk of vehicle concepts and enabling technologies that will reduce the impact of aviation on the environment. CESTOL-type aircraft have the potential to reduce required take-off and landing distances and noise footprints of passenger aircraft through the use of steep descent profiles and slow landing speeds.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: ARMD’s Fundamental Aeronautics Program and Integrated Systems Research Program

TEAM MEMBERS, COLLABORATORS, AND CUSTOMERS: Jonathan Barlow, Greg Larchev, Gordon Hardy, Mike Leonard, Emily Lewis, Yildiray Yildiz, Vahram Stepanyan, Robert Craun, Diana Acosta, George Tucker, James Lindsey, and James Martin

Contact: Jonathan Barlow

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