Browse Publications Technical Papers 1999-01-5605
1999-10-19

Accurate Flight Parameter Reconstruction from ATC Radar Data – A New Approach 1999-01-5605

If an airplane crashes, the recorded radar data can be used to reconstruct a time history of the airplane’s calibrated airspeed, load factor, excess thrust, bank angle, etc. Previous work on this problem has used a rectilinear approach to the calculations involved in the flight parameter reconstruction. The rectilinear approach gives excellent results for relatively straight flight; however, it routinely underestimates the airspeed and the bank angle when the airplane is maneuvering. In the present study, the authors present a curvilinear approach to flight parameter reconstruction that addresses this shortcoming. The analysis presented shows that the curvilinear approach is a far superior tool than the rectilinear approach for the reconstruction of maneuvering flight including steep turns and high-speed spirals.

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