1972-02-01

Flight Evaluations of the Effect of Advanced Control Systems and Displays on the Handling Qualities of a General Aviation Airplane 720316

Flight tests have shown that, by means of improved displays and advanced control systems, it is possible to transform a typical light airplane into a flying machine that borders on being perfect from a handling-qualities standpoint. A flight-director display and an attitude-command control system used in combination transformed a vehicle with poor handling qualities during ILS approaches in turbulent air into a vehicle with extremely good handling qualities. The attitude-command control system also improved the ride qualities of the airplane. A rate-command control system was less beneficial than an attitude-command control system.
Although this paper deals primarily with general aviation aircraft, the results presented pertain to other types of aircraft. Short-takeoff-and-landing (STOL) aircraft would be a natural application of the control systems because, as a result of their low speeds, they encounter many of the handling-qualities problems noted on light aircraft. The improved ride qualities should be of interest to all airline operations, and for STOL aircraft in particular, because of their prolonged exposure to low-altitude turbulence.

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