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Report on a visit to the Arvin/Calspan Corporation Buffalo, New York, September 1992

By Edmund Field


The visit to the Arvin Calspan Corporation in Buffalo was made in support of a PhD programme undertaken in the College of Aeronautics (CoA). the research topic concerns flying and handling qualities of advanced fly-by-wire civil aircraft. With the introduction of electronic Flight Control Systems (FCS) the responses of aircraft to a pilot input can become highly modified compared with that of conventional aircraft. As such systems have been introduced to military aircraft problems associated with their flying and handling qualities have become apparent. Much research and development work has been undertaken into understanding and solving these problems and producing military aircraft that handle well. Although this work continues, today’s aircraft demonstrate a vast improvement on earlier designs. While much research has been undertaken into the flying and handling qualities of military aircraft considerably less has been performed in the area of civil aircraft. Consequently there are few guidelines for the design, assessment and certification of the civil aircraft now being produced that utilise electronic FCS. The purpose of this PhD programme is to address the deficiencies in the civil aircraft field and apply the knowledge and technologies of the military designs and criteria where applicable. In order to do this it is necessary to obtain a thorough understanding of the work undertaken in both the military and civil fields, and to gain exposure to problems that have been identified. The Arvin/Calspan Corporation has been involved in handling qualities research since the 1940’s and through it’s numerous research programmes utilising it’s variable stability aircraft has become recognised as one of the world leaders in the field of handling qualities. Therefore a visit to the headquarters of the Flight Research Department of the Arvin/Calspan Corporation in Buffalo was made in support of this study. The two main purposes were to undertake a literature search of their reports from their research programmes of relevance to this study and to perform an engineering test flight in one of their two Variable Stability Learjet In-Flight Simulators, to demonstrate features of modern FCS designs. During the visit the opportunity was also taken to discuss the more recent developments in the field with Calspan personnel. In addition contact was made with the Stability, Control, Simulation and Flying Qualities Technology Group of the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, Long Beach, who were conducting a TIFS investigation during the visit.CI

Year: 1993
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

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