2019 - Toulouse, France
- Flight Testing A Head Worn Display: The Challenges Of Introducing Novel Avionic Equipment In Civil Aircraft
- Multidisciplinary Design and Development Challenges of an Airborne Water Scooping Device
- FTI Based on Image Processing
- The International Collaboration Challenge - With Respect to a Flight Test Engineer of the Gripen E
- Creating and Implementing Digital Twins for Predictive Maintenance
- Machine Learning Techniques Applied to Flight Test Data Evaluation
- Testing Highly Autonomous Unmanned Aircraft
- Framework For Safe, Effective And Efficient Testing Of Autonomy
- Recent Developments In Flight Test Of Unmanned Vehicles At Airbus Defence & Space Germany
- Safety Management Systems: How To Adapt ICAO Based Systems To The Flight Test Environment
- Successful Examples Of Design Of Experiments Methodology Applied To Helicopter Performance Flight Tests
- NH 90 Flight Tests
- How an A380 Flying Test Bed Icing campaign resulted in an AOG in a remote area
- Dealing With The Unexpected: A Case Study Frozen In Time
- Blade, An Innovative European Demonstrator
- A New Definition of Entry-Level Flight Test Engineer Based on Training and Education at the University Level
- Flight Test as a Service
- Rapid-Paced T-45 Physiological Event Flight Testing
- Flight Test Results of Turning Regressions for Angle of Attack Dependent Air Data Error
- Using Eye Gaze Tracker To Automatically Estimate Pilots‘ Cognitive Load
- Immersive Reality In The Flight Test Environment
- A Modern Day Saga: How Flight Test Returned To Iceland
- A350XWB Climatic Testing Beyond Seasons in McKinley
Flight Testing a Head Worn Display: The Challenges of Introducing Novel Avionic Equipment in Civil Aircraft
Head Up Display (HUD) and the trajectory flying are currently well known in civil airplanes thanks to the Flight Path Vector (FPV). In order to address the drawbacks link to this technology, Thales is developing a very light equipment worn by the pilot, which can present flight and navigation information. The Head Worn Display (HWD) solution can cope with any cockpit size, aircraft types for commercial air transport, cargo operators and business jets. The challenges of developing such new equipment which may display coloured conformal and non-conformal symbology using an unlimited field of regard are numerous. Flight testing shall be well structured, with an incremental approach using the most adapted test bed aircraft by phase of development. The flight test planning shall take into account the items and functions to be tested, the necessary aircraft integration, the best targeted results over flight cost ratio.
This paper wishes to present how the incremental approach has been sequenced, the flight test technics used to reach the expected results, the results already obtained, the lessons which have been learned during this in flight development and, in conclusion, how this approach has highlighted other business opportunities for helicopters and missionized aircraft.
The H2020 ’fast track to innovation‘ project SCODEV entails the development of a water-scooping device, allowing an aircraft to scoop water from lakes to suppress forest fires. This device is reeled off an aircraft flying at 15 meters altitude into the water by means of a flexible hose. SCODEV‘s integration requires a major aircraft modification and challenges the following existing platforms: Water ’skimming‘ scoopers which are single purpose aircraft and conventional water bombers, which operate at increased the turn-around times. During this highly innovative project various challenging aspects are encountered within the Aerodynamics-, Hydrodynamics-, Structures-, Flight Performance- and Piloting skill disciplines. Using a test build-up and product scale-up approach, the previous two years various Boat-, Wind Tunnel- and EC155 Helicopter tests are performed. Remaining foreseen tests for 2019 include S-64 Skycrane Helicopter- and C27J Spartan Aircraft flight tests.
Israel López Herrero
Airbus Defence and Space
This document presents a FTI based on image processing. It happens sometimes that it is required to evaluate new equipments in the aircraft but it is not possible to install new wired-FTI or there isn‘t a recorder because it is a production aircraft and not a prototype. Nowadays there are COTS camera solutions to install easily in the aircraft without wires. The video generated from these cameras can be used to extract numeric data or symbology from the cockpit displays. This data can be obtained after the flight or can be send by telemetry. This paper presents just the topic related to the number recognition. Several real videos were generated from a helicopter and a prototype was developed to demonstrate this capability (see Fig. 1). The image processing will be described in this document. The results from the prototype demonstrate that the numeric data can be extracted from these videos. More videos are needed in different visual configurations to test this methodology. It is possible to minimize errors taking into account data information of each number: rate, minimum, maximum, number of digits, etc. Some recommendations are described also in order to increase the accuracy: minimize vibrations, videos with more resolution, progressive video scan instead of interlaced, increase frame rate and of course use a camera with good quality of image.
A flight test engineer‘s work isn‘t just to provide data, it is to be an integrated part of the whole aircraft development. To do that, deep understanding of the aircraft system and great collaboration skills are needed. This paper will discuss the work of a general vehicle
system flight test engineer, during SAAB Gripen E development, from desktop simulation to envelop expansion flight testing. The focus is on the flight test engineer work method to improve the international collaboration ability with costumer and supplier, but also within the ATA group and envelop expansion team stationed on multiple international sites. An example in the Gripen E flight test program is how to manage the challenge of performing envelop expansion with an international costumer. It is clear that knowledge, trust, ambition and communication are key stones in a good international collaboration.
Link to Presentation
This paper proposes an application of machine-learning methods to the analysis of flight test data. A set of training data is used to develop relationships between measurands and generate predicted behavior. These relationships are forecast onto data from the same aircraft model to identify unpredicted measurand behavior. The application of this method may significantly reduce post-test identification time of problematic measurands. Statistical analysis methods are used to determine quality of identified relationships and reduce instances of confirmation bias. The importance of a carefully selected training data set and development of robust relationships with low collinearity is emphasized. The developed application demonstrates faster instrumentation failures diagnosis than traditional methods. An area of continued research includes application of highly accurate models developed for an aircraft to reduce required instrumentation.
Autonomy has been a feature of unmanned aircraft since the mid-1990s. Both the manipulation of the flight controls and the execution of immediate-action emergency procedures have been turned over to the mission computers. However, these designs all rely on a human operator to make all critical decisions. Today, experiments are being conducted with highly autonomous unmanned aircraft, systems that move a substantial amount of the decision-making out of the hands of the pilot and into the guidance computer. This next generation of unmanned aircraft will present flight testers with some very new challenges. Consideration of the subject reveals that there are four major questions surrounding a highly autonomous system:
- Is it safe?
- Is it predictable?
- Does it do what it is supposed to do?
- Can it perform the mission?
We can already discern some principles and test approaches. These include:
- You still have to test the basic airframe.
- Need to have override capability.
- Testers need to understand the decision-making logic
- Robust lab testing.
- Very cautious build-up in testing autonomy.
Application of appropriate flight test caution will allow safe and productive testing of the highly autonomous aircraft of the future.
Capt. Riley Livermore
412th Test Wing, USAF
Capt. Richard Agbeyibor
412th Test Wing, USAF
Truly autonomous aircraft systems featuring non-deterministic, decision-making processes and intelligent capabilities are fast approaching. The current flight testing paradigm is insufficient to test and evaluate these systems in a timely manner and must be overhauled to enable quick and responsible fielding. This paper presents the autonomy test and evaluation approach of the Emerging Technologies Combined Test Force at Edwards AFB. The four key competencies identified to safely, effectively, and efficiently test autonomy are run time assurance, live-virtual-constructive simulation capabilities, open systems architecture, and test platforms and ranges. These four competencies are leveraged for flight testing of the Testing of Autonomy in Complex Environments (TACE) system which constitutes part of the ET CTF autonomy initial test capability. Finally, the ET CTF‘s path towards future flight testing of autonomous aircraft is discussed
Airbus Defence & Space GmbH
In the last year two significant achievements could be reached at Airbus D&S flight test in Germany: the official start of the Aerial Drone Center in Manching and a successful test campaign that involved simultaneous operation of manned and unmanned aircraft in the same airspace. The Aerial Drone Center is an answer to the trend of more and more projects with small UAVs. It combines infrastructure for preparing and performing flight test phases of such projects and operational procedures for project teams with limited Flight Test specialist support In the realm of the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS) the teaming of manned and unmanned air vehicles (MUT) is studied to enhance effectivity and survivability of the overall system. In 2018 two campaigns took place in northern Germany to evaluate the current status of development. In several test cases basic formation flying and tasking of a mission group was demonstrated with up to five unmanned Remote Carriers and a manned Command and Control aircraft.
Airbus Helicopters, France
Antoine Van Gent
Airbus Helicopters, Germany
Joao O. Falcao
Successful Examples Of Design Of Experiments Methodology Applied To Helicopter Performance Flight Tests
The satisfactory performance of an aircraft depends on the performance of its engine installation and on the aerodynamic design. Several test methods and test techniques have the objective to collect data and analyze airframe and engine performance. Against those well-known flight test methodologies, additional experimental design methods can be combined in order to reduced variability, development time and overall costs. The objective of this study is to exemplify the use of design and analysis of experiment in two successful cases of helicopter performance flight tests: the in-flight helicopter-engine installed performance and airframe performance, which can be particularized, for example, in the level flight performance. The study proposes that, as a scientific process, flight test can also consider the two aspects of any experimental problem: the design of the experiment and the statistical analysis of the data. Using those two examples, best practices are stated in order to: (i) determine influential parameters; (ii) develop an in-flight experiment to collect data; (iii) analyze the results according to Analysis of Variance (ANOVA); (iv) obtain a mathematical model and verify its capability of prediction. Although the complexity to adapt the proposed process to the conventional flight test techniques and, additionally, to consider all usual flight test activities constraints - flight hours, fuel used and risk management - the use of basic principles of statistical design of experiments will lead to a good, successful experiment, without wasting time, money, and other resources, and overcoming the often poor or disappointing results coming from failed planning phases.
The NH90 is a versatile helicopter capable of multiple missions, developed by NHIndustries (Airbus, Leonardo Helicopters, Fokker Aerostructures) through a NAHEMA (France, Germany, Italy and Netherlands) contract. The development was a challenging journey with a high level of cooperation between the industrials and with the Official Services. The workshare required a regular coordination between the Flight Test teams and needed a high level of communication. This provided the opportunity to challenge test methods and to share each individual's experience. The qualification Authorities regularly participated to development flights to facilitate the qualification. The arrival of new-comers throughout the program also impacted the way of working. In some cases, the basic qualification was re-challenged. In other cases the involvement of these new Authorities was dedicated to the specificities of their contract. It also resulted in new industrial partnerships. The participation to such an adventure was an invaluable source of experience for a FTE.
During an icing flight test of the TXWB 97klb (A350-1000 engine) on an A380 Flying Test Bed, the pusher engines were badly damaged resulting in A/C being AOG in Milwaukee for 2 weeks and interruption of the icing campaign
This presentation will consist in:
- Debriefing the campaign and associated flight
- Providing a detailed explanation of the damages on the pusher engines
- Listing the lessons learnt and the modifications / procedural changes allowing to avoid such further occurrence.
In 2018, a Boeing model 737 set out to conduct crosswind testing in a foreign country and was faced with a surprising challenge. The objective of this paper is to cover a case study in dealing with the unexpected, highlighting the significance of maintaining a broad vision outside the focus of test conduct. It describes the contingencies and support logistics originally implemented by the test team to accomplish the challenging test points, with an emphasis on the progression of learning, management of available resources, and impromptu data analysis used to handle the unforeseen event. It concludes with lessons learned and questions for flight test organizations to consider.
The BLADE program is an European Flight Test Demonstrator co-funded by European industrial partners and European Union's Cleansky organisation. The aim of this aircraft is to demonstrate ability to design and build a transonic wing with a laminar profile on a commercial airliner. Such a wing would enable fuel savings and polluting emissions reductions. This Flying Laboratory makes extensive use of innovative Flight Test Instrumentation and Analysis solutions, such as infrared video capture and treatment, reflectometry capture and treatment, acoustics emission/reception devices. Also the very focused mission of this non-certified aircraft lead to unusual flight test cases and techniques which will be presented.
Dr Brian Kish
Florida Institute of Technology
A New Definition of Entry-Level Flight Test Engineer Based on Training and Education at the University Level
Finding engineers with flight test experience has challenged organizations for years. Typical job advertisements request at least five years of experience. Therefore, a qualified applicant needs to have an engineering degree and discover the flight test field somewhere in his or her career. That may happen randomly by being placed in a flight test organization and gaining the experience on the job. Other engineers plot a career path that takes them through a formal test pilot school (military or civilian). Either way, the typical flight test engineer tends to be a mid- level career position. There really aren't "entry-level" flight test engineer positions. The author believes this is a missed opportunity. Why not introduce the flight test career field at the undergraduate level in universities? Why not offer specialized flight test engineering courses that lead to a Graduate Certificate or Master's Degree at a standard university? Is there a need for entry-level engineers with knowledge of the basic flight test disciplines (performance, stability & control, systems) along with 15-20 flights collecting data? The answer is yes. Not every flight test engineer needs to be a graduate of a high-cost formal test pilot school with 60 or more flight hours. Younger, more junior engineers can make great contributions with basic knowledge and less flights. In addition, more engineers have access to universities and can afford the education compared to formal test pilot schools. Florida Tech has been running a flight test engineering program since 2015 that awards Graduate Certificates in Flight Test Engineering for less than $20,000 and full Master's Degrees for less than $50,000. It produces graduates with basic flight test knowledge along with the experience of 15-20 flights collecting and analyzing data. Other universities can easily replicate the program at Florida Tech. Now that these graduates exist, more companies and flight test organizations need to expand their position descriptions to include an "entry-level" position. This paper will provide the details of the Florida Tech program for others to replicate.
With increasing aircraft sophistication, and the complex aircraft certification environment, some OEMs and aircraft modification customers are, in the interest of cost savings, turning to organizations offering flight test as a service. Testing in this environment offers many unique challenges. AeroTEC wishes to share the lessons and recommendations from what has and has not worked and the implications of offering flight test as a service. We will present some general organizational findings including necessity of up-front alignment/negotiation of policy and governance, importance of establishing acceptable flight test conduct standards, and the role of customer service. Program-specific lessons learned will be used to illustrate each major finding.
United States Navy, Naval Air Systems Command
LT Jonathan Larsen
United States Navy, Naval Air Systems Command
The United States Chief of Naval Air Training Command (CNATRA) instituted an operational pause to all student training flights on the Navy's advanced jet trainer, the T- 45C, due to increased incidents of unexplained physiological events (PEs). These events significantly impacted the training of future Naval Aviators and gained the immediate attention of leaders in the U.S. Navy and government. Navy flight test engineers were tasked with evaluating potential solutions and risk mitigations to resume training aviators. The pressure to return to flight as soon as safely possible produced a fast-paced environment and rapidly changing requirements. This climate mandated the team to plan, execute, and report testing on truncated schedules, while rebuilding the aviators' confidence in the aircraft. The test team was empowered with flexible test plans and the ability to influence the design and scope of PE solutions. Successful test efforts allowed CNATRA to resume training after a three-month hiatus and significantly reduced incidents of unexplained PEs.
Over the past few years, research into inertially-based air data calibration flight test techniques has run into two major problems: dealing with non-uniform wind fields and resolving errors due to angle of attack. The technique presented in "Dealing with the Wind: An Analysis of the Turn Regression Airspeed Calibration Technique" demonstrated a velocity-based technique that could account for non-uniform wind fields, but was not able to account for angle of attack as an independent variable. In this paper, we modify that technique to be able to account for corrections due to angle of attack. Combined with static-source only calibration data derived as per "Technique for Efficient Air Data Calibration Using a GPS or Inertial Derived Static Reference Plane" , we arrive at a complete solution for air data error across all conditions. Flight test data from an active flight test program is presented.
M Dilli Babu
Kamal Preet Singh Salujab
Aircraft System and Testing Establishment, Indian Air Force, Bangalore, India
Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India
National Aerospace Laboratories, Bangalore, India
Academy of Scientific and Innovative Research (ACSIR), Ghaziabad – 201002, India
Eye tracking is the process of measuring either the point of gaze (where one is looking) or the motion of an eye relative to the head. This paper investigated use of eye gaze trackers in military aviation environment to automatically estimate pilot's cognitive load from ocular parameters. We used a fixed base variable stability flight simulator with longitudinal tracking task and collected data from 14 military pilots. In another study, we undertook three test flights with a BAES Hawk Trainer aircraft doing air to ground attack training missions and constant G level turn maneuvers up to +5G. Our study found that ocular parameters like rate of fixation is significantly different in different flying conditions and pilot's control inceptor and tracking error in simulation tasks. Results from our studies can be used for real time estimation of pilots' cognitive load, providing suitable warnings and alerts to the pilot in cockpit and training of military pilots on cognitive load management during operational missions.
As the aircraft we test rapidly become more complex and instrumented, modern Flight Test Engineers are tasked with an expanding scope of data monitoring in both the onboard and telemetry control room environment. One of the goals of the Society of Flight Test Engineers is the advancement of flight test engineering, situational awareness improvement, data interpretation, and continual safety improvements; and this goal is paramount to advancing our human operations and capabilities. This is critical as we increasingly rely on automation, augmentation, and machine learning. This paper, therefore, envisages the use of readily available Immersive Reality (mixed and virtual reality) head mounted devices in both the onboard and on-ground flight test environments to supplement the capabilities of flight test personnel. It will examine the current state of this technology in relation to flight test usage, present applications and scenarios, and outline requirements to implement it in our day-to-day operations as flight test engineers.
Hugues Van der Stichel
Darren G McDonald
The flight test community has long recognized Iceland, and in particular Keflavik, as the pre-eminent facility for flight testing in large wind conditions. A modern day Icelandic saga began in July, 2013 when an unfortunate flight test accident affected the commercial operations of the Keflavik airport. Following the issuance of the accident report in March 2016, the airport authority (ISAVIA) banned all flight testing at the airport. In June 2016, the flight test organizations from multiple companies came together and started working as a unified team to address the understandable concerns from the airport authorities. In 2018 there were a series of meetings with ISAVIA and other Icelandic authorities that included Airbus, Boeing, Bombardier, Dassault, and Gulfstream representatives. An Icelandic-Canadian astronaut joined the team, and proved to be a critical component of creating a mutually agreeable process to restore flight test operation at the Keflavik airport. Although there is finally an agreed upon process, almost six years post-accident there are still challenges ahead to restore the position of the Keflavik airport as the premiere destination for crosswind flight testing. Through the continued efforts and an unwavering commitment to a strong working relationship between the flight test manufacturers and the Icelandic authorities this saga will continue to add more positive chapters in the future.
Cooking, Roasting, Cooling, Freezing
Like in a *** stars Michelin restaurant, ask the Chef what you need, he will cook your bird the way you like it!
We are talking here of testing an aircraft in a climatic chamber, and the one Airbus selected is the widest in the word: the McKinley Climatic Chamber, located in the Eglin US Air Force base, close to sea side resort Fort-Walton Beach, Florida...
Even if the widest of the world, we had to 'cut' the wings of our big A350 bird, by removing both winglets to get it in... was like entering a Xmas Turkey inside a basic oven...
Airbus went twice for such testing, in May 2014 with A350, two years later for the new A320 family PW Pure and CFMI Leap Neo engines.
For the A350, the full a/c, meaning airframe, systems, cabin, and engines, were tested within a +45C/-40C range, while for the 320, only the engines and associated systems were under test, but down to -46C in cold soak, and -54C for turnaround time.
This represented an amazing adventure, with various challenges to face we all succeeded to overcome, creating an incredible team spirit.
This is what we are going to talk about!