Simulated pilot-in-the-loop testing of handling qualities of the flexible wing aircraft
This article aims to indicate the differences between rigid and flexible wing aircraft flying (FQ) and handling (HQ) qualities. The Simulation Framework for Flexible Aircraft was used to provide a generic cockpit environment and a piloted mathematical model of a bare airframe generic high aspect ratio wing aircraft (GA) model. Three highly qualified test pilots participated in the piloted simulation trials campaign and flew the GA model with both rigid and flexible wing configurations. The results showed a negligible difference for the longitudinal HQs between rigid and flexible wing aircraft. However, significant changes were indicated for the lateral/directional HQs of the flexible wing aircraft. A wing ratcheting phenomenon manifested itself during the roll mode tests, the spiral mode exhibited neutral stability and the Dutch roll mode shape changed from a horizontal to a vertical ellipse. The slalom task flight tests, performed to assess the FQs of the aircraft, revealed the degradation of both the longitudinal and lateral/directional FQs.
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