NASA SBIR 2003 Solicitation


PROPOSAL NUMBER: 03- II A1.03-8154
SUBTOPIC TITLE: Automated On-Line Health Management and Data Analysis
PROPOSAL TITLE: Use Of Dynamic Distortion To Predict And Alleviate Loss Of Control

PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR/PROJECT MANAGER (Name, E-mail, Mail Address, City/State/Zip, Phone)
David H Klyde
13766 S Hawthorne Blvd.
Hawthorne, CA 90250-7083
U.S. Citizen or Legal Resident: Yes

The intent of this project is to develop and validate means to alert, constrain and thereby alleviate loss of control (LOC) associated with unfavorable pilot-vehicle systems (PVS) interactions present in high gain, closed-loop PVS operations. While the effective aircraft dynamic properties involved in these events have been extensively studied and understood, similar scrutiny has not been paid to the many aspects of the primary manual control system that converts the pilot control inputs to motions of the control surfaces. It has often been tacitly assumed that the adoption of fly-by-wire (FBW) systems has eliminated the primary manual control link as an important player in LOC situations. Consequently, the impact of static and dynamic control system effects that distort "ideal" pilot to surface relationships, the near absence of manipulator tactile cues for some FBW systems, as well as the total elimination in FBW systems of some favorable cues present in traditional hydro-mechanical systems have not received detailed attention. The purpose of the Smart-Cue developments proposed herein are to redress this neglect, to develop and, ultimately, to validate remedial manual control systems.

The same improvements to modern manual flight control systems will be available for commercial and military flight control systems. The continuing record of unfavorable pilot-vehicle coupling provides evidence of the need for improvements such as this. The patentable Smart-Cue concept based on dynamic distortion applies to any powered manual control system, including ground vehicle manual control systems. Power steering is a mature application, which works in part because direct links provide dynamic distortion cues, but new concepts in ground vehicle control are being developed that can benefit from this work as well.

Improved aviation safety is a major objective of NASA. This work will contribute towards this goal in two ways. First, improvements to modern manual flight control systems will be developed that will significantly reduce the likelihood of unfavorable pilot-vehicle interactions. These improvements will be available to NASA for their fleet of aircraft and for new NASA vehicles entering flight test. Second, this work will validate an important but largely unrecognized cause of decreased flight safety ? the lack of pilot cues that tell the pilot when the flight control system is acting in a deficient manner.