The GARTEUR Action Group FM-AG(16) on Fault Tolerant Control has made a significant
step forward in terms of bringing novel ‘intelligent’ self-adaptive flight control
techniques, originally conceived within the academic and research community, to a
higher technology readiness level. Although work still remains to be done before
stringent safety and certification requirements are met, the results of this programme
should provide a practical reference for the aerospace community on novel fault tolerant
flight control techniques and their integration within the aircraft and cockpit environment.
This includes studies on the application and integration issues of modern fault tolerant
flight control techniques.
Real-time aircraft integration of the new fault tolerant control algorithms was assessed
in a joint experimental simulator programme that consisted of a unique collaboration
between commercial transport pilots, flight control system design engineers and industry
representatives. The scenarios for the evaluation were selected based on their criticality
to the operation of the aircraft and availability of flight data for the replication
and validation of the damaged aircraft dynamics.
The experiment results show that the fault tolerant control algorithms are successful
in recovering the ability to control damaged aircraft after incurring a sudden hardover
of the rudder or a physical loss of two right-wing engines. Simulation results have
shown that the handling qualities of the reconfigured damaged aircraft with a fault
tolerant control system degrade less, indicating improved task performance. For both
the EL AL Flight 1862 and rudder hardover case, as part of the scenarios surveyed
in this research programme, the pilots demonstrated the ability to fly the damaged
aircraft, following control reconfiguration, back to the airport and conduct a survivable
approach and landing.
Rudder hardover scenario Rudder
Conventional aircraft (Click on video) Flight
control and engines reconfiguration (Click on video)
Separation of right-wing engines scenario Separation
of right-wing engines scenario
Conventional aircraft (Click on video) Reconfigured
aircraft (RTL-4 Television)