Identification of the F-16 in flight handling qualities at high angles of attack using a total systems simulation approach

Evangelou, Leonidas (2000) Identification of the F-16 in flight handling qualities at high angles of attack using a total systems simulation approach. (MPhil thesis), Kingston University, .


The increasing demand on high performance fighter aircraft has introduced areas of concern associated with the handling qualities, control and safety at high angles of incidence. Pilots are limiting combat effectiveness by cautiously avoiding hazardous regions of the flight envelope. This thesis presents the results of the work undertaken in analysing the F-16 aircraft's handling characteristics during dangerous departure and deep stall conditions. It also proposes a methodology that will increase combat effectiveness and safety. Human factors and performance are still fundamental to flight safety and pilot decisions and reactions during dangerous scenarios are critical. Design excellence and pilot performance are some of the primary means of obtaining combat superiority. However, this goal presents a major challenge due to the complex, multi-technological nature of modern aircraft. The achievement of conflicting objectives such as optimum combat performance and safety during difficult manoeuvres near and beyond the aircraft flight envelop -limits calls for a more holistic determination of the aircraft design and operational procedures. An all axis six degree-of-freedom simulation was built and used to investigate the onset of allegedly spurious pitching moments that lead to departure and deep stall. The model is verified against in-flight tests data and used to investigate all possible scenarios that would be too dangerous to complete in the air. The Advanced Continuous Simulation Language (ACSL) computer codes are contained in the present thesis. A methodology is proposed and has been in-flight tested for one departure test case to date. A change in approach from a departure and deep stall prevention approach to one of deep stall recovery is recommended. This allows the pilot to use the full extent of the control surfaces without being inhibited or disabled by the prevention systems.

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