Design of a Haptic Feedback System for Flight Envelope Protection

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Several modern aircraft use a passive control manipulator: a spring–damper system that generates command signals to the flight control computers in combination with a flight envelope protection system that limits pilot inputs when approaching the aircraft limits. This research project aims to increase pilot awareness of this protection system through the use of force feedback on the control device, that is, haptics. This paper describes in detail how the haptic feedback works and when it triggers; another paper will discuss the results of an experimental evaluation. With the current haptic design, pilots can get five cues: first, a discrete force cue when approaching the limits; second, an increased spring coefficient for control deflections that bring the aircraft closer to its limits; third, a stick shaker for low velocities; fourth, if a low-velocity condition requires an input, the stick is moved forward to the desired control input; and finally, the stick follows the automatic Airbus “pitch-up” command during an overspeed condition. This novel system is expected to help pilots correctly assess the situation and decide upon the right control action. It will be evaluated in two scenarios close to the flight envelope limits: a windshear and an icing event.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)700-714
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Guidance, Control, and Dynamics: devoted to the technology of dynamics and control
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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