US H2206 H1
Side-slip of an aircraft during flight is detected through a pair of pressure sensors fixedly mounted on opposite lateral sides of the aircraft fuselage. Pressure measurement signals at said sensors are fed to electronic circuitry within the aircraft for generating magnitude and frequency signals reflective of the side-slip that are applied to a pair of vibrators respectively mounted on the undersides of a pair of pilot foot pedals located within the cockpit. The foot pedals are connected by linkage to the tail rudder on the aircraft fuselage. The varying magnitude and frequency of vibrations applied to the rudder foot pedals by the vibrators enables the pilot to immediately sense side-slip through the feet on the pedals. In response to such side-slip sensing, one of the pedals may be timely depressed for side-slip corrective angular displacement of the rudder.
1. In combination with an aircraft having a pilot cockpit mounting therein foot-operated means for directional aircraft control about a longitudinal yaw axis by a pilot seated within the cockpit; tactile means for providing pilot perception of side-slip condition, comprising: sensing means for detection of any aircraft side-slip reflected by angular deviation of air flight direction from the longitudinal yaw axis; vibrator means for selectively imparting vibrations directly to the foot-operated means in response to said detection of the side-slip; and signal generating means operatively interconnected between the sensing means and the vibrator means supplying side-slip indicating signals for said perception of the side-slip condition by the pilot through the foot-operated means.
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The invention described herein may be manufactured and used by or for the Government of the United States of America for governmental purposes without the payment of any royalties thereon or therefore.
The present invention relates to aircraft control for side-slip corrective purposes.
Traditionally, aircraft are maneuvered by pitch and yaw control inputs applied in a coordinated manner for smooth directional maneuvering of the aircraft. During such maneuvering of the aircraft, the desired pilot coordinated control over a rudder maintains alignment between the fuselage longitudinal yaw axis and the oncoming flow of air during flight of the aircraft under a zero side-slip condition so as to (a) minimize drag, (b) reduce risk of inadvertent spin under low speed flight, and (c) provide for aircraft passenger comfort. In certain rotary-wing types of aircraft small residual side-slip is desired to counteract lateral load due to the tail rotor by pilot application of a sufficient degree of foot pedal depression. Various automatic maneuvering control systems have however been proposed for establishing the aforesaid desirable coordinated maneuvering control, because of the pilot's inability to continuously provide it manually. Various disadvantages have however been inherently associated with such automatic control systems. It is therefore an important object of the present invention to augment direct pilot maneuvering control by providing immediate tactile perception to the pilot so as to enable corrective response to aircraft side-slip due to non-alignment between the airflow flight path and the yaw axis and thereby avoid any substantial deviation from zero side-slip condition.
Pursuant to the present invention, an aircraft is provided with means for measuring the aircraft side-slip angle. Such side-slip measurements are utilized to generate signals with magnitude and frequency corresponding to side-slip, applied to tactile vibrators mounted on the underside of a pair of pilot foot controls providing the pilot with sense touch perception of any side-slipping condition, thereby enabling immediate pilot depression of the foot controls for corrective control over the aircraft relative to the yaw axis so as to minimize the perceived side-slip. The pilot may thereby provide such corrective control without visual reference to cockpit instruments.
A more complete appreciation of the invention and many of its attendant advantages will be readily appreciated as the same becomes better understood by reference to the following detailed description when considered in connection with the accompanying drawing wherein:
Referring now to the drawing in detail,
Maneuvering of the aircraft 10 as generally known in the art involves displacement of the elevators 22, the rudder 24 and ailerons under control of the pilot in the aircraft fuselage cockpit 26.
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Based on the foregoing description, the controller 48 uses the side-slip signal from the sensor 50 to operate a selected one of the two vibrators 36 so as to signify to the pilot by vibration applied to one of the pilot feet 38 which of the rudder pedals 32 is to be depressed so as to effect angular displacement of the rudder 24 in one direction for side-slip error corrective purposes. The controller 48 may embody a dead band operational feature to by-pass selected pedal vibrator operation when the side-slip error is too small for correction. Furthermore, the controller 48 may incorporate a pilot actuated resetting switch and associated resetting circuit for varying the vibrating pressure applied to the rudder pedals 32 by the vibrators 36 so as accommodate different pilot sensibility preferences. The controller 48 may accordingly be selectively set to generate signals applied to the vibrators 36 by measurements of side-slip to be corrected by precise pilot yaw control through the rudder pedals 32. The signal correction proportionality measurement parameters of the controller 48 may be tuned to side-angle deviation, vibration frequency and vibration magnitude of the vibrators 36. Control over the rudder pedal vibrators 36 through the controller 48 may also be utilized for signifying the requirement of corrective pedal foot input to avoid forthcoming dangerous flight conditions alerted to the pilot.
It will be apparent from the foregoing description that in addition to controlled maneuvering of the aircraft 10 during flight through the steering wheel 30, the pedals 32, the horizontal stabilizer elevators 22 and the rudder 24, as generally known in the art, side-slip corrective adjustment control may be applied to the rudder 24 by the pilot through the pedals 32 in response to tactile sensing of vibrations applied thereto by the vibrators 36. Such vibrations vary in magnitude and frequency in accordance with the detection of aircraft side-slip through the side-slip detector ports 42 and a side-slip indicating vane 44.
Obviously, other modifications and variations of the present invention may be possible in light of the foregoing teachings. It is therefore to be understood that within the scope of the appended claims the invention may be practiced otherwise than as specifically described.