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Automated safety and training avionics for general aviation aircraft
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The past decade has seen the U.S. general aviation community plagued by substantial cost increases while operating in an increasingly complex and crowded air traffic control structure. Unfortunately, there has been a corresponding rise in accident rates involving these aircraft. In an attempt to improve safety factors and training programs for this aviation sector, researchers at Texas A&M University are investigating "smart cockpit systems." This research program is titled Automated Safety and Training Avionics (ASTRA). ASTRA research is focused on integrating low-cost, yet sophisticated, computing technology into general aviation aircraft. The system architecture includes a Flight Mode Interpreter (FMI), which provides real-time identification of the aircraft operational maneuvering mode, through interpretation by fuzzy logic of aircraft state variables. This inference controls a Head-Up Display (HUD) to automatically present a unique display format appropriate to the operational situation. The FMI also drives a rule-based Pilot Advisor for generation of alarms and piloting advice. The pilot communicates with ASTRA through the Head-Down Display (HDD), which is configured similarly to the Multi-Function Displays found in many "glass cockpit" aircraft. This configuration permits the pilot to readily access, edit, and display a wide variety of information. The research reported in this thesis was to formally define the performance and test specifications for ASTRA and its various subsystems, as well as to design the system displays. Performance of these research tasks drew heavily on the author's experience as an Army experimental test pilot. Because the FMI is a unique development in modem aeronautics, definition of its functionality and integration with other system components could not rely on existing methodology and called for a imaginative approach. Likewise, design of the HUD and HDD display formats, as integrated with the FMI, was equally challenging. It is hoped that the research contributions of this thesis will form a firm foundation for the implementation and evaluation of the ASTRA system. It is felt that the success of the system will hinge on its functionality and perceived utility from the perspective of the general aviation pilot.
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Includes bibliographical references: p. 128-130.
Issued also on microfiche from Lange Micrographics.
Trang, Jeffrey Alan (1997). Automated safety and training avionics for general aviation aircraft. Master's thesis, Texas A&M University. Available electronically from
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