Date of Award

5-2004

Document Type

Thesis - Open Access

Degree Name

Master of Science in Safety Science

Department

Graduate Studies

First Committee Member

Carl Edward Wischmeyer, Ph.D.

Second Committee Member

James A. Messerschmidt, Ed.D.

Third Committee Member

Jeffrey Kotson

Abstract

The navigation displays commonly used in aircraft (Course Deviation Indicators), provide only the offset from desired track, leaving the pilot to figure out steering correction necessary to get back on track. This correction, determined by trial and error, adds to the workload, especially in windy conditions. The feasibility of using a new algorithm for providing guidance to the pilots for improved interception and tracking is examined in this thesis. The proposed system employs GPS to calculate the offset from the track as well as the instantaneous ground speed vector, to provide steering information. Thus, precise tracking is possible in real time basis, even in high winds.

This research, which served primarily as a proof of concept, involved flying a prototype of the system in different modes of interception and tracking. The flight tests were not intended to obtain statistically significant data but to verify system functionality and promise for further development. The actual courses flown, when compared with the desired course, proved not only the effectiveness of the system but also the ease of tracking, based on displayed guidance commands.

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