Date of Award
Thesis - Open Access
Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering
Dr. Richard "Pat" Anderson
First Committee Member
Dr. Jason Kring
Second Committee Member
Dr. Hever Moncayo Lasso
The purpose of this thesis was to develop fly-by-wire control laws enabling a general aviation aircraft to be flown with automotive controls, i.e. a steering wheel and gas/brake pedals. There was a six speed shifter used to change the flight mode of the aircraft. This essentially allows the pilot to have control over different aspects of the flight profile such as climb/descend or cruise. A highway in the sky was used to aid in the navigation since it is not intuitive to people without flight experience how to navigate from the sky or when to climb and descend.
Many believe that general aviation could become as widespread as the automobile. Every person could have a personal aircraft at their disposal and it would be as easy to operate as driving an automobile. The goal of this thesis is to fuse the ease of drivability of a car with flight of a small general aviation aircraft. A standard automotive control hardware setup coupled with variably autonomous control laws will allow new pilots to fly a plane as easily as driving a car. The idea is that new pilots will require very little training to become proficient with these controls. Pilots with little time to stay current can maintain their skills simply by driving a car which is typically a daily activity. A human factors study was conducted to determine the feasibility of the applied control techniques. Pilot performance metrics were developed to compare candidates with no aviation background and experienced pilots. After analyzing the relative performance between pilots and non-pilots, it has been determined that the control system is robust and easy to learn. Candidates with no aviation experience whatsoever can learn to fly an aircraft as safely and efficiently as someone with hundreds of hours of flight experience using these controls.
Scholarly Commons Citation
Carvalho, Christopher G., "Mapping Automotive Like Controls to a General Aviation Aircraft" (2013). PhD Dissertations and Master's Theses. 36.