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Proceedings Paper

Fiber Optic Control System Integration program: for optical flight control system development
Author(s): Thomas L. Weaver; Daniel W. Seal
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Paper Abstract

Hardware and software were developed for optical feedback links in the flight control system of an F/A-18 aircraft. Developments included passive optical sensors and optoelectronics to operate the sensors. Sensors with different methods of operation were obtained from different manufacturers and integrated with common optoelectronics. The sensors were the following: Air Data Temperature; Air Data Pressure; and Leading Edge Flap, Nose Wheel Steering, Trailing Edge Flap, Pitch Stick, Rudder, Rudder Pedal, Stabilator, and Engine Power Lever Control Position. The sensors were built for a variety of aircraft locations and harsh environments. The sensors and optoelectronics were as similar as practical to a production system. The integrated system was installed by NASA for flight testing. Wavelength Division Multiplexing proved successful as a system design philosophy. Some sensors appeared to be better choices for aircraft applications than others, with digital sensors generally being better than analog sensors, and rotary sensors generally being better than linear sensors. The most successful sensor approaches were selected for use in a follow-on program in which the sensors will not just be flown on the aircraft and their performance recorded; but, the optical sensors will be used in closing flight control loops.

Paper Details

Date Published: 4 October 1994
PDF: 23 pages
Proc. SPIE 2295, Fly-by-Light, (4 October 1994); doi: 10.1117/12.188848
Show Author Affiliations
Thomas L. Weaver, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (United States)
Daniel W. Seal, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 2295:
Eric Udd; Deepak Varshneya, Editor(s)

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