Peak-Seeking Control for Trim
Innovators have developed a peak-seeking algorithm that can reduce drag and improve performance and fuel efficiency by optimizing aircraft trim in real time. The algorithm determines a unique trim position for
an aircraft by employing a time-varying Kalman filter to estimate the gradient of a performance function using in-flight measurements. Existing trim control systems preprogram position data into an aircraft's computer, based on knowledge gained from test flights and wind tunnel experiments. In contrast, this innovation determines in real time the most fuel-efficient trim surface position by taking into account actual flight conditions and an aircraft's physical condition. This customized approach results in maximum fuel efficiency for each particular aircraft.
Work to date: The Armstrong team has validated the algorithm with a series of F/A-18 experiments.
Looking ahead: Future flight research efforts will work to further mature the technology and transition it to other aircraft. For example, the team is currently working with the U.S. Navy to study the potential benefits and costs of implementing the technology on the F/A-18 E/F military aircraft.
Efficient: Reduces fuel consumption and extends the operating range of aircraft
Fast: Determines and maintains the optimum trim surface position solution within 5 minutes, despite disturbances and other noise
Customized: Determines unique trim position using in-flight measurements
Variable: Works on multiple effectors in multiple axes simultaneously
Military jets and commercial airlines
Efficient Aerospace Vehicle Technologies
Increasing efficiency in aerospace systems is a key goal across the spectrum of NASA operations.
Armstrong researchers are constantly striving to build efficiency into all phases of flight projects, through development, fabrication, and operations processes.
From a new wing design that could exponentially increase total aircraft efficiency to a novel test stand for single-engine electric aircraft, our researchers are finding unique solutions that increase efficiency.