SAFE-Cue to the Rescue!
Smart Adaptive Flight Effective Cue (SAFE-Cue) is a novel adaptive flight control system that provides a means to safely operate an air vehicle in the presence of damage or system failures. The system alerts the pilot that the adaptive control system is active, provides guidance via force feedback cues, and attenuates commands to ensure pilot-vehicle system stability and performance in hazardous situations. SAFE-Cue integrates
diverse disciplines including adaptive compensator design, cockpit inceptor design, human operator modeling, and aircraft handling qualities. The concept is completely generalized and can be applied to any flight control system implementation as a means to mitigate aircraft loss of control.
The technology was developed under a NASA Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) contract.
Work to date: In 2013, Armstrong test pilots evaluated the SAFE-Cue technology on a Calspan variable stability Learjet. The pilots evaluated system effectiveness in the presence of pitch and roll axis failures and indicated the system successfully eliminated oscillation tendencies that can lead to control loss. The technology was also evaluated on the Vertical Motion Simulator at NASA's Ames Research Center.
Looking ahead: Because the results of both evaluations are promising, the Armstrong team will continue to develop and evaluate the technology. Use of SAFE-Cue is being considered to make both UAV and lifting-body spacecraft such as the Dream Chaser operations safer by implementing loss of control and pilot-induced oscillation safeguards as well as assisting in vehicle energy management.
Partners: Systems Technology, Inc., under an SBIR contract, and subcontractors Barron and Associates and Calspan Corporation
'SAFE-Cue provides feedback to a pilot via an active control inceptor. The system alerts the pilot that the adaptive control system is active
and guides the pilot via force feedback cues. '
Bruce Cogan, PI
Armstrong's Research and Engineering Directorate is responsible for the overall engineering content of flight research projects. Our engineers provide technical expertise in aerodynamics; guidance, navigation, and control; propulsion; static and dynamic structures; flight hardware and software; flight and ground test instrumentation and data systems; and system engineering and integration. They apply their expertise across the spectrum of Armstrong's many activities and also support the development and continual evolution of engineering tools and test techniques. Here are highlights from a few recent and particularly notable engineering success stories.