Measuring Pilot Control Force in General Aviation: Strain gauges and Load Cell
Wyma, Benjamin David
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Flight test requires a variety of sensors and data systems to accurately read variables on an aircraft during testing. One of these important variables is the pilots control force. Control force is used in many tests in flight test to ensure the aircraft being tested meets the required FAA standards. One essential test is stick free longitudinal stability where control force is needed to calculate the stick free neutral points of the aircraft . The objective of the project was to explore two methods of electronically measuring control force and determining which method is best suited for Florida Institute of Technology’s flight test class. The chosen method was designed, manufactured, implemented, and tested to determine the performance of the system. The load cell system performed well with room to improve in the design and implementation of the system. This paper discusses the advantages and drawbacks between two methods of reading control force in a Piper Warrior and Piper Cherokee 6 aircraft.