An Innovative Approach to Flight Test Using Digital Multi-Media Technologies

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


A novel and innovative approach has been developed to support flight test exercises in a flying laboratory environment for Aerospace Engineering students at Coventry University by using a combination of activity led learning principles and digital media technologies. This approach has been designed to enhance the student learning experience and improve students’ understanding of flight dynamics, flight test theory and test practices in a flying laboratory environment using standard, un-modified aircraft. Following an introduction to basic flight dynamics theory and flight test methods in a classroom environment, students perform a series of performance and handling quality flight test exercises in a previously unseen aircraft. Evaluation trials were conducted using a 1948 De Havilland Rapide 6 with 24 students acting as flight test observers during 3 flights. The flight exercises are made the focus of learning, with flight dynamics course tutors acting as facilitators. Portable AHRS/GPS systems are used to sense & record key flight data parameters and this is broadcast simultaneously via a wireless network to multiple digital devices on-board the aircraft. Each student is equipped with a digital iPad with a simulated EFIS display with which they record selected data parameters for each exercise for data reduction, analysis and reporting. The portability of all equipment and the use of multi-media technologies mean that flight exercises can be conducted in a variety of aircraft types and is not limited to purpose built, instrumented aircraft. Flight test instrumentation can be safely ‘installed’ in as little as 15 minutes. This approach offers a broader learning experience for the student using familiar digital technologies and so far, has been well received by the student cohort.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationUnknown Host Publication
Publication statusPublished - 2014


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