Conducting a flight testing programme in an academic environment can provide valuable research data and support ‘hands on’ teaching of traditional aerospace engineering subjects such as principles of flight, aircraft performance and flight dynamics. Balancing safety, data quality, time and cost presents unique challenges in this environment where budgets are usually limited and things don’t always go to plan. Two academic flight test programmes are described. The first, an applied research programme for the investigation of performance and handling qualities of light aeroplanes to better understand factors affecting loss control (LOC-I), involved 9 airframes, 4 different operators, 5 different airfields and 26 hours of testing conducted over a 13 month period by a TP & FTE. The second programme was developed to demonstrate flight dynamics to undergraduate engineers using activity led (‘hands-on’) learning principles. The series of flight exercises was designed to complement in-class lectures and tutorials, at the same time generating research data. The programme, supported by a TP and FTE was conducted using a Percival P40 Prentice circa 1948 (complete with stick-shaker!) and represents a probable first for UK University. This paper described the unique challenges and lessons learned attempting to ‘plan the flight’ and ‘fly the plan’.
|Publication status||Published - 2013|