Trim Control Patents (Class 244/178)
  • Patent number: 10417843
    Abstract: Method for predicting an operational malfunction in an aircraft equipment, the parameters of the equipment being monitored and recorded during flights by measurements or signals, the aircraft further including an equipment breakdown detection unit, the breakdown also being recorded in the aircraft memory. During maintenance phases between flights, measurements and breakdowns are retrieved on a programmable computer to form a database, and (a) a data analysis program is executed, a first time, to determine a set of pairs of parameter pairs whose signals develop positively over time in a correlated manner and in the absence of a breakdown, and (b) once the set of parameters pairs has been determined, a detection program is executed to calculate correlations for the pairs in the determined set of pairs and, when the calculated correlation value of one pair for a given flight falls below a predetermined positive detection threshold, a malfunction is reported.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 20, 2015
    Date of Patent: September 17, 2019
    Inventor: Jean-Hugues Pettre
  • Patent number: 10259564
    Abstract: A control unit for controlling movement of a stabilizer and an elevator on an aircraft, the control unit comprising a processor which is configured to receive a pitch reference command from a flight control input device of the aircraft, determine, based on the pitch reference command, an elevator command configured to command the elevator in the aircraft nose-up or nose-down direction, determine a difference between the elevator command and a desired elevator value corresponding to the pitch reference command, determine a threshold value as a desired maximum elevator deflection at a given pitch reference command, compare the difference with the threshold value and in response thereto generate a command signal configured to retain a current position of the stabilizer when the difference is smaller than or equal to the threshold value, and to command the elevator in the aircraft nose-up or nose-down direction based on the pitch reference command.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2016
    Date of Patent: April 16, 2019
    Assignee: Gulfstream Aerospace Corporation
    Inventors: Michael Clay Harden, Jong-Yeob Shin
  • Patent number: 10093415
    Abstract: In accordance with an embodiment of the present invention, a method of operating a rotorcraft includes operating the rotorcraft in a heading control mode that includes activating a yaw channel path of a heading controller and deactivating a roll channel path of the heading controller when a speed of the rotorcraft is less than a first speed threshold or a heading error is less than a heading error threshold, and activating the roll channel path of the heading controller and deactivating the yaw channel path of the heading controller when the speed of the rotorcraft is greater than a second speed threshold and the heading error is not less than the heading error threshold.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 20, 2017
    Date of Patent: October 9, 2018
    Assignee: BELL HELICOPTER TEXTRON INC.
    Inventors: Robert Lee Fortenbaugh, Jillian Samantha Alfred, Luke Dafydd Gillett
  • Patent number: 10041548
    Abstract: A wafer edge protection apparatus, including an electrical control module having a servomotor, a vertical motion mechanism and a protection mechanism. The protection mechanism includes: a shaft coupler, in fixed connection with a shaft of the servomotor and having a plurality of first connecting components; and a transmission sleeve, in fixed connection with the vertical motion mechanism and having a plurality of second connecting components in movable connection with the plurality of first connecting components.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 26, 2014
    Date of Patent: August 7, 2018
    Assignee: Shanghai Micro Electronics Equipment (Group) Co., Ltd.
    Inventors: Jingli Huang, Yuebin Zhu
  • Patent number: 9868514
    Abstract: The invention relates to a flap system for an aircraft high lift system or an engine actuation with a rotary shaft system, one or more drive stations as well as elements for transmitting the drive energy from the rotary shaft system to the one or more drive stations, wherein at least one drive station includes at least two independent load paths with at least one rotational transmission each for actuating the flap kinematics, and per load path at least one mechanically coupling-free synchronization unit is provided for compensating regular load fluctuations between the load paths. The invention furthermore relates to a method for monitoring a flap system with at least two redundant load paths which each comprise at least one rotational transmission, wherein it is cyclically checked whether the difference of the output-side torques of the at least two load paths exceeds a defined threshold value and/or lies within a defined limit range.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 8, 2014
    Date of Patent: January 16, 2018
    Assignee: Liebherr-Aerospace Lindenberg GmbH
    Inventors: Bernd Schievelbusch, Manfred Fischer
  • Patent number: 9796470
    Abstract: A method of assisting a pilot in order to minimize the risks of an aircraft rolling over on the ground, the aircraft having a main rotor and a yaw movement control rotor (4), together with lateral cyclic pitch control means for the main rotor and yaw movement control means for the yaw movement control rotor. At least one measurement is taken relating to left forces exerted on a left side undercarriage and to right forces exerted on a right side undercarriage in order to evaluate asymmetry, if any, between the left and right forces, and then a recommended position (26) is determined for at least one of the yaw and lateral cyclic pitch control means in order to make the left and right forces more symmetrical. Each recommended position is displayed on a display unit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 12, 2013
    Date of Patent: October 24, 2017
    Assignee: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS
    Inventor: Andre-Michel Dequin
  • Patent number: 9703294
    Abstract: A method of controlling a deflection angle of pitching stabilizer means for an aircraft. The method includes a preliminary stage for preparing at least one control relationship delivering a setpoint angle that is to be reached by the deflection angle as a function of at least one flight parameter of the aircraft and of an incidence parameter of the pitching stabilizer means. During an operational stage an operational stage (STP2), a “flight” value is determined for each of the flight parameters, a “setpoint” value is determined for the incidence parameter, a setpoint angle is determined by inputting the flight values and setpoint value into the control relationship, and at least one actuator is actuated in order to cause the deflection angle of the pitching stabilizer means to reach the setpoint angle.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 4, 2016
    Date of Patent: July 11, 2017
    Assignee: AIRBUS HELICOPTERS
    Inventors: Herve Morel, Nicolas Queiras
  • Patent number: 9540096
    Abstract: A multi-axis serially redundant, single channel, multi-path fly-by-wire control system comprising: serially redundant flight control computers in a single channel where only one “primary” flight control computer is active and controlling at any given time; a matrix of parallel flight control surface controllers including stabilizer motor control units (SMCU) and actuator electronics control modules (AECM) define multiple control paths within the single channel, each implemented with dissimilar hardware and which each control the movement of a distributed set of flight control surfaces on the aircraft in response to flight control surface commands of the primary flight control computer; and a set of (pilot and co-pilot) controls and aircraft surface/reference/navigation sensors and systems which provide input to a primary flight control computer and are used to generate the flight control surface commands to control the aircraft in flight in accordance with the control law algorithms implemented in the flight
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 28, 2015
    Date of Patent: January 10, 2017
    Assignee: BOMBARDIER INC.
    Inventors: Shu Lin, Timothy Smith, Pierre De Serres
  • Patent number: 8876063
    Abstract: A flight control system for an aircraft directs a primary surface that is pivotable with respect to the aircraft with a moveable tab located at the end of the primary surface. A primary surface actuator maintains a position of the primary surface. A tab actuator moves the tab with respect to the primary flight control surface. A controller configured to coordinate the movement of the primary flight control surface with the movement of the tab by deflecting the tab with respect to the primary flight control surface, thereby allowing aerodynamic forces acting upon the deflected tab to position the primary flight control surface at a desired position. The primary flight control surface can then be maintained at the desired position by the primary surface actuator.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 10, 2007
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2014
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: James J. Sheahan, Jr., Charles E. Morris, Jeffrey M. Roach
  • Patent number: 8816260
    Abstract: Embodiments of a flight-control system and methods of reducing the probability of a roll-control reversal in a canard-controlled flight vehicle are generally described herein. In some embodiments, the flight-control system may monitor angular velocities of the flight vehicle to detect the onset of instability and adaptively control an acceleration limit of the flight vehicle based on the detected instability to reduce the probability of a roll-control reversal. The onset of instability may be detected by persistently high angular velocities. The acceleration limit may be further adaptively controlled based on an approach of a vehicle trim limit.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 1, 2010
    Date of Patent: August 26, 2014
    Assignee: Raytheon Company
    Inventors: Richard E. Hindman, Kyle David Andringa, Darrell B. Ridgely
  • Patent number: 8718839
    Abstract: An automatic trim system and method is disclosed for automatically trimming a flight control surface of an aircraft. A force sensor measures a force applied by a pilot to a flight control system actuator. The length of time that the force is applied by the pilot is then timed by a timer. A trim system to reduce the applied force is included on the flight control surfaces. A processor determines if trim is required if a predetermined amount of time is exceeded based on the force sensor measurement. The processor can set the trim system to the trim required therein. An airspeed sensor is used to verify that the aircraft has sufficient speed for flight. A force sensor can be utilized to measure the input force being applied by the pilot. If a pilot input force is applied to the controls and the aircraft is in a steady state, a timer can be activated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 3, 2010
    Date of Patent: May 6, 2014
    Assignee: Evolved Aircraft Systems, L.L.C.
    Inventors: Michael Louis Everett, Louis Jackson Everett, Mario Ruiz, Jr.
  • Patent number: 8620492
    Abstract: An alternative system for damping the dutch roll mode in an aircraft is provided using roll control surfaces. Classical yaw dampers for the dutch roll mode utilize the yaw control surfaces such as a rudder to dampen the dutch roll mode oscillations. An alternative damper is described that utilizes roll control surfaces such as spoilers or ailerons to dampen the dutch roll mode.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 27, 2012
    Date of Patent: December 31, 2013
    Assignee: Textron Innovations Inc.
    Inventors: Steven G. Hagerott, Steven Klausmeyer, Gonzalo E. Mendoza
  • Patent number: 8606437
    Abstract: A longitudinal control law is designed to optimize the flying qualities when aircraft is set to approach configuration, i.e. when the flap lever is set to the landing position and landing gears are locked down. Under such circumstances, the effort of trimming the aircraft speed can be extremely reduced by the usage of a momentary on-off switch or other control in the sidestick, instead of or in addition to a conventional trim up-down switch, making easier the task of airspeed selection by the pilot. This control law provides excellent handling qualities during approach and landing, with the benefit of not needing or using radio altimeter information in safety-critical applications.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 28, 2011
    Date of Patent: December 10, 2013
    Assignee: Embraer S.A.
    Inventors: Fabricio Reis Caldeira, Marcos Vinicius Campos, Reneu Luiz Andrioli, Jr., Wagner de Oliveira Carvalho, Dagfinn Gangsaas, Eduardo Camelier, Daniel Siqueira, Lucas Rubiano
  • Patent number: 8489257
    Abstract: The invention relates to a method for actuating an adjusting drive for adjusting an elevator (12) and an adjusting drive for adjusting a moveable tail (23) provided with the steps: Generation of an elevator command to actuate the elevator adjusting drive; Calculating a moveable tail command (IHC1) for actuating the moveable tail adjusting drive in such a manner that the moveable tail (23) is tracked to the elevator input signal (10); Depending on the adjusting states of the elevator (12) and/or the moveable tail (23) or flight states, retaining the adjusting state of the moveable tail adjusting drive or actuating the moveable tail adjusting drive with a moveable tail command (IHCMD) for changing the adjusting state of the moveable tail (23), during actuation of the elevator adjusting drive with an elevator command for changing the adjusting state of the elevator (23) and in the event of a deviation from the calculated moveable tail command (IHC1) and the commanded moveable tail command (IHCMD), acting upon th
    Type: Grant
    Filed: March 17, 2008
    Date of Patent: July 16, 2013
    Assignee: Airbus Operations GmbH
    Inventor: Torsten Holzhausen
  • Patent number: 8434712
    Abstract: Methods and apparatus for driving rotational elements of a vehicle are provided. The apparatus includes a first driving member configured to rotate a first rotational element of the vehicle relative to a body of the vehicle. The apparatus also includes a second driving member. The second driving member includes a drive structure rotatably coupled to the body. The second driving member also includes a gimbal element coupled to the drive structure via a first joint pin. The gimbal element is configured to couple to a second rotational element of the vehicle such that when the drive structure is rotated relative to the body, the second rotational element rotates relative to the first rotational element. The gimbal element is configured to pivot about the first joint pin relative to the drive structure based on the rotation of the first rotational element and the rotation of the second rotational element.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: April 20, 2011
    Date of Patent: May 7, 2013
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventors: Roger D. Teter, Steven Dunn, Kenneth Barczi
  • Patent number: 8376283
    Abstract: A device for controlling vehicles having a manual control unit configured to influence the direction of movement of a vehicle. The manual control unit provides, in a neutral position of the manual control unit, a trim point to determine a preferred direction of movement. The device further includes a force generating device, generating at least one force acting in the direction of the neutral position of the manual control unit; a trim coupling operable to reduce the at least one force acting on the manual control unit; and a trim control unit configured to store and retain the trim point existing prior to an operation of the trim coupling.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 18, 2009
    Date of Patent: February 19, 2013
    Assignee: Eurocopter Deutschland, GmbH
    Inventor: Wolfram Grieser
  • Patent number: 8346409
    Abstract: The present invention provides systems and methods for controlling the speed of flap retraction on aircraft, and alerts to the pilot of potentially unsafe flap position. The invention accepts direction from a pilot and senses operation of the aircraft to determine appropriate flap position and flap retraction speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 19, 2007
    Date of Patent: January 1, 2013
    Assignee: Vertical Power, Inc.
    Inventors: Marc Ausman, Kevin DeVries, Jake Dostal
  • Patent number: 7969110
    Abstract: The invention relates to an actuator having an (auto)synchronous rotary electric motor and a reversible speed-reducing gearbox coupled to the motor to be driven in rotation thereby An outlet shaft is coupled to the speed-reducing gearbox to be driven in rotation thereby A first angular position sensor and a control circuit are connected to the motor. The circuit delivers a motor power supply signal that varies as a function of a position setpoint signal applied to the control circuit and as a function of signals delivered by the angular position sensor. The gearbox has a plurality of speed-reducing each having a pair of gears mounted to rotate about two parallel axes of rotation.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: September 8, 2008
    Date of Patent: June 28, 2011
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Philippe Vincent, Sébastien Pellegrino, Bernard Gemmati
  • Patent number: 7883059
    Abstract: Actuator systems and associated methods are disclosed herein. One aspect of the disclosure is directed toward an actuator system that includes a first structure and a second structure movable relative to the first structure. The system further includes an actuator apparatus and an actuator device coupled in series between the first structure and the second structure. The system can still further include a controller operably coupled to the actuator apparatus and the actuator device. The controller can be programmed with instructions to automatically actuate the actuator apparatus and the actuator device so that a position of the first structure relative to the second structure after the actuator apparatus and the actuator device have been actuated is at least approximately the same as a position of the first structure relative to the second structure before the actuator apparatus and the actuator device have been actuated.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2007
    Date of Patent: February 8, 2011
    Assignee: Insitu, Inc.
    Inventor: Peter Kunz
  • Publication number: 20100123045
    Abstract: A device for controlling vehicles having a manual control unit configured to influence the direction of movement of a vehicle. The manual control unit provides, in a neutral position of the manual control unit, a trim point to determine a preferred direction of movement. The device further includes a force generating device, generating at least one force acting in the direction of the neutral position of the manual control unit; a trim coupling operable to reduce the at least one force acting on the manual control unit; and a trim control unit configured to store and retain the trim point existing prior to an operation of the trim coupling.
    Type: Application
    Filed: November 18, 2009
    Publication date: May 20, 2010
    Applicant: EUROCOPTER DEUTSCHLAND GMBH
    Inventor: Wolfram Grieser
  • Patent number: 7702429
    Abstract: The invention relates to an electric flight control system for aircraft elevators. According to the invention, the flight control system can be controlled in terms of load factor or rate of pitch. The inventive system comprises built-in protections in relation to load factor, incidence and pitch attitude.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: July 27, 2005
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2010
    Assignee: Airbus France
    Inventors: Fabien Lavergne, Fabrice Villaume
  • Publication number: 20090283642
    Abstract: A breakable coupling device for coupling together first and second main transmission shafts stationary in translation along a longitudinal axis of rotation of the device comprises a blocking device having a discontinuous first housing and a continuous second housing forming a closed loop; a compression device; at least one drive device connecting the blocking device and the compression device together in rotation about the longitudinal axis below a predetermined torque, wherein the discontinuous first housing is configured to receive the at least one drive device below the predetermined torque; and a shifting device configured to shift the at least one drive device non-reversibly from the discontinuous first housing towards the continuous second housing when the torque exerted on the at least one drive device is greater than the predetermined torque.
    Type: Application
    Filed: May 19, 2009
    Publication date: November 19, 2009
    Applicant: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Bernard Gemmati, Philippe Vincent, Romuald Biest
  • Publication number: 20090194641
    Abstract: A locking mechanism, which permits fixation to a piston rod of a linear actuator relatively to a cylinder of the actuator, as well as a linear actuator equipped with such a locking mechanism as well as to an aircraft with at least one linear activator that is equipped with the locking mechanism. The locking mechanism includes a plurality of first positive locking elements which are arranged lengthwise with the outside circumference of the cylinder and in certain distances to one another and at least one second positive locking element, which is moved together with the piston rod upon activation of the linear actuator and thus passes a segment of the cylinder. The at least one second positive locking element is positively engageable with one of the plurality of first locking elements at discrete positions of the cylinder lengthwise, by which the piston rod is fixed relatively to the cylinder.
    Type: Application
    Filed: August 31, 2006
    Publication date: August 6, 2009
    Inventor: Gunnar Haase
  • Publication number: 20090065648
    Abstract: The invention relates to an actuator (10) comprising: an (auto)synchronous rotary electric motor (11); a reversible speed-reducing gearbox (13) coupled to the motor to be driven in rotation thereby; an outlet shaft (16) coupled to the speed-reducing gearbox to be driven in rotation thereby; a first angular position sensor responsive to the angular position of the outlet shaft; and a control circuit connected to the angular position sensor and to the motor, said the circuit delivering a motor power supply signal that varies as a function of a position setpoint signal applied to the control circuit and as a function of signals delivered by the angular position sensor. The gearbox comprises a plurality of speed-reducing modules or stages (131 to 134), each comprising a pair of gears mounted to rotate about two parallel axes of rotation (17, 160).
    Type: Application
    Filed: September 8, 2008
    Publication date: March 12, 2009
    Applicant: EUROCOPTER
    Inventors: PHILIPPE VINCENT, SEBASTIEN PELLEGRINO, BERNARD GEMMATI
  • Patent number: 7305285
    Abstract: A piloting device may include a section for generating control orders for the control surfaces acting on the yaw movement of an aircraft. A central unit determines an instruction to rotate the aircraft, based on control orders, and determines a global moment to be applied to the aircraft about the yaw axis so that the aircraft performs the rotation instruction. The central unit divides the global moment into a sum of elementary moments and computes, for each control surface, the instruction to be applied to its actuator so that the latter generates the associated elementary moment.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 3, 2004
    Date of Patent: December 4, 2007
    Assignee: Airbus France
    Inventors: Fabrice Villaume, Jean Duprez
  • Patent number: 7021587
    Abstract: A system for providing automatic trim control associated with a control surface in an aircraft that utilizes at least two sensors that must agree in direction before trim adjustment is made. Each sensor is provided with a separate an independent controller channel to further enhance fail-safe operation. A trim sensor is placed in the coupling link between a servo and aircraft primary control linkage leading to the associated control surface. A trim sensor is provided that utilizes a spring with a portion disposed laterally with respect to the direction of the force to be measured. An arm is attached to the lateral portion of the spring to effect motion that can be sensed by various sensors including optical, mechanical switch and magnetic sensors.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 7, 2004
    Date of Patent: April 4, 2006
    Assignee: Trutrak Flight Systems, Inc
    Inventor: James R. Younkin
  • Patent number: 6722616
    Abstract: The present invention is structured such that lift control apparatus such as flaps and flaperons operate in association with elevator operation performed by a pilot. Lift control conforming to elevator operation by the pilot is performed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 27, 2001
    Date of Patent: April 20, 2004
    Assignee: Toyota Jidosha Kabushiki Kaisha
    Inventor: Yoshiki Fukada
  • Patent number: 6643568
    Abstract: A system for automatically controlling lift augmentation devices of an aircraft, during a phase of take-off by the aircraft, includes a controllable actuator that shifts the lift-augmentation devices, and a control unit for generating control demands to control the actuator to bring the lift-augmentation devices into a defined position. The control unit further includes a detector that detects actual take-off by the air craft and, if appropriate, signals such detection to the control unit. At start of the take-off phase, the lift-augmentation device are brought into a first position, in which they are deployed. The control unit generates, at least when the detector signals the actual take-off, a control demand making it possible to bring the lift-augmentation devices into a second position, in which the lift-augmentation devices are retracted by comparison with the first position.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 19, 2001
    Date of Patent: November 4, 2003
    Assignee: Airbus France
    Inventors: Dominique Chatrenet, Gérard Mathieu, Fernando Alonso, Martine Cart-Lamy
  • Patent number: 6439512
    Abstract: A control system utilizes hydraulic power only to control a fixed-wing aircraft horizontal stabilizer trim control surface with no electrical control devices except for a cockpit pilot/co-pilot initiated 3-position spring-centered toggle trim switch, a backup electrical motor and a standard electronic logic pilot interface. The toggle trim switch controls two solenoid valves which control the operation of a directional control valve. The control system also includes a hydraulic motor, a rate control valve, a blocking-bypass valve, a shutoff valve with an integrated position sensor and a gear set driving an acme threaded output shaft for elevating or lowering the horizontal stabilizer trim control surface on command by the pilot. The control system controls the horizontal stabilizer trim control surface angular displacement rate as a function of angular position by means of a mechanical feedback linkage between the spool of the rate control valve and the horizontal stabilizer trim control surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 24, 2000
    Date of Patent: August 27, 2002
    Assignee: HR Textron, Inc.
    Inventor: Kenneth Edward Hart
  • Patent number: 6386485
    Abstract: The present invention relates to an arrangement and a method in a mechanical control system of an aircraft. From the cockpit of the aircraft control surfaces (1) of the aircraft can be acted upon via the control system by means of at least one control element (3), for example a wheel, a control column or a pair of pedals operatively connected to the control system. A servomotor (5) together with sensors is also connected to the control system. The sensors are designed, when acted upon by the control element (3), to detect the torque exerted on the control element (3) by a force applied thereto, the trim angle of the control element and the angular velocity with which the action occurs. The arrangement comprises a control device (9) which, on the basis of the conditions detected by the sensors, is designed to control the servomotor (5) so that a ratio between the force applied to the control element (3) and the trim angle of the control element assumes a desired, essentially constant value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 22, 2000
    Date of Patent: May 14, 2002
    Assignee: SAAB AB
    Inventor: Anders Sjöquist
  • Patent number: 6349900
    Abstract: An actuator system (10, 100, 200) for use in an aircraft control or operating system, comprising a controller (12) operable in response to an input for generating a control signal, and an electrical actuator (20) responsive to the control signal for operating an aircraft flight control surface or other aircraft apparatus. A tab (24; 124) for aerodynamically assisting the electrical actuator is also provided in order to reduce the load on the electrical actuator in use.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 25, 2000
    Date of Patent: February 26, 2002
    Assignee: BAE Systems plc
    Inventors: Andrew E. Uttley, Peter William Chambers, Nigel Blackwell, Brian Weller
  • Patent number: 6338454
    Abstract: The present invention relates to a flight control device for an aircraft comprising a control (2) and a means for actuating a controlled member (RP, RQ) to which a command is applied. According to the invention, said device (1) additionally includes a sensor (E) for determining a second value that is representative of the control executed by the aircraft (He) with respect to the control axis, and second means (M2) which determine: as long as the second value is lower than or equal to a reference value, a first trim command that is proportional to the actuation of the control (2); and when the second value is higher than the reference value, in addition to a second trim command, a speed command that is proportional to the additional actuation over and above said second value.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 2000
    Date of Patent: January 15, 2002
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Philippe Alain Rollet, Serge Joseph Mezan
  • Patent number: 6282466
    Abstract: An improvement to a method of automatic flight using a flight management system is provided. The flight management system includes a lateral navigation (LNAV) control mode in which the flight management system provides roll commands via a flight director system to the pilot during manual flight or to an autopilot during autoflight to effectuate lateral flight guidance. The improvement includes evaluating the energy state of the airplane during the LNAV control mode, calculating a Thrust Based Roll Limit (TBRL), and providing an appropriately limited bank angle command signal via the flight director system for use by the pilot during manual flight or to the autopilot during autoflight while flying in a thrust-limited condition. The TBRL is calculated as a function of the energy state of the airplane. The use of the TBRL to limit the bank angle command signal avoids an uncommanded change in altitude and/or airspeed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 3, 1998
    Date of Patent: August 28, 2001
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Edward P. Nolte, Michael J. Myers, David C. Coombs, John C. Griffin, III
  • Patent number: 6276640
    Abstract: A device for re-trimming a pilot control of an aircraft to keep a flight parameter at a reference value includes a first detection means for detecting the actual position of the pilot control, a calculation unit for determining the direction and magnitude of displacement of the control in order to re-trim the control based on the actual position and reference position, and a display structure for displaying to the pilot a characteristic sign indicating the direction and magnitude of the displacement needed to re-trim the control.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 1999
    Date of Patent: August 21, 2001
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Jean-François Laffisse, Eddy Gaston Jean Woirin
  • Patent number: 6246929
    Abstract: An autopilot controller, for controlling a vehicle traveling in a fluid medium, designed for controlling the vehicle in any one of pre stall, stall and post stall regions. The autopilot controller provides an approach for one-to-one mapping between a target command which is received and control surface deflections for effecting the command based on vehicle normal force and vehicle moment response characteristics. In one embodiment, the autopilot controller determines linear functions representative of the vehicle dynamic response for the current operating conditions in order to determine a direction of change of fin deflection for effecting the command. In another embodiment, the autopilot controller controls transverse vehicle accelerations by controlling a body pitch moment generated by a control surface.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 17, 1999
    Date of Patent: June 12, 2001
    Assignee: Lockheed Martin Corporation
    Inventor: Joseph H. Kaloust
  • Patent number: 5935177
    Abstract: The apparatus of this invention includes a pilot-induced oscillation (PIO) detector, a PIO compensator and a pilot input modifier. The PIO detector is coupled to receive aircraft state signal including the aircraft's pitch, roll and yaw attitudes. The PIO detector is also coupled to receive pilot control signal generated by the aircraft's pilot by manipulation of flight control instruments. Preferably, the PIO detector includes a feature calculator and a discriminator. Based on the aircraft state signal and the pilot control signal, the feature calculator generates at least one feature signal indicative of whether a PIO or non-PIO condition exists in the aircraft. The feature calculator supplies the feature signal to the discriminator, that uses the feature signal to determine whether or not a PIO condition exists.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: February 6, 1997
    Date of Patent: August 10, 1999
    Assignee: Accurate Automation Corporation
    Inventors: Chadwick J. Cox, Carl E. Lewis
  • Patent number: 5863012
    Abstract: A cyclic stick system for a helicopter or other aircraft includes memories for holding minimum and maximum speed values, a comparator for comparing an air speed V1 with the minimum and maximum speed values, a router for selecting either the air speed V1 or a quiescent speed, a subtracter for obtaining a difference between the output of the router and a reference speed, another router for selecting between the difference and a signal representing an orientation of the stick, and a switch for selecting times when the air speed V1 is to be stored as the reference speed. On the basis of the air speed V1 and under the control of the device for retrimming said cyclic stick, the system acts on the motorization of stick in order to confer on the helicopter apparent longitudinal static stability in terms of forces on the cyclic stick so that to accelerate (or decelerate) and maintain a new higher (or lower) speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 5, 1996
    Date of Patent: January 26, 1999
    Assignee: Eurocopter
    Inventors: Philippe Alain Jean Rollet, Paul Gerard Eglin
  • Patent number: 5836546
    Abstract: An underspeed protection system for an aircraft under autopilot control selects a target speed based upon the greater of a minimum maneuver speed and a stick shaker speed. The system then compares a monitored speed to the target speed to produce an error signal. The system also monitors vertical speed to determine if tie aircraft begins to descend. If the error signal due to the underspeed condition causes the aircraft to descend, the system provides a hold zero vertical speed signal in place of the error signal such that the aircraft seeks to maintain its altitude. The hold zero vertical speed signal overrides the underspeed error signal such that the aircraft does not pitch forward to seek an increased speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: January 10, 1997
    Date of Patent: November 17, 1998
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Mark E. Gast
  • Patent number: 5803408
    Abstract: In an aircraft under autopilot control, a stall protection system overrides established autopilot parameters in response to a monitored angle of attack for the aircraft exceeding a trigger angle of attack. The trigger angle of attack is established with reference to a stick shaker angle of attack for the aircraft. When the aircraft exceeds the trigger angle of attack, the stall protection system produces an error signal causing the autopilot to seek an angle of attack 1 degree below the stick shaker angle of attack. Initially, the stall protection system provides a boost command to the error signal to accelerate the response of the aircraft to the error signal. The boost command is produced by a driving signal generator that selects one of four driving signals in response to monitored flap angle and impact pressure.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: September 8, 1998
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Mark E. Gast
  • Patent number: 5746392
    Abstract: An underspeed protection system for an aircraft under autopilot control selects a target speed based upon the greater of a minimum maneuver speed and a stick shaker speed. The system then compares a monitored speed to the target speed to produce an error signal. The system also monitors vertical speed to determine if the aircraft begins to descend. If the error signal due to the underspeed condition causes the aircraft to descend, the system provides a hold zero vertical speed signal in place of the error signal such that the aircraft seeks to maintain its altitude. The hold zero vertical speed signal overrides the underspeed error signal such that the aircraft does not pitch forward to seek an increased speed.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: May 5, 1998
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Mark E. Gast
  • Patent number: 5719566
    Abstract: The actuation system of the present invention is based upon sensing relatively small delta errors over relative short strokes as opposed to absolute travel error.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 28, 1996
    Date of Patent: February 17, 1998
    Assignee: Sundstrand Corporation
    Inventors: John Readman, James J. Wrobel, Timothy M. Mayer
  • Patent number: 5692708
    Abstract: A method and apparatus for managing the trim of an airplane stabilizer whose elevator is controlled by a highly augmented elevator control law is disclosed. The augmented portion of the elevator command ##EQU1## is evaluated(13) to determine if it is above or below a variable threshold whose magnitude is dependent on airspeed. Portions above or below the threshold are integrated (15) to determine if the augmented portion of the elevator command is rapidly or slowly diverging. A stabilizer trim command is rapidly produced if the augmented portion of the elevator command is rapidly diverging and produced more slowly if the augmented portion is slowly diverging. The stabilizer trim command causes the production of a trim up or trim down command (25/27) depending upon whether the stabilizer needs to be moved up or down.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 15, 1995
    Date of Patent: December 2, 1997
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventors: Edward E. Coleman, Michael S. McCuen, Kioumars Najmabadi
  • Patent number: 5553812
    Abstract: A velocity command system is provided with a velocity stabilization mode wherein aircraft flight path referenced velocities are determined with respect to an inertial frame of reference, the flight path referenced velocities are held constant during pilot commanded yaw maneuvers so that the aircraft maintains a fixed inertial referenced flight path regardless of the pointing direction of the aircraft. Velocity control with respect to an inertial frame of reference is accomplished by controlling the aircraft flight path based on aircraft body referenced commanded lateral and longitudinal acceleration and based on aircraft body referenced lateral and longitudinal centrifugal acceleration. Operation in the velocity stabilization mode is provided in response to the manual activation of the velocity stabilization mode by the pilot, provided that the aircraft is already operating in the ground speed mode and the aircraft is not in a coordinated turn.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 3, 1994
    Date of Patent: September 10, 1996
    Assignee: United Technologies Corporation
    Inventors: Phillip J. Gold, Donald L. Fogler, Jr., James B. Dryfoos
  • Patent number: 5522568
    Abstract: Automatic trim control for a position stick. Strain gauges are mounted with respect to the position stick so as to generate signals proportional to the force manually exerted upon the control stick. The signals from the strain gauges are used to control trim motors which adjust force exerted by springs on the position stick in opposition to the manual force. The signals from the strain gauges are used to control the trim motors so as to reduce the force of the trim springs opposing the manual force. The trim springs are adjusted to reduce the opposition force to a minimum.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: November 9, 1993
    Date of Patent: June 4, 1996
    Assignee: DEKA Products Limited Partnership
    Inventors: Dean L. Kamen, Bradley D. Miller
  • Patent number: 5510991
    Abstract: An automatic piloting device for aerodynes uses at least one digital computer receiving information from a set of sensors, and controlling actuators acting on the flight control surfaces, the computer comprising at least one autonomous computing module having hardware and software resources capable of piloting according to any one of the three piloting axes, the module having a means for becoming specific to a given axis from among the piloting axes, and a connection means for connection to the sensors and actuators corresponding to said given axis. It applies notably to the automatic piloting of a helicopter.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: June 7, 1994
    Date of Patent: April 23, 1996
    Assignee: Sextant Avionique
    Inventors: Benoit Pierson, Georges Guiol, Florence Limon
  • Patent number: 5465211
    Abstract: A control system is provided which prevents a powerful, propeller driven, jet training aircraft from requiring corrective action to throttling and gyroscopic effects when the student wishes to fly the aircraft in coordinated flight. The control system includes a digital memory having stored therein flight test generated data representative of the relationship between the amount of rudder trim required to maintain the aircraft in coordinated flight as a function of aircraft engine torque and airspeed. Sensors are provided to measure aircraft engine torque aircraft altitude aircraft speed, and pitch rate. The measured parameters are coupled to the digital computer. The digital computer combines the parameters provided by the sensors and data read from the memory to produce a composite rudder trim signal which automatically reduces rudder forces induced by throttling and gyroscopic effects produced in response to pilot commanded maneuvers to thereby maintain the aircraft in coordinated flight.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 2, 1994
    Date of Patent: November 7, 1995
    Assignee: Beech Aircraft Corporation
    Inventor: William M. Byrne, Jr.
  • Patent number: 5465212
    Abstract: An integrated fire and flight control (IFFC) system determines a ballistic firing solution based on the position of targets relative to a helicopter and also based on the type of weapons to be fired. An elevation command is determined based on the required change in helicopter attitude to achieve the ballistic firing solution that, combined with the estimated time required to perform the aim and release of weapons, provides an estimate of deceleration and velocity loss that will occur. A forward acceleration and velocity profile is determined based on the desire to make a symmetrical maneuver sequence involving a nose down acceleration to achieve the acceleration and velocity profile that will be canceled by the subsequent deceleration and velocity loss during the pitch up maneuver to the ballistic firing solution.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: December 23, 1993
    Date of Patent: November 7, 1995
    Assignee: United Technologies Corporation
    Inventors: Donald W. Fowler, Nicholas D. Lappos, Joan A. Edwards
  • Patent number: 5446666
    Abstract: An aircraft control system for an unique-trim, model-following system includes a feedforward shaping function that provides quickening of pilot input, and an automatic trim function that accommodates return of the cockpit controller to an unique, centered position during trimmed flight. The basic control law is reconfigured in response to the changing state of landing gear contact to support transitions between ground state and fly state conditions. The state of the landing gear is monitored continually to recognize the occurrence of initial ground contact and whether the aircraft is constrained about a rotational axis due to ground contact. The control is altered progressively as the transition proceeds so that command of the control surface is consistent with the degree of constraint imposed by ground contact.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: May 17, 1994
    Date of Patent: August 29, 1995
    Assignee: The Boeing Company
    Inventor: Carl J. Bauer
  • Patent number: 5301112
    Abstract: A transient free synchronizer stores an input trim signal value on command, and provides an output signal value which transitions in a smooth, continuous manner, when the synchronizer is commanded to the store the input signal. Synchronizers are typically used to capture desired aircraft attitude, position, or velocity trim points for use in aircraft autopilot and automatic flight control systems.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: August 28, 1991
    Date of Patent: April 5, 1994
    Assignee: United Technologies Corporation
    Inventors: Phillip J. Gold, Donald L. Fogler, Jr., James L. Richard
  • Patent number: 5286203
    Abstract: The present invention features a simulator apparatus and method for realistically simulating actual forces at the horizontal stabilizer trim controls of an aircraft. The invention features a closed-loop, microprocessor-based programmable system with reduced mechanical, electromechanical, and/or hydraulic components. The microprocessor computes the required reaction forces using a softward model of the horizontal stabilizer trim system.
    Type: Grant
    Filed: October 7, 1992
    Date of Patent: February 15, 1994
    Assignee: AAI Microflite Simulation International
    Inventors: John J. Fuller, Charles J. Bratt, Wayne Blackwell, Paul E. Mueller