Date of Award

5-2017

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science

Major

Engineering Science

Major Professor

Steve Brooks

Committee Members

Peter Solies, Trevor Moeller

Abstract

Engineers and pilots rely on mechanical flow angle vanes on air data probes to determine the angle of attack of the aircraft in flight. These probes, however, are costly, come with inherent measurement errors, affect the flight characteristics of the aircraft, and are potentially dangerous in envelope expansion flights. Advances in the accuracy, usability, and affordability of inertial navigation systems allow for angle of attack to be determined accurately without direct measurement of the airflow around the aircraft. Utilizing an algorithm developed from aircraft equations of motion, a post-flight data review is completed as the first step in proving the low cost feasibility of utilizing inertial navigation data for such analysis. Flight tests were conducted with the UTSI Cessna 210 research aircraft to calibrate an angle of attack flow angle vane and obtain inertial navigation data from a commercial INS system in typical flight scenarios. The results of the angle of attack algorithm are compared to the measured angle of attack flow angle vane. Discussed in this thesis are the feasibility and potential applications of angle of attack determination from inertial data.

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