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Technology project LAPAZ for the development of an innovative automatic Flight Control System successfully completed

The first phase for the innovative automatic Flight Control System LAPAZ has been completed after a series of test flights at STEMME AG Strausberg. This technology project has been funded for three years by the German Ministry of Economy and Technology (BMWI) within the 4th program for aviation research (LuFo).

LAPAZ research is targeted to develop and demonstrate a highly reliable and precise Flight Control System by the three partners STEMME AG, the Technical University of Berlin and the University of Stuttgart. This Flight Control System enables a fully automatic flight in various flight regimes. At later development stages LAPAZ shall be able to accomplish automatic take off and landing to enable flights with sensors over difficult landscapes like polar regions, if required unmanned as an OPV (Optional Piloted Vehicle). LAPAZ Flight Control System is modular designed, error-tolerant and scalable, it is easy adaptable for new missions. One special challenge is to develop, certify and fabricate a safety critical system at costs in line with the market.

Missions far beyond the potential of manually piloted aircraft can be accomplished with this powerful automatic Flight Control System. An essential factor is to give pilots permanent support to enhance safety, efficiency and comfort during utility missions – even at flights at very low level or near obstacles. Predetermined flight profiles can be flown autonomously, highly precise and reproducible even at long endurance missions.

LAPAZ will be installed into utility aircraft (e.g. for geo-exploration or surveillance) for which an increasing demand exists. Most suitable for this missions and for the exploitation of new fields of application are especially developed single engine aircraft. With a maximum take off weight of around one ton the aircraft carries payloads between 100 kg up to 300 kg. This aircraft should fly high, slow and have a long endurance.

After a conjointly phase of conceptual design and definition STEMME modified a S15 utility aircraft and integrated the LAPAZ control system into the airframe. The system consists of a by-wire-platform (including sensors and actuators) and an implementation of flight-control-laws.

The flight mechanical model required for the design of LAPAZ and its control-functions has been developed and programmed into software by scientists of the "Section for flight mechanics, flight control and aero-elasticity" (Prof. Robert Luckner) of the TU-Berlin.

The error-tolerant and redundant by-wire-platform has been developed by the "Institute for aviation systems" (Prof. Reinhard Reichel) of the University of Stuttgart.

Of key importance is the system approach with a generic platform management that incorporates error- and redundancy-management and enables implementation of applications like flight-control-laws on a virtual level at a simply manner.

Additional flights will be executed in the next weeks for fine tuning and expanding the area of application.

A follow-on project will test automatic take off and landing and a gust alleviation system to enable precise measurements in gusty air. An important asset is to design a computer-based development process for the safety-critical control system that ensures a later certification based on future standards.

Press release issued by Ecarys GmbH on October 13, 2010


 Contact details from our directory:
Ecarys GmbH Composite Propellers, Automatic Flight Control Systems


 Related directory sectors:
Flight and Data Management

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