Effect of limited amplitude and rate of flap motion on vane-controlled gust-alleviation system

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An airplane (light transport type) is assumed to be in level flight (no pitching) through atmospheric turbulence which has a mean-square vertical gust intensity of 9.3 (m/sec)sq. The power spectral density of the vertical acceleration due to gusts is examined with and without a gust-alleviation system in operation. The gust-alleviation system consisted of wing flaps that were used in conjunction with a vane mounted ahead of the airplane to sense the vertical gust velocity. The primary purpose of this study was to examine the change in the effectiveness of the gust-alleviation system when the flap motion is limited in amplitude and rate. The alleviation system was very effective if no restrictions were placed on flap motion (rate and amplitude). Restricting the flap amplitude to 0.5 radian did not appreciably change the effectiveness. However, restricting the flap rate did reduce the gust alleviation, and restricting the flap rate to 0.25 rad/sec actually caused the alleviation system to increase the vertical acceleration above that for the no-alleviation situation. Based upon this analysis, rate limiting appears to be rather significant in gust-alleviation systems designed for passenger comfort.

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