Agility: Presentation and Flight Test Methods for the Operational Fighter Pilot
AIR FORCE INST OF TECH WRIGHT-PATTERSON AFB OH SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING
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This thesis develops both metrics and flight test techniques to measure agility. During development of both the agility metrics and the flight test techniques, previous work conducted by the agility community and the Flight Test Center at Edwards Air Force Base was used as a lessons learned tool to insure favorable results. Both simulator and flight testing was performed to validate the flight test techniques. During simulator testing several problems with the original flight test techniques were noted. Flight testing on the pitch agility flight test technique solved most of its problems but problems found during roll testing in the simulator were not flight tested. Flight testing was limited to pitch agility testing only due to time and resource constraints. Results from the flight test were impressive showing a significant advantage using post-stall agility in the A-37B aircraft. Up to 40 degrees of heading change was obtained in approximately one second. This turn rate exceeds all maximum instantaneous turn rates for current front line fighters. These results were analytically applied to 180 degree turn maneuvers and resulted in up to a 20 time savings from conventional turn methods. This will ultimately allow the fighter pilot to make an educated decision which flight condition is best to defeat a threat.