AIR FORCE TEST CENTER EDWARDS AFB CA EDWARDS AFB United States
The process of substantiating the aeroelastic stability of modern aircraft requires a combination of numerical and empirical analysis. The ground and flight testing required to collect the empirical data is arduous at best and extremely hazardous at worst. There are a number of phenomenon that fall into the area of aeroelasticity. The most notable of which is flutter. Flutter is a divergent, often catastrophic, oscillation that occurs when energy from the air flow over the structure feeds into the structure causing the damping to be reduced to the point it becomes negative. Limit Cycle Oscillation is a non-linear form of flutter in which a nonlinearity, either in the structure or the aerodynamics, limits the amplitude of the oscillation. LCO is not normally catastrophic, but it does impact fatigue life and can limit the pilots ability to control the aircraft or deploy weapons.