DAIMLER-BENZ Aerospace Airbus (DAA) and the German Aerospace Research Establishment (DLR) are pushing for Government funding to refit a second MBB VFW 614 as a testbed for a new electronic flight-control system (EFCS).
According to DAA, discussions are now under way with the ministry for research and technology on equipping a stored VFW 614 with a fly-by-wire system. The aircraft is likely to be DLR-owned, and would be used to back up the research establishment's existing VFW 614-based advanced-technologies testing-aircraft system (ATTAS) in-flight simulator/test aircraft.
DAA is interested in using the new test aircraft for its research ministry-sponsored EFCS research programme, which it intends to be "...the technological basis for any future [aircraft] programme in which Daimler-Benz Aerospace [DASA] participates, including the 100-seater airliner programme".
DASA is participating with its Dutch subsidiary, Fokker, in the Fokker Aircraft Experimental feasibility study for a future airliner in the 100-seat class.
The EFCS programme has been running since 1984, says DAA, and has so far concentrated on the design and testing of flight-control laws. The laws have been matched to the flight dynamics of the ATTAS and test flights have been performed since late 1993. Programme engineers say that all normal operational functions of the flight-control laws, except take-off and landing, have now been tested.
The second stage of flight testing, is scheduled to begin in March, and will concentrate on system-related aspects of the control laws. Take-off and landing are expected to be included in the third stage of flight trials, scheduled for 1996 after certification to permit the ATTAS to be operated in its experimental mode below 200ft (60m).
According to DAA engineers, the company hopes to install a complete three-axis EFCS, including new hardware, into the second VFW 614 testbed to follow on from the flight-control-law tests.
Whether the new aircraft can also be used as an in-flight simulator, like ATTAS, is still under discussion, says DAA.
Source: Flight International