By replicating previous aircraft crashes in its Simona research flight simulator, the Technical University of Delft is demonstrating new flight-control techniques that could have helped avert the disasters.

The simulations include a reconstruction of the El Al flight that crashed in the Bijlmer area of Amsterdam in 1992. The new control techniques involve fault-tolerant technology developed through the European research group Garteur, whose members include TU Delft and the Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR).

Analysis of flight data from aviation accidents by the NLR has enabled an accurate interpretation of the condition of a damaged aircraft based on its flight behaviour. That information has been used to develop new flight-control techniques that could allow the aircraft to be flown despite the damage-induced limitations to its performance.

According to the university, "simulator experiments have shown that the new techniques make it easier for the pilot to land seriously damaged aircraft safely [and] both military and civil aviation parties are displaying great interest in these developments".

© Technical University of Delft 

But the researchers do not expect the new techniques to be introduced for some time, until on-board computer power and the underpinning mathematical theory improve. TU Delft recently conducted a public demonstration of the technology using "realistic accident scenarios".

Source: Flight International