Synthetic brains for advanced planes
2 January 2002
Engineers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Centre at Edwards AFB in California are preparing to evaluate a flight control system that uses special neural network software. The project, known as Intelligent Flight Control Systems (IFCS), is designed to identify aircraft stability and control characteristics in order to provide stabilised flight control in the event of system failure.
The idea is that future flight control computer software will be able to compensate for combat-damaged or failed aircraft control systems, enabling safe landings for disabled aircraft.
One of Dryden's highly modified F-15B testbed aircraft is the IFCS research platform. Risk reduction flights of the F-15B IFCS are slated to begin about February-March 2002. Flight tests of a "self-learning" version of the IFCS software are tentatively planned for 2003, and an upgraded version is targeted for evaluation on a US Air Force C-17 test aircraft in 2005.
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