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Adaptive Handling Qualities Aircraft (AHQA) – Fall 2022

October 30, 2022

The introduction of the Adaptive Handling Qualities Aircraft (AHQA) to the Flight Test community at the 53rd International Symposium of the Society of Flight Test Engineers (SFTE) held at ITPS, was a very rewarding experience.

We asked Dave Mitchell, Handling Qualities expert and co-author of Mil-Std-1797 and ADS-33E to assess its capabilities. Dave had the opportunity to fly in AHQA with Instructor Test Pilot Cyril Gennari and was favourably impressed saying “AHQA is a very effective tool for teaching flight testers handling qualities and Digital Flight Controls Systems testing. This flight reinforced an area that I think has been underappreciated: the effect that changes in stick force gradient, command gain, and time delay can have on handling qualities and PIO. It is tough to demonstrate in a fixed-base simulator, so having real-world motions in AHQA makes a huge difference. We have ample flight evidence of high control sensitivity, set in simulation, contributing to PIO in flight — YF-16 ‘Flight Zero’ and early C-17 flight tests come to mind — and having the ability to demonstrate that effect in flight — with added time delay in the mix — is an excellent capability.”

Dave Mitchell and Cyril Gennari with Adaptive Handling Qualities Aircraft AHQA at ITPS
Adaptive Handling Qualities Aircraft at ITPS with instructor and student