In the case of an aircraft system failure such as control surface or engine failure, an aircraft’s flight envelope may change. Notifying the pilots of these changes may improve situational awareness and, hence, increase flight safety because pilots will have additional knowledge about maneuver limitations to stay safely within the flight envelope. Also, notifying the pilots of where the vehicle is relative to maneuver limitations may further increase safety by assuring pilot’s knowledge of the aircraft state.

This innovation shows changes in the aircraft’s flight envelope and the aircraft’s current position in the flight envelope. It displays bank angle, vertical velocity, and airspeed limits to the pilot, and displays where the vehicle is relative to these limits. The particular variables might be situation-dependent, but will be displayed in the same manner. Available bank angle, vertical velocity, and airspeed safe maneuver limits (or other aircraft situation-specific state variables) are displayed with changes in these limits due to failures indicated by a color change in the number. A wedge fills in according to the percentage used. The wedge color of the limited variable also assumes the same color as the number indicating the new limits. If 100% or more of the available limit is used for a specific maneuver, the alphabetic text changes color. The display does not limit maneuver capabilities — it merely displays them.

This work was done by Anna Trujillo of Langley Research Center. NASA is seeking partners to further develop this technology through joint cooperative research and development. For more information about this technology and to explore opportunities, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. LAR-18191-1

NASA Tech Briefs Magazine

This article first appeared in the November, 2016 issue of NASA Tech Briefs Magazine.

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