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June 9, 2010 - Rolling Hills Research Corporation and the Board of Trustees of the University of Illinois have been selected by NASA for a $600,000 Phase II Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) contract. 


NASA selected a total of 18 STTR research proposals for Phase II funding from small high technology firms in 12 states, for a total of approximately $11 million.  NASA's Office of the Chief Technologist, through its Innovative Partnerships Program, has oversight of the STTR program as part of its focus on emerging technologies and efforts to advance technological innovation for agency purposes. NASA partners with U.S. industry to infuse innovative technologies that result from the STTR program into agency missions and help transition technologies into commercially available products and services for other markets.


The proposed innovation is an aircraft flight envelope monitoring system that will provide real-time in-cockpit estimations of aircraft flight envelope boundaries, performance, and controllability. The adaptable monitoring system will provide information on current and predicted aircraft performance and controllability, alerting the pilot to any aerodynamic degradation of the control effectiveness. This includes high angle-of-attack, heavy rain, in-flight icing encounters, environmental contamination of surfaces, and structural or battle damage. The real-time monitoring system measures the time-averaged and RMS control surface hinge moment from all aircraft aerodynamic controls. Control surface hinge moment is sensitive to the aerodynamic characteristics of the flying surface, including separation. These data are processed and information on the current and predicted future state of aircraft control (including asymmetric cases) is made available to the pilot or flight management system. As opposed to other single-point monitoring systems, the proposed system has the distinct advantage that it functions by measuring the integrated effect over the entire control surface. The use of real-time control surface hinge moment monitoring is an innovative and robust concept for predicting aircraft flight envelope boundaries and controllability.


Dr. Mike Kerho will be the Principal Investigator for this research program.




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