Arizona State University


Advanced Helicopter Electromagnetics Laboratory | Comments

In modern aircraft, flight controls that once were operated manually via cables and hydraulics are increasingly being replaced by digital electronics. Because of weight and maintanance advantages over conventional hydraulic controls, future commercial aircraft are envisioned as "all-electronic." Some aircraft, notably the F-117A Stealth Fighter, are designed near the edge of aerodynamic stability and even depend on computer-assisted controls to stay in the air. In this world of digital fly-by-wire (or light) avionics, computerized controls, smart actuators, and other "black boxes", the potential susceptability of flight-critical systems to external radio frequency interference is a real concern.

It would be expensive, dangerous, and nearly impossible to test all of the flight control systems on all classes of aircraft under all likely electromagnetic environments. Instead, computational and experimental methods are being developed to assess the effects of electromagnetic interference on aircraft electronics. If the electromagnetic environment local (inside the aircraft) to a flight-critical component can be calculated numerically given the frequency, intensity, and incidence angle of an illumination, then that component can be tested for upsets under the same stress in the laboratory.

The interactions of the HIRF fields with the aircraft can be visualized as color-coded contours, as in this figure. The warmer colors indicate higher field intensities, while cooler colors represent lower field intensities.

The goal of NASA's HIRF program is to develop the techniques and methods for assessing the effects of High Intensity Radiated Fields (HIRF) on the survivability of commercial aircraft. The Telecommunications Research Center is participating in the validation phase of this HIRF project. Using the NEWS code, we are attempting to model and predict the EM fields, at particular locations within a Boeing 757-200, that have penetrated into the fuselage from an external source.

[ Summary | Research Activities | Electromagnetic Computational Methods and Computer Codes | X-Window Interfaces | Composite Materials | Cosite Interference | Rotor Modulation | Lightning Effects on Aircraft | Ground Effects | Antenna Technology | Conferences/Meetings | AHE Research Team ]

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