Clothoid-Augmented Trajectories for Perspective Flight-Path Displays

This article describes the design rationale and the results of an experimental evaluation of clothoid-augmented tunnel trajectories for perspective flight-path displays. The current practice of defining the tunnel reference trajectory as a concatenation of straight and circular segments leads to difficult transition maneuvers between these segments, strongly contributing to pilot workload. Clothoid transition paths can be inserted between the straight and circular sections to achieve a smooth interception. A clothoid function defines a trajectory curvature that changes from 0 (a straight trajectory) to the desired curvature (the circular trajectory) in a certain amount of space traveled. Because the reference path better matches the natural aircraft response, the clothoid transients are hypothesized to make the task of flying complex curved approaches easier. A pilot-in-the-loop experiment was conducted in a fixed-base flight simulator to test this hypothesis. Findings indicate that inserting clothoid transitions between straight and circular segments of the trajectory eases the task of flying complex curved approaches with a perspective flight-path display. Clothoid-augmented trajectories provide a continuous change in curvature and better match the average aircraft response, yielding better flight-path tracking performance, requiring less pilot control activity and resulting in higher levels of comfort. However, the clothoids did not decrease pilot workload.

  • Availability:
  • Authors:
    • Brandse, J
    • Mulder, M
    • Van Paassen, M M
  • Publication Date: 2007


  • English

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  • Accession Number: 01044744
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS
  • Created Date: Mar 25 2007 5:03PM