The design of a new aircraft as well as the modification of existing types requires comprehensive numerical and experimental studies. The results of the design process and thus the definitive quality of the product will be verified during flight tests for certification. Extrapolating data obtained in the wind tunnel or at low Reynolds number simulations to real flight is not trivial and primarily based on engineering experience, sometimes exhibiting considerable deviations from the predictions. In terms of measurement techniques non-intrusive optical image based methods have undergone considerable technological progress during the past decade. These techniques shall be further developed such that they can be routinely applied to flight tests to provide comprehensive planar information on various important parameters such as wing and propeller deformation, thermal loads on the structure of helicopters, the planar pressure distribution on a wing, density gradients of strong vortices generated by airplanes and helicopters and velocity flow fields near airplanes and helicopters.
The main emphasis will be on development of methods requiring little or no modifications to existing aircraft. The development will be done by progressive stages, from initial tests with g round based instrumentation, to in-flight feasibility studies and final validation tests of the most promising measurement techniques on a large transport aircraft, a helicopter and a light aircraft. The AIM partnership comprises the flight testing departments of five industrial partners which manufacture transport airplanes, helicopters and light airplanes, three research organizations with expertise in advanced measurement techniques and flight testing and two partners from universities with expertise in measurement techniques (one of them from a NIS country and the other with knowledge on flight testing), and a small enterprise operating an airport which is frequently used for flight testing.
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