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Identification of an Aircraft Passenger Comfort Index


Objectives and content
In terms of general performance, air transport technology
is very advanced. Due to the increased use within the
typical distances and area of the European Community, not
only environmental impact, [A1], but also the Internal,
particularly Vibro-Acoustic, Comfort has to be considered
in the design process. Being already a standard approach
in cars, "design to noise" has been at last more and more
accepted in aeronautics.
In the efforts aimed at improving the interior comfort of
aircraft or other means of transport, the attention is
recently moved towards active, from the usual passive
systems. These methods appear as complementary rather
than alternative, both showing qualities and faults. It
is to their application credit that certain aspects of
the thematic have been deepened, and some unexpected
results have been pointed out. The link between noise
and vibration level appeared ruled by complex
relationships, and the results following the application
of pure noise abatement systems, were surprising, [C1-2]:
people interviewed, stated to prefer high noise instead
of low sound but high vibration levels. By lowering
interior noise level, then, comfort was decreased.
Really to assume that the passenger welfare inside the
aircraft is a complex function of both noise and
vibrations, apart of other surrounding characteristics is
almost trivial. As well to imagine that the design
objective is to improve the comfort and not to suppress
the noise seems obvious. Because comfort is a subjective
matter, psychological studies play a fundamental role.
The target of this basic research project is to define a
general Subjective Comfort Index for commercial aircraft.
The objective will be reached by developing a "Virtual
Passenger", defined on the basis of an Artificial Neural
Network, that will simulate the Transfer Function between
the external stimuli (physical variables) and the generic
passenger response (subjective impression). Both
acoustic and vibration data will be taken into account.
The main steps of the research may be resumed as follows:
A psychoacoustic study will be carried out to develop a
tool that allows translating the environmental
solicitation in subjective impressions. Suitable
descriptors will be identified.
Experimental investigations both at ground and in
flight will be performed, to produce a wide database,
fundamental for statistical investigations. Different
helicopter and aeroplane test articles will be used.
The architecture of the ANN will be defined. The
network will be trained and assessed on available
experimental data. The Net performance will be
preliminary evaluated. The Virtual Passenger will be
ANN will finally predict comfort levels on both
experimental and numerical data, from FEM models of the
aircraft at disposal. The physic parameters that mainly
affect the passengers' welfare during the flight. Will
be identified through a sensitivity analysis, in the
respect of the "design to comfort" concept. Having the
target of relating the physical and the modelled
environment to the human response, psychoacoustic
studies. Numerical applications, experimental results
and ANN definition shall be dependent the one on the
other. The most important benefits are expected:
A "design to comfort tool will be addressed, able to
provide the necessary information in order to improve
aircraft characteristics according to customers'
necessities and taste.
A global index, concerning both vibration and acoustics
will be issued, so that the aircraft will be classified
in terms of comfort as well as autonomy, take-off
distance, etc.
The public opinion demand will be met, so qualifying
the European aircraft companies to commercial airlines an
(l their customers).
Specifications for active or passive noise suppression
systems will be improved; having been the final target
more effectively identified.
The European Union will take advantage of the
technology transfer by advancing the less technically
evolved regions. Enabling the European industries to
apply the results of this project to the design process
of aircraft and as fall out. Other means of transport
(cars, trains, ships, etc.). European SME's are expected
to perform the necessary additional research for
expanding the outcome of this project to other fields.
Industrial sectors will improve their competitiveness
compared to overseas manufacturers. By providing more
qualified and advanced products. All these aspects will
generate a boost for the European companies. That makes
strategic this project.

Funding Scheme

CSC - Cost-sharing contracts


Centro Italiano Ricerche AerospazialiScpA
Via Maiorise
81043 Napoli - Capua

Participants (6)

Alenia Aerospazio - Un' Azienda Finmeccanica SpA
Viale Dell'aeronautica 1
80038 Pomigliano D'arco
Carl Von Ossietzky Universität Oldenburg
35012,Carl Von Ossietzky Strasse
26100 Oldenburg
Dornier GmbH
31,An Der Bundesstrasse
88039 Friedrichshafen
Office National d'Etudes et de Recherches Aérospatiales
2,Avenue Edouard Belin
31055 Toulouse
2,Anthony Fokkerweg 13
1059 CM Amsterdam
University of Patras

26500 Patras