Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS

Steering aircraft safety in the right direction

An EU-funded project designed prototypes proving the feasibility of an electrically driven steering system for aircraft nose-landing gear. Despite not being optimised yet, project outcomes provided a solid base for future technological development.
Steering aircraft safety in the right direction
The 'Distributed and redundant electro-mechanical nose wheel steering system' (DRESS) project developed a steering system prototype that significantly improves reliability and safety by providing aircraft with true, all-weather operational capabilities. The team of actors, hailing from across the European aeronautics industry, first defined technical specifications for the new, electrically actuated system, with identified criteria being based, among others, on performance, safety, reliability, operability and environmental conditions.

Two prototypes of the actuator mechanical transmission were designed and assembled following various studies and modelling, simulation and validation activities. One of these was put forward for testing, and a series of tests were performed using a bench that was designed and manufactured specifically for the purposes of the project. The bench included dummy landing gear with certain adaptable parameters.

To assess steering performance, DRESS partners conducted ground manoeuvrability studies at aircraft level with focus on ensuring consistency between physical tests and simulations. Compared to the current hydraulic system, the DRESS electromechanical steering showed a number of advantages in terms of operability, maintenance, flexibility and power consumption. However, further development is needed to overcome various drawbacks that were identified.

The practical outcomes of the DRESS project added valuable knowledge to the research in this area and set the stage for future development of a viable and safer steering system.

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