FAB presents innovative in-flight testing technique at international symposium

The highlight of the symposium was the presentation New Flight Test Techniques for Helicopter

Air Force Agency – By DCTA, Aspirante Alessandra Borges and Captain Alcoforado

On February 27th, the Society of Experimental Test Pilots (SETP) awarded the new test techniques for Helicopter Flight Refueling presented at the 14th Annual Southeast Section SETP Symposium by Captain Luís Gustavo Leandro de Paula, an engineer from the Flight Research and Test Institute (IPEV) of the Department of Aerospace Science and Technology (DCTA), located in São José dos Campos (SP). The IPEV is the main responsible for applied research, development and innovation related to the Brazilian Air Force means.

The greatest highlight of the symposium was the presentation New Flight Test Techniques for Helicopter Air to Air Refueling (HAAR) or New Test Techniques for Helicopter In-flight Refueling, presented by Engineer Captain Luís, who highlighted the differences and challenges of the helicopter in-flight refueling procedure compared to the one performed by fixed-wing type receivers. In addition, the operational advantages of this procedure were presented.

Captain Luis was awarded the Symposium Best Presentation Award, which was received by SETP Vice President Andrew McFarland on behalf of the author, as the event was held online.

The author has an engineering degree from Instituto Tecnológico de Aeronáutica (ITA) and continued his education at IPEV, specializing in flight test engineering of rotary wing aircraft. The institutes make up the DCTA complex, located in São José dos Campos, the major responsible for applied research, development, and innovation related to the means of the Brazilian Air Force.

Among the techniques developed, the highlights were the test planning based on power margin, which made it possible to safely maximize the flight envelope to be certified, and the use of statistical tools to determine the pilots’ workload during refueling tasks. The award consecrates, with international recognition, the recent technological innovations that have been developed by the DCTA institutes, such as the installation of sensors in the helicopter’s blades, with data transmission in real time. This type of technique had to be developed at IPEV to increase flight safety and the efficiency of test flights and future operational capabilities, also aiming at saving means, since fewer flights were needed to achieve the Operation’s objectives.

As a hotbed of innovation, IPEV has continuously developed State of the Art technologies, and this one, specifically, is a key step to make possible an unprecedented achievement in aviation: the refueling of helicopters by jet aircraft like the KC-390 Millennium, ensuring military advantage for FAB.

Center of Excellence in Technology and Innovation

IPEV has been recognized internationally for its innovation capacity. The institution has a long history of collaboration with test flight agencies from several countries, which has allowed for knowledge exchange and bilateral activities (cooperation with friendly air forces), as well as participation in international symposiums, and the Institute has been widely awarded by its military, emphasizing their technical excellence for FAB and Brazil as a whole.

The IPEV was awarded with prizes and international recognition in other opportunities, with highlight to

  1. Recognition for being one of the very few test flight schools in the world (currently there are only eight that meet the SETP prerequisites);
  2. Book of the Month Award (May 2022) from the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) to Major Engineer Joaquim Neto Dias, for his work entitled Active Spanwise Lift Control: A Distributed Parameter Approach;
  3. Best Paper Award in the Technical Papers class of the 49th SFTE Symposium, with the paper entitled Presentation of the Optical Trajectography System for Flight Test Operations, conducted in 2018 by Dr. Nelson Paiva Oliveira Leite;
  4. Best Scientific Paper Award in the Simulation Development and Applications Section of the 48th SFTE Symposium, with the paper entitled Identification of Aerodynamic Model of a Turboprop Trainer for the IPEV Flight Test Simulator, carried out in 2017 and received by Major Engineer Bruno Giordano;
  5. Best paper award at the AIAA Conference on Atmospheric Flight Mechanics (SCITECH 2015), with the paper entitled High Angle of Attack Model Identification with Compressibility Effects, performed in 2015 by First Lieutenant Joaquim Neto Dias; and
  6. Best Scientific Paper Award at the 44th SFTE Symposium, with the paper entitled Identification of High Angle of Attack Aerodynamic Model Using Flight Data from Spin Tests, conducted in 2013 by First Lieutenant Joaquim Neto Dias.

Photos: Captain Luis / IPEV

By admin