MUNICH / MANCHING, Germany --- The latest-generation combat aircraft Eurofighter Typhoon is known as the most agile fighter now on the market. The aircraft is praised for these qualities by all military experts who have flown it, including the chief of staff of the USAF.
One of the key features of the Eurofighter t aircraft is the quadruplex fly-by-wire Flight Control System (FCS), which provides the aircraft its outstanding manoeuverability. FCS is also an important prerequisite for the Eurofighter’s unique carefree handling qualities, enabling the pilot to concentrate on his mission rather than on basic airwork.
With the first flights of GS002, the first flown production single-seater for the German Air Force, a new and important feature of the overall carefree handling functionalities was flight-tested at the EADS Military Aircraft Flight Test Center at Manching in late October 2004: the Automatic Low-Speed Recovery system (ALSR).
ALSR prevents the Eurofighter aircraft from departing from controlled flight at very low speeds and high angles of attack. To achieve this, the ALSR, being an element of the overall FCS system, is able to detect a developing low-speed situation and to raise an audible and visual low-speed warning. Thus, the pilot will have sufficient time to react and to recover the aircraft manually. If the pilot doesn´t react or ignores the warning, the ALSR will actively take control of the aircraft, select maximum dry power for the engines and return the aircraft to a safe flight condition depending on the attitude by either using an ALSR “push”, “pull” or a “knife-over” manoeuvre.
The first pilot ever who fully exploited the ALSR capabilities in flight, doing this on Eurofighter production aircraft GS002, was EADS test pilot Karl-Heinz Mai, who described his experience with the new system: “It worked tremendously well – ALSR is a real confidence-maker in the low-speed area of the carefree handling envelope. I’m convinced this is one of the most impressive features of this aircraft !”
“After making a cautious approach to a few low-speed recovery corner points, I’ve gained confidence in the system so rapidly that I was able to enter the extreme low-speed recovery set-up with 70 degrees nose-up attitude and power idle without any hesitation”, said Mai. “The system then worked as described - without any pilot action. Impressive !”
Mai congratulated in particular the FCS engineers, who work in an area where EADS has overall design responsibility. He also praised both the ground- and flight test teams as well as the qualification and certification staff, who had made the ALSR and its proof of functionality for the production flight acceptance test of the single-seater aircraft such an overwhelming success.
In the Military Aircraft Business Unit, which is an integrated part of the EADS Defence and Security Systems Division (DS), all the EADS capabilities in the areas of high-performance combat aircraft, unmanned combat air vehicles (UCAVs), manned mission and training aircraft and the ground support equipment for these systems are concentrated.
With revenues of approx. EUR 5.2 billion in 2003 and roughly 24,000 employees across nine nations, DS forms the defence pole within EADS. It offers integrated systems solutions to the new challenges confronting armed forces and homeland security units. It is active in the areas of military aircraft, missile systems, Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance (ISR) systems with manned and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), battlefield management systems, defence electronics, sensors and avionics, and related services.
EADS is a global leader in aerospace, defence and related services. In 2003, the Group generated revenues of EUR 30 billion and employed a workforce of more than 109,000.