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GENERAL AVIATION FLIGHT LAB

About Us

The GAFL comprises a team of faculty and graduate/undergraduate students focused on research in adaptive flight control systems. Most graduate research assistants (GRAs) at the GAFL are majoring in Aerospace Engineering with a specialization in controls. Undergraduate student assistants assist GRAs with conducting research work and participating in research experiments, such as simulated flight testing and prototyping of small-scale test aircraft.

Our Facilities

The GAFL is located on the second floor of Beggs Hall (formerly known as the Engineering Research Building), in room ERB212. This office doubles as a reseach environment for our graduate students, and houses an immersive, full-scale panoramic flight simulator. Each individual workstation is equipped with powerful computing equipment and large-screen monitors.

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A secondary lab, known as the Undergraduate Flight Simulation Lab (or coloquially "The Loft"), is located on the second floor of the Supersonic Wind Tunnel, at WH148. In addition to a panoramic flight simulator, this lab also houses six flight simulation workstations. These workstations are used for undergraduate instruction in stability & controls courses, as well as in the capstone senior design courses.

 

For directions to our facilities, please click here.

Our Research

Areas of research that draw our attention include:

  • Adaptive, neural network-based control systems for general aviation aircraft
  • Control systems resilient to loss of control effectivity and adverse weather
  • Unconventional "futuristic" aircraft control techniques
  • Simulated flight testing through small-scale R/C aircraft and full-scale flight simulators
  • Real-world flight testing of adaptive control algorithms
Industry Support

We work synergistically with Beechcraft Corporation in evaluating real-world performance of our flight control algorithms. These flight tests are performed periodically on the Beechcraft CJ-144 fly-by-wire testbed. Together with Cessna Aircraft Company, we've also begun implementation of neural network-based controllers on small-scale radio-controlled aircraft; these aircraft would eventually be used to evaluate and estimate performance of their full-size counterparts.

We are also provided financial support by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), and work closely with them to explore new and uncharted research areas.