Flight tests of new or modified aircraft are a necessary part of the design process and provide the final validation of the full scale aircraft design. Flight testing for certification is a critical phase as all trials proving compliance with specifications and regulations must be completed in the shortest possible time, while maintaining high quality standards in the certification process. Usually a heavy instrumentation is installed to validate the predicted behaviour of the aircraft and also to detect unforeseen problems so that, if necessary, fast modifications can be done.
Optical measurement techniques can minimize the installation effort and reduce the testing time as they are able to capture a huge amount of parameters within a short time.
The preceding project AIM (Advanced In-flight Measurement Techniques) proved the principal feasibility to apply modern optical measurement techniques as being used in industrial wind tunnels to flight testing.
The follow-up project AIM² intends to further develop the measurement techniques IPCT (Image Pattern Correlation Technique), FBG (Fiber Bragg Grating), IRT (InfraRed Thermography), BOS (Background Oriented Schlieren Method), PIV (Particle Image Velocimetry) and LIDAR (Light Detection And Ranging) to be easily and routinely applied to in-flight testing with industrial demands. Thus, AIM² focuses on developing reliable and easy to use dedicated measurement systems and on defining design and application rules for these new in-flight measurement techniques. The prime objective is to enable aerospace industries to use such mobile measurement systems in future to reduce testing time and costs.
AIM² is structured in progressive steps starting with basic studies on challenges discovered in the preceding project leading to optimized measurement systems to be tested under research conditions and finally to be proven in an industrial environment. To do these steps in an effective way the partnership of AIM² will comprise four partners from aerospace industries, including one SME, three research organisations and three universities with expertise in optical measurement techniques, flight testing and training. The project is funded by the Seventh Framework Programme of the European Commission.