Correct and reliable information on flight altitude, stability, attitude and course of the aircraft is absolutely essential for pilots. Therefore, flight instruments display fundamental air data, like
In addition, systems provide pilots with automatic warnings, for example to prevent the loss of aerodynamic lift (stall warning). To date, sensors like so-called Pitot tubes (pressure sensors), stall warning vanes or thermometers, which are mounted on the aircraft body shell, are used to provide this data.
Scientists and engineers at the Institute of Technical Physics examine whether laser-based optical sensor systems are able to support or even replace conventional air data sensor systems and might even perform better regarding reliability and precision.
The focus lies on investigating spectroscopic techniques with a significantly reduced influence of the aircraft body on the air flow (non-intrusive measurement). The main advantage is their lateral orientation. Hence, a risk reduction of icing and contamination can be performed.
The work also includes the development and evaluation of aeronautic-compatible laser and detector systems for flight applications, based on temperature and pressure sensitive absorption spectroscopy as well as laser-based Doppler anemometry.