AN INSTRUMENTATION CONTROL SYSTEM THAT UTILIZES AN AVIONICS PILOT DISPLAY INTERFACE
AffiliationThe Boeing Company
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AbstractFlight Test instrumentation control units have traditionally been low-technology units with mechanical switches, readouts, and perhaps an RS232 interface. As the complexity of Flight Test Instrumentation systems and operational requirements increase, and as cockpit space becomes scarce, these control units are no longer sufficient. These control units need to provide capabilities commensurate with the complexity of the instrumentation systems they control. This paper describes an instrumentation control system that uses a Boeing Integrated Defense Systems (IDS) Flight Test Instrumentation designed Instrumentation Control Unit (ICU). The ICU communicates with the avionics system to allow pilot control via existing aircraft displays. By taking advantage of a relatively simple protocol to interface with the avionics system, the substantial cost of reprogramming the avionics software is avoided, and software control is shifted to the Flight Test group, thus allowing a tremendous increase in system flexibility at reasonable cost. Functions of the unit can be changed relatively quickly and inexpensively. This promises a wide range of future applications, such as in-flight monitoring of flight-critical instrumentation parameters by the pilot, control of the instrumentation system via uplink (with pilot override), and real-time in-flight selection of telemetered data streams and parameters. This paper describes the baseline instrumentation control system and requirements to be used on the EA-18G Flight Test Program, plus additional future capabilities.
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