Software and system development of a smartphone-based flight-tracking device to enhance flight instruction
AdvisorSteck, James E.
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The research conducted and described herein revolves around the development and flight testing of a smartphone application, which can serve as an affordable flight monitoring and recording device for individual flight instructors and flight schools. A detailed analysis of device components, a feasibility study, and preliminary testing found the Apple iPhone capable of collecting and transmitting pertinent flight data in real time. In its initial form, the application gathers and records flight data for review and debriefing. Further development has enabled flight instructors to conduct remote supervision, from the ground, of solo students while they are flying an aircraft. The flight instructor is able to observe the real-time performance of the student via a telemetric data feed and provide accurate feedback both during the flight and during the postflight debriefing. The system consists of a transmitting smartphone onboard an aircraft and a computer on the ground. Using the received data, a flight simulator provides visual feedback to the flight instructor, such as an animated inside view of the cockpit. A comprehensive series of evaluation tests was conducted with several test pilots on the ground and during various operations and flight regimes, including taxiing, low level traffic pattern operations, performance turns, cross-country flights, and instrument approaches. Results were used to investigate the performance limits of the iPhone in combination with CFiTrack, an iPad/iPhone universal application that integrates multiple data sources in order to report flight and navigation data wirelessly and in real time, and found the application sufficiently accurate to aid in beginner level flight training.
Thesis (M.S.)--Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering