3322. Weight and Balance Considerations for Flight Test Aircraft On


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Darrin McCloud: 3322. Weight and Balance Considerations for Flight Test Aircraft On. 2004.



Weight and balance concerns are critically important during the flight testing stage of any aircraft. Many problems encountered during flight testing can be traced back to design requirements concerning aircraft mass properties and weighing. Due to the challenges associated with preliminary aircraft design schedules and practices, many of these requirements are overlooked. There are many unique concerns and requirements that need to be addressed before the test aircraft configuration is finalized. These issues range from weighing difficulties associated with unique test aircraft configurations to the inability to fly required flight profiles. One common mistake involves trying to install too much test equipment on one aircraft, which can result in the previously stated problems. If the test aircraft has sufficiently different mass properties from the production aircraft, it is also possible that the data collected is not truly representative of the production aircraft. Another difficulty concerns inaccurate mass properties, which can lead to issues ranging from invalid data to the possibility of the loss of aircraft and life. Not recognizing these problems and test requirements at an early stage of the program can lead to costly and time consuming fixes at a later date. This paper will concentrate mainly on topics concerning mass properties and aircraft weighing that may be encountered while flight testing small and medium sized 14 CFR (previously FAR) Part 25 aircraft.


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