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  The eCFI - "electronic Certificated Flight Instructor"

The eCFI

NASA PAV sector research has shown that today's electronic technology allows aircraft to be intelligent vehicles that are self-aware and capable of safely flying without a pilot. Through the PAV Challenge, NASA and CAFE seek to extend this pioneering work into enhanced safety and ease of use for general aviation. Because of the exemplary safety record of student pilot flights with human Certificated Flight Instructors (CFI) aboard, the goal will be to attempt to create an electronic CFI for PAVs that lowers the pilot's workload. Future PAV Challenge competitions will give extra credit for PAVs with these capabilities.


eCFI Flowchart.
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To assist PAV Challenge teams to implement such technologies, an eCFI network of experts in the field of intelligent flight deck, sensor and controls has formed and is now exchanging design ideas over the Internet. The diagram below shows a simple model of how an eCFI system might link a PAV's control system, avionics system and engine controls to assist the pilot.



Human-Vehicle Interface: The "eCFI"

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# Title Author Year Description Size
1 Flight Test Evaluation of a Separate Surface Attitude Command Control System on a Beech 89 Airplane Shu W. Gee et al 1976 A Dryden study of low-cost fly-by-wire using split control surfaces that retain mechanical connection to the autopilot. 1.6MB
2 GPS-aided MEMS Inertial System Crossbow Engineering Spec Sheet 2007 The specification sheet for CrossBow's leading digital gyro/gps component for eCFIs. 160KB
3 Guidance and Control of an Autonomous Soaring UAV Michael J. Allen 2007 An 14 foot span electric UAV sailplane uses total energy sensing to detect and use thermals via its autopilot. 7.2MB
4 Aviation Safety Program--Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck--Technical Plan Summary Steven D. Young et al 2006 The Naturalistic Flight Deck (NFD) project summary from NASA Langley. Ken Goodrich's NFD is the model from which all eCFI designers should draw. A key component of making PAVs useful. 6.3MB
5 Small Aircraft Pilot Assistant: On Board Decision Support System For SATS Aircraft Jie Yong et al 2005 Distributed pilot decision-making plays a critical role in high volume operations at noncontrolled 1.4MB
6 Terrain Sampling Density, Texture, and Shading Requirements for SVIS --Final Report to the Iowa Space Grant Consortium Tom Schnell et al 2002 An excellent 50 page paper on low-cost synthetic vision hardware and software developed under a NASA grant at University of Iowa. The origins of the Synthetic Flight Bag product. 1.9MB
7 The Naturalistic Flight Deck System: An
Integrated System Concept for Improved
Single-Pilot Operations
Paul C. Schutte et al 2007 Recent paper from NASA Langley Resarch Center 850 KB
8 Angle of Attack for GA Aircraft Control Shu W. Gee et al 1971 Using AOA to servo control GA aircraft 1.1MB
9 Advanced GA Aircraft Control Paul C. Loschke et al 1974 Advanced servo control for GA aircraft 1.6MB
10 Come Fly With Me - The eCFI Brien A. Seeley M.D. 2007 By telling a story about how a PAV's advanced flight deck saves lives, the future role of the eCFI is depicted. 376KB
11 The eCFI Part 2 Brien A. Seeley M.D. 2007 Dr. Seeley presents NASA's model of eCFI sensors and actuators and how they help pilots fly safely 340KB
12 The eCFI Part 3 Brien A. Seeley M.D. 2007 The series concludes with photos and descriptions of actual hardware, linkages and parts suppliers 296KB






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