7Flying Qualities: Subjective Assessment and Other Topics

The MDHC variable stability (fly‐by‐wire) Apache AV05 during a handling qualities evaluation over the Arizona desert (Photograph from the author's collection)

If test manoeuvres are too dangerous for a skilled test pilot to perform in a tightly controlled environment, it is unreasonable to expect the user to fly such manoeuvres in an unfamiliar, unfriendly environment in the fog of war.

(Key, 1993)

7.1 Introduction and Scope

While objective measurements and assessment are necessary for demonstrating compliance with quality standards, they are still not sufficient to ensure that a new helicopter will be safe in achieving its operational goals. Gaps in the criteria due to limited test data, and the drive to extend operations to new areas, continue to make it vital that additional piloted tests, with a subjective orientation, are conducted prior to certification. A further issue relates to the robustness of the criteria and an aircraft's flying qualities at higher levels of performance. The point has been made on several occasions that criteria in standards like ADS‐33 represent the minimum levels to ensure Level 1 in normal operation. A good design will do better than just meet the objective Level 1 requirements, and the absence of upper limits on most of the handling parameters means that there is practically no guidance ...

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