Agile's current customer projects are proprietary, but our innovative design approach is applied across all projects.
In order to accelerate the design cycle of integrated vehicles, a parameterized design approach resting on a proven foundation of validated concepts is critical. Computer simulation has become an invaluable tool in many fields, including aerospace design. However, indivudal designs often present their own unique challenges in computer simulation. These challenges can take years to identify, let alone address, which leads to frequent and massive redesign. At Agile Aero we strongly believe in the power of computer simulation, but we have chosen to adopt particular design foundations that inherently lend themselves to reliable computer simulation and to a highly paramterized design approach. In this way computer simulation reliability and speed is inhanced with every design.
Despite the power of computer simulation, there is no replacement for physical testing with scale gliders, RC models and wind tunnel models. We have adopted the latest in rapid prototyping technologies to accurately and quickly build flyable scale models, which further enhances our capabilities in rapid design evaluation.
Agile Aero has also been building demonstration hardware of a generic hydraulic flight control system. As part of the overall parametric design approach, this system is being developed so that it can be applied to many flight vehicles with only minor scaling changes. Traditionally control systems are unique to each vehicle. In its simplest form, such as for a Bell X-1 type supersonic vehicle, the cable routing and bellcranks are designed for high strength and stiffness for flutter resistance during transonic flight. The system of push-pull tubes, torque tubes, cables, and bell cranks require considerable design effort and must be redesigned for each vehicle design as the routing and supports are unique to each platform. More modern control systems utilize fly-by-wire where the control surfaces are computer controlled. These systems solve the challenges of complex mechanical design in the control system, but offer their own challenges of intricate programming that must be tediously verified and validated for each new vehicle design.
Agile's technology is to maintain the simplicity of manual controls, but to use hydraulic hard line links instead of cables, tubes, and bell cranks to eliminate the time consuming vehicle specific designs associated with such systems. Additionally, the hydraulic system is designed to minimize control surface flutter during transonic and supersonic flight and to prevent the flutter from being transmitted back to the stick.
If boost is needed to apply forces greater than the pilot can provide, Agile has devised flexible methods of power assist that are more efficient than traditional powered hydraulics. This allows the generic system to scale to larger vehicles that need higher control forces and still avoids the need to develop computer controls that require lengthy tuning and validation procedures. However, if the customer desires the more capable fly-by-wire systems, Agile Aero can accommodate that contribution to vehicle performance.
Hydraulic control surface demo rig supporting weight without transferring the force back into the stick.