The primary objectives of the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center’s F-15B Advanced Controls Technology for Integrated Vehicles (ACTIVE) project were to develop and demonstrate by flight and ground tests, advanced engine and aircraft flight control technologies that would significantly enhance the engine/aircraft operational characteristics for the next generation of High Performance applications. This project leveraged technology developed and proven in HIDEC and Performance Seeking Control (PSC) projects.
Demonstration of aircraft and engine performance was a primary goal of the ACTIVE project. Well-established standard maneuvers exist by which conventional aircraft performance may be measured in-flight. Procedures to quantify aircraft performance with vectoring nozzles usually assume that the nozzle control is integrated with the flight controls. However, because the ACTIVE Pitch/Yaw Balance Beam Nozzle (P/YBBN) is not part of the inner-loop flight controls, tests were limited to quasi-steady-state maneuvering. Tests were directed at demonstrating how the P/Y BBN improves aircraft steady-state maneuvering performance, and document the nozzle effects on engine performance. In addition, the performance results served as a benchmark for comparison with the ADAPT research.
Flight demonstration of a generic measurement-based performance optimization algorithm was another primary objectives of the ACTIVE project. AdAPT, Adaptive Aircraft Performance Technology, optimized aircraft and engine controls to maximize a performance index such as specific excess power or range factor. Testing of the AdAPT algorithm was designed to demonstrate the adaptive or generic quality of the algorithm, providing evidence that the algorithm can be taken in-total and applied to different aircraft or entirely different class of aircraft.
Another major goal of the ACTIVE project was the successful flight demonstration of the Pratt & Whitney pitch-yaw balance beam nozzles (PYBBN) which will be installed on F100-PW-229 engines. This flight test phase was performed at the beginning of the ACTIVE flight project and was used to identify and correct any operational deficiencies discovered with the nozzle systems. The ACTIVE aircraft was originally built as the prototype F-15B (Serial #71-0290).