A New Approach for the Validation of Potential Pilot Gain Measures

The term “pilot gain” essentially describes the way the pilot acts on the inceptor during flight. It is a key aspect of handling qualities research and related flight tests. Most test organizations have their famous high- and low-gain pilots and the term “pilot gain” is understood very well on an intuitive level. In spite of its importance for handling qualities flight test, however, there is no generally accepted verbal or mathematical definition of “pilot gain”. This paper summarizes an approach for the validation of multiple potential pilot gain measures in the time and frequency domain based on pilot models and the associated results. The validation is based on data from a simulator study which was performed with 12 experimental test pilots and 12 operational pilots who varied their pilot gain / aggressiveness on command during a closed-loop tracking task. The approach is based on the idea that the validity of a potential pilot gain measure is based on its ability to reflect the pilot gain the pilots intended to apply during the tests and its ability to identify known outliers.