the learning never stops!

I am not an aeronautical engineer, I just fantasize about being one. (Yes, that is weird.) For most airplanes we can get by with a very limited understanding of aerodynamics ("houses bigger, houses smaller") but this airplane is different. The airplane will do things you aren't expecting if you get it into a part of the envelope it shouldn't be. So you need to have a better understanding of your stick and rudder.


Displayed Angle of Attack

Is "Normalized" any different than what we think of as AOA? Not really. To be technically accurate, AOA is expressed in degrees but that isn't really useful to us since the stall angle of attack changes with wing configuration. We think of AOA as from 0 to 1, where 1 is the maximum lift we can get out of the wing. That's normalized AOA in a nutshell.

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Photo: Normalized AOA Readout on PFD, Symmetry Guide, §2B-04-00, p. 38

Click photo for a larger image

[G500 Ground and Flight Operations, p. 95]

  • The displayed angle of attack (AOA) is used to show the pilot the current lift condition. This is influenced most strongly by Mach number, flap setting, and wing contamination (icing). The digital AOA display is "normalized" (referred to as NAOA) and shows positive numbers only between 0.00 and 1.10. Zero is the AOA which approximates zero lift on the aircraft and 1.00 is the maximum lift that was demonstrated to be usable during certification based on required stall margin and handling/controllability characteristics.

  • In the range from zero to one, the AOA, lift, and load factor are generally all proportional and should be thought of as essentially equivalent. In other words, the fraction (O to 1) of usable positive lift, AOA, and "g" are essentially the same.
  • I'm not sure about this as written. Perhaps: "The fraction (0 to 1) of usable positive lift, AOA, and available g are essentially the same." This becomes a useful tool. The lower your AOA is, the more energy you have available to maneuver. If you are flying at 0.33 AOA, for example, you are using 1/3 of your energy (in terms of lift) to fly but still have 2/3 left over (in terms of available g) to pull back on the stick or turn. If you are flying slower, say at 0.67 AOA, more of your energy is taken up with the task of just keeping in the air so you have less energy available to maneuver.

  • The available AOA at any given flight condition can be further limited by the AOA limiter, "g" limits, maximum control system deflections and malfunctions. Additional annunciations can also be present to include the shaker, Low Speed Awareness callouts, and increased buffet.

  • The NAOA range where these limits and annunciations occur are generally between 0.85 and 0.97, and at lower speeds where "g" limits are not rapidly approached. So, if the indicated NAOA is 0.40, then the wings are generating 40% of the usable lift, AOA, and g loading. Pulling to 0.80 AOA at constant speed would double the lift and g's.

  • The reason NAOA is displayed, rather than actual AOA, results from the dramatic reduction in available AOA in the high Mach regime -- due to shock induced flow separation on the wing, and the large change in actual AOA with flaps. The maximum achievable, non-normalized AOA values (in degrees) at high Mach and/ or high altitude can be approximately one third of those in the low Mach/low altitude regime. Thus, to give the pilots the most useful indication of AOA condition and stall margin, the NAOA indication was developed.

  • Normalized AOA is calculated real time based on air data, flaps, and icing status and is the following fraction:
  • AoACurrent - AoAZeroLift AoAMaximumLift - AoAZeroLift

    These AOA values are in units of degrees and you end up with a ratio that has no units.

  • For normal operations, final approach AOA is normally in the range of 0.60 to 0.66, depending on wind and gust additives, etc. Interestingly, these AOA values roughly represent the maximum endurance and maximum range AOA's also. While the official aircraft performance data and FMS calculations more accurate, the following is useful information.

  • For max endurance (e.g. holding or loitering), the aircraft should be flown at 0.66 AOA (allowing good maneuver and stall margin) at an altitude that has the best available combination of low temperature (good) and low Mach number (also good). This generally occurs around FL350.

  • For best cruise range, the same NAOA range is flown (0.60-0.66), but at the design condition of Mach 0.85 near the ceiling altitude, to 4,000 feet below the optimum ceiling as required by cruise altitude restrictions. If these altitudes are not available, choose the next highest possible flight level. At altitudes below FL350, good range can be achieved in the 220-280 KCAS range depending on weight (heavier implies fly faster).

  • Summary of NAOA Values of Interest:

    • 0.66 —Approximate NAOA for VREF

    • 0.75 — Pitch Limit Indicator (PLI) appears, PLI removed at 0.73 (hysteresis)
    • Hysteresis is a simply lag in the system.

    • 0.85 — Stick Shaker activates for all non-normal flight control laws (Alternate, Direct, Backup), No AOA limiting present in non-normal (Alternate, Direct, Backup) flight control laws, No Auto-Pilot available in non-normal laws

    • 0.88 -0.93 — AOA limiting begins in Normal Law, based on rate of increase in AOA , CYAN CAS message - FCC AOA LIMITING

    • 0.95 — Full-Aft Stick - Maximum AOA achievable in Normal Law with pure pitch input

    • 0.97 — Stick Shaker activation in Normal Law; Normally only seen when on aft limit and attempt a large roll input or sideslip

Low Speed Awareness / Auto-Throttle Speed Protection

The yellow band of the Low Speed Awareness (LSA) Thermometer is your friend. The top of this band indicates how slow you can go while still safely maneuvering the airplane. It is about 5 knots below VREF, so you ought to pad the top of that yellow band accordingly. Under normal conditions, the Auto-Throttles will take over if you get to 1 knot above the LSA airspeed.

[G500 Ground and Flight Operations, pp. 97 - 100]

    General

  • The G5OO has several integrated systems to assist pilots in operating the aircraft safely with respect to the various speed, AOA, and maneuvering (turn) limits. These systems assist in normal operations, as well as during abnormal and emergency conditions.

  • The integrated systems are the Fly-by-Wire (FBW) Flight Control System (FCS) with Active Control Sidesticks (ACS}, the Auto-flight system (flight director, autopilot, and Auto-Throttles), and the displays and Crew Alerting Systems (CAS). These systems provide a combination of visual, tactile, and aural (voice and tone) cues to the pilot.

  • The low-speed awareness (LSA) display is designed to detect and prevent low speed conditions arising from a wide variety of causes. These causes include environmental conditions, aircraft configuration, failure states, and human error. Examples include: turbulence, wing contaminants (such as ice, insects, or dirt), weight and balance miscalculations, FMS entry errors, and flight control surface anomalies. It is recommended that pilots adjust operations (e.g. approach speeds) to avoid low speed conditions based on all known relevant factors and then use the LSA indications to confirm that all factors have been adequately accounted for in setting the minimum speeds for flight.

  • The LSA system is displayed, and is always active, except when on the ground below 100 KCAS, or when failures occur. Inhibiting a LSA aural alert is only possible by inhibiting both tone generators (MAU 1 and MAU 2) on the Aural Inhibits TSC page. MAU tone generator inhibit also negates other aural alerts, not related to LSA activation, and this inhibit should not normally be used unless called for by a specific abnormal or emergency checklist.

  • NAOA FCC computation

  • Because the LSA system uses NAOA, it is important to understand that a value of 0.0 is equivalent to the zero lift AOA for the current flap position, and 1.0 is the stall reference AOA for the current flap position, anti-ice status, sideslip angle, Mach number, and speed brakes deployment angle. These values are not corrected for control surface deflection or roll rate. When flaps are up, the wing is assumed to have a "pre-activation" level of ice accretion unless the wing anti-ice is operating. This is significant in that the NAOA will be artificially elevated during cruise flight in non-icing conditions (i.e. assumes worst case that the wings have some degradation due to icing with the WAI off and flaps up). The wing is assumed to be free of ice if the flaps are deployed greater than zero degrees.

  • This will impact your approach and landing if you are landing Zero or Partial Flaps or have issues with the wing anti-ice system.


    images

    Photo: Low speed awareness thermometer, G500 Symmetry Guide, §2B-04-00, p. 42

    Click photo for a larger image

    Yellow Band Description (LSA caution speed)

  • The top of the yellow band indicates the minimum speed at which a 30 or 40-degree bank turn (at a constant flight path angle) can be maintained using full aft stick, while in AOA limiting mode (0.95 NAOA). A 40-degree bank turn is normally used -- a 30-degree bank is used at FL350 and above, or in special cases such as below 50 feet AGL, or during takeoff with an engine failure. The caution speed is calculated in the FCCs using smoothed values of current speed, load factor, and NAOA. The caution speed therefore changes with Mach number, sideslip angle, flap position, and anti-ice. The caution speed does not change significantly with load factor or AOA because these two effects generally cancel each other out. This results in a stable caution speed while maneuvering vertically or holding flight path angle during turns.

  • When the airspeed drops below the LSA caution speed (in the yellow band), the airspeed and AOA digits turn yellow and the HUD will display "AIRSPEED LOW" text with flashing airspeed and AOA indications. If the condition persists for more than 2 seconds or the airspeed drops more than 5 knots below the LSA caution speed, an "Airspeed Low!" voice prompt is initially repeated twice and then once every 5 seconds until the yellow region is exited.

  • Red Band Description (LSA warning speed)

  • The margin between current speed and the LSA red warning speed indicates proximity to stick shaker and, thereby, proximity to stall (accelerated stall with increased load factor). The red bar moves dynamically with the PLI and provides similar information. The PLI and the top of the red band will both be "touched" when the AOA reaches 0.97 and the stick shaker activates. The top of the red band estimates the stick shaker speed (.97 NAOA) at the current conditions if only airspeed and AOA were to be changed. In other words, if the load factor (think bank angle), Mach, sideslip, and configuration are held constant, what airspeed would require 0.97 AOA?

  • PLI Description

  • The PLI (Pitch Limit Indicator) provides a conformal, dynamic display of AOA margin to stick shaker (0.97 AOA). The angle between the FPM and the PLI is AOA margin in degrees. The PLI is shown on the PFDs, HUD, and standby displays when the AOA is 0.75 or greater. The HUD PLI additionally displays the AOA in digital form just above the PLI.

  • General LSA usage

  • Normal operations should be conducted at speeds above VREF and NAOA below 0.75. Flying within this envelope provides adequate margins for normal maneuvering during normal environmental conditions. Additional conservatism should be applied when environmental or other conditions warrant, e.g. flying above VREF in gusty winds. The full maneuvering performance capabilities of the aircraft should only be used when necessary to meet mission or unexpected requirements such as training, special missions, wake turbulence, windshear, terrain/traffic avoidance, etc. Under these circumstances, the aircraft is designed to allow the pilot to get maximum maneuvering capability as safely as practical. The systems are designed primarily to assist the pilot in maintaining aircraft control and maneuvering capability. They will generally NOT prevent unusual attitudes, structural damage/failure, or any type of intentional misuse. Good airmanship is always required to safely operate any aircraft.

  • Yellow Band use

  • The top of the yellow band will normally be about 5 knots below VREF. The yellow band may be useful to quickly estimate VREF without any reliance on pilot FMS inputs. It provides an independent verification which is helpful in detecting VREF errors (e.g. if the FMS weight is incorrect for any reason). The yellow band predicts where the red band will be (with a .02 AOA margin) during a 40 {30) degree bank constant FPA turn.

  • Red Band use

  • The red band is normally below the yellow band, but is not necessarily so. When maneuvering requirements are beyond those required for normal operation, the red band provides immediate feedback of changes to the accelerated stall speed and proximity to it.

  • PLI Use

  • The PLI directly correlates to the Red Band and is normally not displayed. The most basic use of the PLI is noticing whether it is displayed or not. If the PLI is not displayed, the AOA is less than 0.75. Since 0.95 AOA is available with full aft stick, then at least 20% of AOA range is still available. Similarly, 20% higher load factor would typically be available at a given speed. When maximum performance is required, the PLI may be used to monitor AOA and proximity to stick shaker activation.

  • Combined LSA and PLI use

  • A simplified summary is as follows: The yellow band indicates turn maneuver margin. The red band indicates accelerated stall speed margin. The PLI indicates AOA margin.

  • Auto-Throttle Speed Protection (ASP)

  • The minimum Auto-Throttle speed target, referred to as A/T VMIN, is calculated as 1 knot above the LSA airspeed. This buffer is intended to prevent nuisance activation of the LSA indications and aural alerts, and includes consideration of the Honeywell Auto-Throttle performance capabilities. In addition, this buffer allows for the A/T VMIN to approximate VREF in the forward CG condition.

  • The Auto-Throttle system has a speed protection mode to automatically engage the Auto-Throttles to prevent underspeed. The Auto-Throttle Speed Protection (ASP) system will target the higher of the guidance panel (GP) speed target or Auto-Throttle (VMIN). ASP activation is annunciated to the pilot as "VMIN" on the Auto-Throttle (or Performance) FMA.

  • The static ASP function is designed to allow flight at the normal operating envelope limits, while also preventing airspeed excursions outside of the envelope that may develop slowly over time. Static underspeed protection will activate when the current underspeed threshold has been exceeded without activating the dynamic ASP function. In order to prevent nuisance activation when flying at or near envelope limits, the activation logic considers the magnitude and duration of the exceedance. The static underspeed threshold is set to be coincident with the LSA airspeed.

  • For dynamic underspeed protection, the ASP function uses a filtered CAS rate and the current CAS to determine if the aircraft will underspeed in the next 6.5 seconds. The dynamic underspeed threshold is determined based on the LSA airspeed, which marks the top of the amber bar on the airspeed tape, and the stick shaker activation airspeed (0.97 NAOA), which marks the top of the red bar on the airspeed tape. The dynamic underspeed threshold is defined as 30% below the top of the amber bar. For example, if LSA was 119 and Vshaker was 104, the dynamic underspeed threshold would be 114.5 knots.

  • Stall Recoveries

  • The LSA system is useful for preventing proximity to stall, and for establishing when a complete recovery from an approach to stall has been completed. Stall recoveries should generally be continued to a speed above VREF (for current conditions - available on the upper right corner of every Phase of Flight page) and at least 5 knots CAS above LSA caution speed. The PLI may be used throughout stall recoveries to help prevent secondary stalls.

Low-speed / Stall Recovery

[G500 Ground and Flight Operations, p. 101] a. At first indication of impending stall or stick shaker:

  1. Disconnect autopilot and Auto-Throttle.

  2. Apply nose down pitch control to reduce AOA.

  3. Apply power.

  4. Roll wings level.

  5. Retract speed brakes.

  6. Return to desired airspeed and altitude.

Auto-Throttle Speed Protection / High-Speed Protection

The airplane doesn't want you to exceed VMO / MMO and will pull the throttles back or pull the nose up to keep you within the speed envelope.

[G500 Ground and Flight Operations, pp. 107-108]

    General

  • Three independent system and mode combinations help protect the aircraft from overspeed conditions. With respect to Auto-Throttle Speed protection, the overspeed conditions can be configuration related, for example gear and flap limits, or clean airframe limits (VMO/MMO). The FCC's high-speed protection mode activates outside of VMO/MMO and is the last line of protection.

  • Auto-Throttle Speed Protection (ASP)

  • The Auto-Throttle Speed Protection (ASP) function uses Auto-Throttle auto-engagement and selective airspeed targeting to prevent excursions outside of the normal aircraft speed envelope. ASP includes both static and dynamic speed protection functions. ASP will only auto-engage once per envelope excursion. If the pilot disengages Auto-Throttle during an excursion, the aircraft must return to within the aircraft envelope before ASP re-arms. In the G500 TC configuration, the ASP auto-engagement is only active with the Auto-Pilot coupled. Block 1 G500 software will auto-engage with the Auto-Pilot off.

  • Since ASP is considered a safety feature, the A/T Auto-Engage Inhibit switch on the TSC does not inhibit its activation. Instead, the TSC switch only inhibits the Auto-Throttle from auto engaging with flight director vertical mode changes, which is an auto-engage function that is considered a convenience feature.

  • Auto-Throttle Speed Protect (ASP), when engaged during a high-speed excursion, initially targets a speed inside the speed envelope (VMO) and then will subsequently target the speed set in GP speed window. As previously mentioned, ASP will only engage if the Auto-Pilot is on or if the Auto-Pilot is off, but the Auto-Throttles are already on.

  • For dynamic overspeed protection (aircraft accelerating towards the limit), the ASP logic uses a filtered Calibrated Airspeed (CAS) rate and the current CAS to determine if the aircraft will overspeed within the next 2.5 seconds. The overspeed threshold is based on the current configuration (flap and/or gear) and VMO/MMO limits. When ASP engages, the Auto-Throttle will target the lower of the guidance panel speed target or applicable airspeed limit.

  • Static overspeed protection will activate when the current overspeed threshold has been exceeded without activating the dynamic ASP function. In order to prevent nuisance activation when flying near airspeed limits, the activation logic considers the magnitude and duration of the exceedance. Similar to the dynamic overspeed condition, static ASP will initially target an airspeed within the aircraft envelope, then fade to targeting the lower of the guidance panel or the current configuration airspeed limit.

  • VMAX Mode (Flight Director Overspeed Protection)

  • The flight director overspeed protection mode generates FD commands that will prevent the aircraft from exceed the maximum operating speed when followed by the pilot or via the Autopilot, when coupled. The maximum operation airspeed for this feature is defined as VMO/MMO for the placarded flight envelope curve. This protection is enabled when the following vertical modes are active:

    1. VS

    2. FPA

    3. VPATH

    4. ASEL (during descent)

  • There is no flight director overspeed protection in (V)ALT, VASEL, TO, GA, GS or VGP modes. When the mode becomes active, the FMA vertical window (furthest right) will annunciate with an amber VMAX indication. The mode will activate based on predicted overspeeds. During excessive descents, the flight guidance system will enter either the VMAX vertical mode (Autopilot on), when it's determined that the aircraft will exceed VMO/MMO + 5 knots. If the Autopilot is off, and the pilot doesn't follow the flight director guidance, the FCC will eventually enter the high speed protection mode.

  • The overspeed protection feature will deactivate when the aircraft is below the maximum operating speed and the FD command generated by the in-use flight director vertical mode is greater than the command generated by the overspeed protection logic (e.g. continuing to slow below VMO/MMO).

  • High-Speed Protection (HSP)

  • High speed protection (HSP) is a function of the FCC and works with the Auto-Pilot off and the Auto-Throttles off or on. HSP activates when airspeed is above VMO/MMO (potentially earlier if the aircraft is accelerating), and the FCS is in the Normal mode. Activation is annunciated by a cyan CAS message. While HSP is active, the apparent speed stability of the aircraft is increased. For example, an increase in airspeed above the trim speed results in a pitch-up, and the pilot's maximum nose-down command is limited. The overall effect is to increase the pitch attitude of the aircraft to slow down the rate of acceleration and reduce the aircraft's speed. HSP will deactivate when airspeed is below VMO/MMO. Above 60° bank angle, high speed protection is removed. High speed protection is inhibited while the autopilot is active; conversely autopilot activation is inhibited while in HSP.

Use of the Rudder in Flight

These three rules are really two rules and they come from Gulfstream. The cardinal rule in these things is to avoid rapid rudder reversals. Why? See American Airlines 587 for a case study in what can go wrong.

[G500 Ground and Flight Operations, p. 109]

  • Flight crews should use caution when operating the rudder in flight. The flight control system design protects the vertical fin for prolonged maximum rudder inputs in a single direction only. If the rudder is deflected to maximum deflection then suddenly reversed to the maximum deflection in the opposite direction, the vertical fin can be overstressed. Additionally, the vertical fin can be overstressed by a pilot "walking" the rudder either abruptly or in small increments in tune with the yaw response. The issue is magnified at high speed.

  • There are three rules of thumb to follow when using the rudder in flight:

    1. Maximum deflection of the rudder in a single direction may be used to control the airplane when needed such as in the case of an engine failure at takeoff. Do not return the rudder past neutral when completing this maneuver.

    2. Do not walk the rudder in tune with the yaw response either with abrupt or smooth inputs.

    3. If you follow the above two rules and continue to fly the airplane within the published envelope using normal airmanship, you will not overstress the airplane.

References

Gulfstream GVII-G500 Ground and Flight Operations, undated, release as part of GAC-AC-GVII-G500-OM-002, February 20, 2019

Gulfstream Symmetry Flight Deck for the G500 Aircraft Pilot's Guide, Honeywell Pub. No. D201110000019--003a, October 29/18

Revision: 20190704
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