In-flight Systems and Technologies Airborne Research
The Dassault Falcon 2000LX is operated by DLR under the name ISTAR (In-flight Systems and Technologies Airborne Research).
The gradual development of the recently acquired ISTAR aircraft to its full functionality as a ‘flying simulator’ is taking place simultaneously with its first research campaigns. In the next step of development, an experimental fly-by-wire system will operate the primary flight control surfaces and the selection of engine thrust. In addition, all required system components and the mechanisms needed for a safe shutdown of the experimental system will be integrated into the aircraft and tested. Building on this interface, further development will provide experimental access to the secondary controls.
The focal points of ISTAR’s research include pilot assistance systems, autonomous flight, improving flight safety and in-flight simulation of the flight characteristics and performance of entirely new aircraft configurations. The complete digitalisation of the aircraft from an aerodynamic characterisation through to new virtual certification methods is also planned.
ISTAR can already be used for a variety of different engineering tests. In addition to extra experimental antennas, the baseline aircraft is equipped with more than 100 sensors integrated into its structure. The sensors are located in the fuel tanks, on the wings, on the fuselage and elsewhere. This sensor system makes it possible to record all movements and displacements of the aircraft. Among other purposes, the researchers at DLR use the recorded test data to optimise the predictive accuracy of their numerical structural models. ISTAR is also equipped with a high-precision air data measurement system as well as flight test instrumentation, which allows the high-resolution measurement of structural loads on all important components of the aircraft.