Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Aeronautical Engineering


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Bradley S. Liebst, PhD


This investigation examines the suitability of conventional, rate command/attitude hold (RCAH), and attitude command attitude hold (ACAH) response-types for the probe and drogue air refueling task. Data from a 1974 Calspan handling qualities investigation involving conventional response-types in the probe and drogue air refueling task were analyzed using the Bandwidth and STI Dropback criterions. Flight control laws were developed to achieve twelve superaugmented and two conventional configurations. The NT-33A analog variable stability system was used to simulate a relaxed static stability fighter and the NT-33A programmable digital flight control computer simulated the desired response-types. The handling qualities of the fourteen configurations were evaluated during eight flight test sorties. Data consisted of pilot commentary, handling qualities ratings using the Cooper-Harper rating scale, pilot induced oscillation tendency ratings, and turbulence ratings. The Bandwidth criterion supplemented with frequency response based control sensitivity metrics successfully correlated the observed handling qualities. Configurations with handling qualities deficiencies were characterized by any one of the following: excessive gain at the pitch and flight path bandwidths, excessive phase delay, low bandwidth, or a gain margin limited pitch attitude bandwidth.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number



The author's Vita page is omitted.