Date of Award


Degree Name

MS in Aerospace Engineering


Aerospace Engineering


Daniel Biezad


Using a new implementation of a NASA flight simulation of the Quiet Short-Haul Research Aircraft, autopilots were designed to be capable of flying both straight in (ILS) approaches, and circling (SNI) approaches. A standard glideslope coupler was sufficient for most conditions, but a standard Proportional-Integral-Derivative (PID) based localizer tracker was not sufficient for maintaining a lateral track on the SNI course. To track the SNI course, a feed-forward system, using GPS steering provided much better results.

NASA and the FAA embrace the concept of a Simultaneous, Non-Interfering (SNI) approach as a way to increase airport throughput while reducing the noise footprints of aircraft on approach. The NASA concept for the SNI approach for Short Takeoff and Landing (STOL) aircraft involves a straight in segment flown above the flight path of a normal approach, followed by a spiraling descent to the runway. As this is a procedure that would be utilized by regional airliners, it is assumed that it would be conducted under Instrument Flight Rules (IFR).

GPS or INS guidance would be required to fly this approach, and it is likely that it would be necessary to fly the approach with a coupled autopilot: a stabilized, curving, instrument approach to decision altitude would be exceedingly difficult to fly. The autopilots in many current commuter and general aviation aircraft, however, were designed before the event of GPS, and do not have provisions for tracking curved paths. This study identifies problem areas in implementing the SNI circling approach on aircraft and avionics as they stand today and also gives examples of what can be done for the SNI approach to be successful.