PACO: Determining Throttle Position in NASA’s T‐38 Talon
The T‐38 Talon aircraft is used at NASA's (National Aeronautics and Space Administration) Johnson Space Center as a supersonic jet trainer for the astronauts, as well as a chase plane in both launches and research missions. The PEDRO (Permanent Engine Data Recording Object) system has been installed on the aircraft to record and detect engine abnormalities during flight operations. To expand PEDRO's data collection, PACO (Power Adjustment Capturing Object), a throttle position sensing system, has been developed. This system will provide insight to flameout analysis, allow for easier troubleshooting with afterburner lights, verify project engine feed and eliminate the need for video recording. The designed system identifies the five standard throttle positions within a 0.5 degree precision, provides a timestamp correlated with the PEDRO system, and identifies the throttle rate of change and direction. A hazard analysis was performed on the PACO flight system and all hazards were identified and corrective actions were taken to reduce the hazard risks. This system has been through the standard NASA‐Aircraft Operations Division reviews and has been approved for flight testing. At the completion of flight testing, PACO will be installed in all PEDRO jets during their next maintenance phase.