(19)
(11)EP 3 367 070 B1

(12)EUROPEAN PATENT SPECIFICATION

(45)Mention of the grant of the patent:
01.07.2020 Bulletin 2020/27

(21)Application number: 17204353.1

(22)Date of filing:  29.11.2017
(51)International Patent Classification (IPC): 
G01D 5/249(2006.01)

(54)

AIRCRAFT WITH A SYSTEM FOR DETERMINING A POSITION OF A PART

FLUGZEUG MIT EINEM SYSTEM ZUR BESTIMMUNG EINER POSITION EINES TEILS

AVION AVEC UN SYSTÈME DE DÉTERMINATION DE LA POSITION D'UNE PIÈCE


(84)Designated Contracting States:
AL AT BE BG CH CY CZ DE DK EE ES FI FR GB GR HR HU IE IS IT LI LT LU LV MC MK MT NL NO PL PT RO RS SE SI SK SM TR

(30)Priority: 27.02.2017 US 201715443928

(43)Date of publication of application:
29.08.2018 Bulletin 2018/35

(73)Proprietor: The Boeing Company
Chicago, IL 60606-2016 (US)

(72)Inventor:
  • KNOWLES, Devin E.
    Chicago, IL Illinois 60606-1596 (US)

(74)Representative: Sandri, Sandro 
Bugnion S.P.A. Via Pancaldo 68
37138 Verona
37138 Verona (IT)


(56)References cited: : 
EP-A1- 2 322 431
EP-A1- 2 846 126
DE-A1- 19 910 636
US-A- 5 680 124
EP-A1- 2 385 353
EP-A1- 2 965 993
DE-A1-102014 220 783
US-A1- 2013 179 117
  
      
    Note: Within nine months from the publication of the mention of the grant of the European patent, any person may give notice to the European Patent Office of opposition to the European patent granted. Notice of opposition shall be filed in a written reasoned statement. It shall not be deemed to have been filed until the opposition fee has been paid. (Art. 99(1) European Patent Convention).


    Description

    BACKGROUND



    [0001] This disclosure relates generally to sensors, and more particularly to sensors that detect a position of one part relative to another part.

    [0002] Many conventional structures include parts that move or adjust relative to other parts of the structure. Often, the movement of movable parts of a system is precisely controlled. For example, aircraft include adjustable aerodynamic surfaces that are controlled to produce various effects on the aerodynamics of the aircraft. In some structures, variation of a movable part from an intended path can produce non-optimal performance.

    [0003] Some aircraft manufacturers have attempted implementing position sensors to detect when an adjustable aerodynamic surface is skewing relative to an intended path. However, precisely detecting the skew of an adjustable aerodynamic surface with such conventional sensors is difficult.

    [0004] Document DE 10 2014 220783 A1 discloses a sensor for determining at least one rotational property of a rotating element. The sensor comprises a transmitter wheel which can be connected to the rotating element and has at least one first read track. The read track has a first plurality of magnetic event transmitters. The sensor further comprises at least one first magnetic sensor for detecting magnetic events generated by the first plurality of magnetic event generators. The first read track is designed such that over a complete circumference of an encoder wheel a magnetic field strength of the first plurality of event transmitters is stepped from a first maximum north pole to a first maximum south pole.

    [0005] Document US 5680124 A discloses a method and apparatus for determining whether or not auxiliary airfoils on an aircraft wing are skewed or lost. It employs either of two types of systems and their associated computer monitor and control requirements. One system utilizes a cable and a spring-loaded mechanism with a cable displacement position sensor. The second system utilizes a drive system position sensor, proximity sensors and segmented proximity targets. These two systems are capable of skew and loss detection for adjacent or individual auxiliary airfoil arrangements. A computer electronic unit is used to perform logic functions to verify the authenticity of sensor signals, and, if appropriate, to shut down the drive system and to compute new flight control parameters including those relating to stall speed and the stick shaker, while alerting the flight crew.

    SUMMARY



    [0006] The present invention relates to an aircraft having a first part constituted by an adjustable aerodynamic surface of the aircraft and a second part constituted by a surface of the aircraft relative to which the adjustable aerodynamic surface moves, or vice versa, the aircraft comprising a system for determining a positional relationship between the first part and the second part, wherein the first part is movable relative to the second part, the system comprising the features disclosed in claim 1. The dependent claims outline advantageous forms of embodiment thereof.

    BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS



    [0007] In order that the advantages of the subject matter may be more readily understood, a more particular description of the subject matter briefly described above will be rendered by reference to specific embodiments that are illustrated in the appended drawings. Understanding that these drawings depict only typical embodiments of the subject matter and are not therefore to be considered to be limiting of its scope, the subject matter will be described and explained with additional specificity and detail through the use of the drawings, in which:

    Figure 1 is a schematic perspective view of an aircraft, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 2 is a schematic plan view of a slat, a wing, and position sensors for determining a position of the slat relative to the wing, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 3 is a schematic plan view of a system having a position sensor, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 4 is a schematic block diagram of a control module of a system for determining a positional relationship between a first part and a second part, according to one embodiment;

    Figure 5 is a position chart with positional data that assigns different part positions to different magnetic fields, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 6 is a schematic plan view of a system having multiple position sensors, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 7 is a schematic block diagram of a control module of a system for determining a positional relationship between a first part and a second part, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 8 is a schematic plan view of a first position sensor and a second position sensor indicating no skew of a part, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 9 is a is a schematic plan view of the first position sensor and the second position sensor of Figure 8, but indicating a skew of the part, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure;

    Figure 10 is a is a schematic plan view of the first position sensor and the second position sensor of Figure 9, but indicating a larger skew of the part, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure; and

    Figure 11 is a schematic flow diagram of a method of determining a positional relationship between a first part and a second part, according to one or more examples of the present disclosure.


    DETAILED DESCRIPTION



    [0008] Some conventional position sensors for determining the position or skew of a part include magnets that are spaced apart along the part at discrete equidistant intervals. Such conventional position sensors further include a magnetic field sensor configured to sense the presence of a magnetic field generated by one of the magnets. The magnets are configured exactly the same to generate respective magnetic fields that also are exactly the same. In other words, the magnetic signatures of the magnetic fields generated by the magnets of conventional position sensors are the same. The magnets are spaced apart so that the magnetic fields generated by the magnets do not overlap at the magnetic field sensor and prevent the magnetic field sensor from distinguishing the magnetic fields of adjacent magnets. In other words, the magnets are spaced apart to define spaces between the magnetic fields generated by the magnets.

    [0009] For conventional position sensors, the magnetic field sensor detects when a magnet has passed by the sensor by detecting the presence and absence of a magnetic field generated by the magnet. The position sensor then determines a position of the part by counting the number of magnets detected by or passing by the magnetic field sensor. However, because conventional position sensors merely detect the presence or absence of a magnetic field of many identical magnetic fields, conventional position sensors must keep track of how many magnets have been detected and the direction the part is moving to determine the position of the part. Accordingly, conventional position sensors store a history of previously detected magnets and use means for knowing the direction of the part when the part moves. These sensor qualities increase the components necessary to detect the position of a part.

    [0010] Also, the precision of conventional position sensors at detecting the position of the part is limited due to the above-mentioned need to space the magnets apart from each other. In theory, the closer the magnets are to each other, the more precise the position sensor. However, because smaller spacing between magnets of conventional position sensors negatively affects the operability of the position sensors, these position sensors are unable to precisely detect the position of a part.

    [0011] In contrast to conventional position sensors, the position sensors and associated systems and methods of the present disclosure are able to precisely detect positional characteristics of a part without a history of previously detected magnets and without knowing a direction of movement of the part. For example, the magnet of the position sensors of the present disclosure produces magnetic fields with unique magnetic signatures, which allows the position sensors to detect a position of a part based exclusively on the latest detection of a single magnetic field. Furthermore, in some embodiments, the magnet of the position sensors of the present disclosure includes multiple magnetic field sources that are not spaced apart, but rather are immediately adjacent each other, such that the position sensors are able to more precisely detect the position of a part compared to conventional position sensors.

    [0012] Referring to Figure 1, one embodiment of an aircraft 100 is shown. The aircraft 100 can be any of various types of aircraft, such as commercial aircraft used for the transportation of passengers, military aircraft for military operations, personal aircraft, and the like. Moreover, although an aircraft is depicted in the illustrated embodiments, in other embodiments, another structure, such as a vehicle (e.g., helicopter, boat, spacecraft, automobile, etc.) or non-mobile complex structure (e.g., building, bridge, machinery, etc.), with any of various adjustable elements, can be used instead of the aircraft 100.

    [0013] The depicted aircraft 100 includes a body 112 (e.g., fuselage), a pair of wings 114 coupled to and extending from the body 112, a vertical stabilizer 116 coupled to the body 112, and a pair of horizontal stabilizers 118 coupled to the body 112 and/or the vertical stabilizer 116. The aircraft 100 can be any of various types of aircraft, such as a passenger airplane, a fighter jet, a helicopter, spacecraft, and the like. As depicted, the aircraft 100 represents a passenger airplane.

    [0014] The aircraft 100 further includes a plurality of adjustable parts, which can be adjustable aerodynamic surfaces or control surfaces that are adjustable to change the characteristics of air flow over, around, and trailing the surfaces. For example, each wing 114 includes an aileron 124, flaps 126, spoilers 128, and slats 130. Additionally, the vertical stabilizer 116 includes a rudder 122, and each horizontal stabilizer 118 includes an elevator 120. For responsive control of the flight of the aircraft 100, the relative position of the adjustable aerodynamic surfaces of the aircraft 100, such as those shown in Figure 1, are adjustable. The aircraft 100 includes systems (e.g., actuator systems), such as actuator system 132 shown in Figure 2, for adjusting the position of adjustable aerodynamic surfaces, such as the slat 130, relative to other surfaces. For reference, an adjustable aerodynamic surface can be defined as a first part and the surface relative to which the adjustable aerodynamic surface moves can be defined as a second part, or vice versa, such that the adjustable aerodynamic surface is defined as the second part and the surface relative to which the adjustable aerodynamic surface moves is defined as the first part. In the illustrated example of Figure 2, the first part or second part is one of the slats 130 and the other of the first part or second part is the wing 114 to which the slat 130 is movably coupled. However, in other examples, the first part or second part is another adjustable aerodynamic surface (e.g., ailerons 124, spoilers 128, rudder 122, or elevators 120) and the other of the first part or second part is the wing 114, the vertical stabilizer 116, or the horizontal stabilizer 118 to which the adjustable aerodynamic surface is movable coupled. Although the adjustable elements have been described as adjustable aerodynamic surfaces of an aircraft, it is recognized that in other embodiments, the adjustable elements can be any of various other adjustable surfaces or adjustable components of an aircraft or other structure.

    [0015] The actuator system 132 can be any of various actuator systems for adjusting the position of an adjustable aerodynamic surfaces or other adjustable part. For example, the system 132 can be a mechanical, hydraulic, and/or pneumatic controlled actuator system.
    The aircraft 100 includes a system 138, as shown in Figure 3, for determining a positional relationship between the slat 130 (e.g., first part) and the wing 114 (e.g., second part). The system 138 includes at least one position sensor 140 configured to determine a position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114, which, as defined herein, is the equivalent of determining the position of the wing 114 relative to the slat 130. In other words, determining the position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 also determines the position of the wing 114 relative to the slat 130. In the illustrated embodiment, the system 138 includes two position sensors 140 located proximate opposing end portions 135, 137 of the slat 130, respectively. Each position sensor 140 is operable to determine the position of a respective one of the opposing end portions 135, 137 relative to the wing 114. By knowing the position of two or more locations of a first part relative to a second part, positional aspect information, such as skew, orientation, and angular motion, of the first part relative to the second part can be determined. For example, as will be explained in more detail below, knowing the position of the opposing end portions 135, 137 relative to the wing 114 allows the system 138 to determine a positional aspect, such as skew, orientation, and/or angular motion, of the first part relative to the second part. Initially, however, features of the position sensor 140 and its ability to detect a position of the slat 130 will now be explained in more detail.

    [0016] Referring to Figures 2 and 3, the position sensor 140 includes a magnetic position indicator 144 and a magnetic field sensor 142. In the illustrated embodiment, the magnetic position indicator 144 is non-movably fixed to the slat 130, such as to one of the end portions 135, 137 of the slat 130, and the magnetic field sensor 142 is non-movably fixed to the wing 114. In other words, the magnetic position indicator 144 is non-movably fixed to an articulating member where monitoring of the position of the articulating member relative to a non-articulating member, to which the magnetic field sensor 142 is non-movably fixed is desired. However, in other embodiments, the position of an articulating member (e.g., the slat 130) relative to a non-articulating member (e.g., the wing 114) can be monitored by non-movably fixing the magnetic position indicator 144 to the non-articulating member and non-movably fixing the magnetic field sensor 142 to the articulating member.

    [0017] The actuator system 132 is actuatable (e.g., selectively operable, interconnected, slaved, etc.) to move the slat 130 linearly relative to the wing 114 in an extension direction 134 from a fully retracted or semi-retracted position to a fully extended or semi-extended position and in a retraction direction 136 from the fully extended or semi-extended position to the fully retracted or semi-retracted position. As the slat 130 moves relative to the wing 114 in either the extension direction 134 or the retraction direction 136, the magnetic position indicator 144 moves relative to the magnetic field sensor 142. The magnetic position indicator 144 is fixed to the slat 130 and the magnetic field sensor 142 is fixed to the wing 114 at respective locations such that the magnetic field sensor 142 is in close enough proximity to the magnetic position indicator 144 to detect magnetic fields being generated by the magnetic position indicator 144. Moreover, the magnetic position indicator 144 is fixed to the slat 130 and the magnetic field sensor 142 is fixed to the wing 114 at respective locations such that a distance between the magnetic field sensor 142 and the magnetic position indicator 144 is constant as the magnetic position indicator 144 moves relative to the magnetic field sensor 142.

    [0018] Referring to Figure 3, the magnetic position indicator 144 of the position sensor 140 includes a plurality of magnetic field sources 145A-145O. Each of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O generates a corresponding magnetic field of a plurality of magnetic fields 146A-146O. For example, the magnetic field source 145A generates the magnetic field 146A, the magnetic field source 145B generates the magnetic field 146B, and so on. The magnetic position indicator 144 is elongate and the magnetic field sources 145A-145O are positioned along a length L of the magnetic position indicator 144. Furthermore, in the illustrated embodiments, the magnetic field sources 145A-145O are positioned consecutively such that they are not spaced apart from each other. In other words, there is no gap or free space between adjacent magnetic field sources of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O. The magnetic field sources 145A-145O are shown separated by imaginary dashed lines to show a general demarcation between the magnetic field sources. In some implementations, there is not a distinct boundary between adjacent magnetic field sources. Furthermore, although the magnetic position indicator 144 of the illustrated embodiment has fifteen magnetic field sources 145A-145O corresponding to fifteen different positions, as will be explained in more detail below, in other embodiments, the magnetic position indicator can have fewer or more than fifteen magnetic field sources as desired.

    [0019] Although the magnetic field sources 145A-145O shown in the figures are positioned consecutively such that there is no gap, free space, or non-magnetic material between adjacent magnetic field sources of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O, in other embodiments, gaps, free spaces, or non-magnetic materials can be positioned between the magnetic field sources 145A-145O.

    [0020] Each of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O is configured differently than any other of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O to generate a magnetic field with a unique magnetic signature. In other words, each of the magnetic fields 146A-146O has a unique magnetic signature that is different than the magnetic signature of any other of the magnetic fields 146A-146O. Accordingly, each of the magnetic fields 146A-146O identifies the respective one of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O that generates the magnetic field based on the unique magnetic signature of the magnetic field. For example, the magnetic signature of the magnetic field 146A is unique because the magnetic signature of the magnetic field 146A is different than the magnetic signature of the magnetic field 146B, the magnetic field 146C, and all other magnetic fields of the position sensor 140.

    [0021] The magnetic signature of a magnetic field is defined by one or more characteristics of magnetic fields. A magnetic signature is unique relative to other magnetic signatures if at least one of the characteristics defining the magnetic signature is different than the other magnetic signatures. For example, the magnitude (e.g., power) of a magnetic field is a characteristic type that at least partially defines the magnetic signature of the magnetic field, and the characteristics of two magnetic fields are different if the values of the magnitudes of the two magnetic fields are different.

    [0022] According to one embodiment, the magnetic signatures of all the magnetic fields 146A-146O have a magnetic field magnitude (i.e., magnitude of the magnetic field) that is measurable or detectable by the magnetic field sensor 142. In such an embodiment, the magnetic field magnitude (i.e., the value of the magnetic field magnitude) for any given magnetic field is different than the magnetic field magnitude of any other of the magnetic fields. In other words, one magnetic field is either stronger or weaker than any other magnetic field. In this manner, each unique magnetic signature comprises a magnetic field magnitude that is different than the magnetic field magnitude of any other unique magnetic signature.

    [0023] According to yet another embodiment, the magnetic signatures of all the magnetic fields 146A-1460 have a magnetic field shape that is measurable or detectable by the magnetic field sensor 142. In such an embodiment, the magnetic field shape (e.g., a value for the location of the poles, a value for the orientation of the poles, a value for the number of lobes of the magnetic field, etc.) for any given magnetic field is different than the magnetic field shape of any other of the magnetic fields. In this manner, each unique magnetic signature comprises a magnetic field shape that is different than the magnetic field shape of any other unique magnetic signature.

    [0024] According to a further embodiment, the magnetic signatures of all the magnetic fields 146A-146O have a magnetic field depth that is measurable or detectable by the magnetic field sensor 142. In such an embodiment, the magnetic field depth (e.g., a value for the magnetic field gradient, a value of the rate of change of the magnetic field magnitude, etc.) for any given magnetic field is different than the magnetic field depth of any other of the magnetic fields. In this manner, each unique magnetic signature comprises a magnetic field depth that is different than the magnetic field depth of any other unique magnetic signature.

    [0025] In another embodiment, the magnetic signatures of all the magnetic fields 146A-146O have a location of a center of the magnetic field that is measurable or detectable by the magnetic field sensor 142. In such an embodiment, the location of the center of the magnetic field (e.g., a value of the location of magnetic field relative to the sensor 142) for any given magnetic field is different than the location of the center of the magnetic field of any other of the magnetic fields. In this manner, each unique magnetic signature comprises a location of the center of the magnetic field that is different than the location of the center of the magnetic field of any other unique magnetic signature.

    [0026] Although each of the above embodiments establish unique magnetic signatures of the magnetic fields 146A-146O using respective ones of four characteristics of magnetic fields, in other embodiments, the unique magnetic signatures can be established using two or more of the four characteristics or any other characteristics of magnetic fields (e.g., magnetic flux density, magnetic field direction, etc.).

    [0027] According to one embodiment, the magnetic position indicator 144 is made of a single, continuous magnetic material having a magnetic pattern formed in the magnetic material. In other words, the magnetic position indicator 144 has a one-piece, unitary construction. In some implementations, the magnetic position indicator 144 is made of a single piece of permanent magnetic material, such as any of various ferromagnetic materials (e.g., iron, nickel, cobalt, etc.), that has been magnetized. For example, in one implementation, the magnetic position indicator 144 is a single piece of permanent magnetic material with magnetic properties that have been permanently physically altered, such as via doping, etching, imprinting, sintering, and the like, at each of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O in a unique way to produce the magnetic fields 146A-146O with the unique magnetic signatures. As one example, the polarity of a given one of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O can be reversed compared to another of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O. In some implementations, the magnetic properties that have been permanently physically altered can be re-altered or adjusted with enough effort.

    [0028] In one embodiment, each of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O has a north pole region and a south pole region. The properties or characteristics of either one or both of the north pole region and the south pole region of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O are different than each other to produce different magnetic fields. In one implementation, the orientations of the north pole regions and the south pole regions of the magnetic field sources reversibly alternate along the magnetic position indicator. Accordingly, the same surface of the magnetic position indicator may have both north poles and south poles. For example, the magnetic field source 145A may have an N-S orientation, the magnetic field source 145B may have an S-N orientation, and the magnetic field source 145C may have a N-S orientation. The remaining magnetic field sources 145D-145O may follow a similar pattern. In such an alternating implementation, the magnetic field 146A is generated by the north pole region and the south pole region of the magnetic field source 145A, the magnetic field 146B is generated by the north pole region of the magnetic field source 145A and the south pole region of the magnetic field source 145B, the magnetic field 146C is generated by the south pole region of the magnetic field source 145B and the north pole region of the magnetic field source 145C, and so forth. Alternating the north pole regions and south pole regions across the same surfaces promotes precisely controlled magnetic fields with limited reach or depth such that magnetic fields generated by adjacent magnetic sources do not overlap or do not overlap enough to affect the ability of the magnetic field sensor 142 to detect one magnetic field at a time.

    [0029] The magnetic position indicator 144 also has a depth or thickness. The magnetic field sources 145A-145O can be formed by uniquely physically altering the magnetic material along a depth of the material at respective ones of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O. For example, the magnetic material at a given one of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O can be physically altered to be more magnetized at a front surface of the material to generate a more powerful magnetic field at the front surface of the magnetic material than at a back surface of the magnetic material compared to another magnetic field source. However, in alternative implementations, the magnetic position indicator 144 is made of a single piece of non-permanent magnetic material or electromagnetic material. In such alternative implementations, the respective magnetic fields 146A-146O are generated by separately running a current through the respective magnetic field sources 145A-145O.

    [0030] Based on the foregoing, the magnetic pattern of the magnetic position indicator 144 is defined by the different physical make-up or configuration of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O. More specifically, the magnetic pattern sequentially changes along the length of the magnetic position indicator in correspondence with the changes of the physical make-up or configuration of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O along the magnetic position indicator 144. In other words, each change in the magnetic pattern is represented by one of the respective magnetic field sources 145A-145O. According to one embodiment, the magnetic position indicator 144 can be similar to a so-called Polymagnet® manufactured by Correlated Magnetics Research, LLC of Huntsville, Alabama.

    [0031] Referring again to Figure 3, the magnetic field sensor 142 is positioned in close proximity to the magnetic position indicator 144 such that at any given time at least a portion of the magnetic field generated by one of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O is received and detected by the magnetic field sensor 142. The magnetic field sensor 142 has at least one receptor that is sensitive to magnetic fields and capable of isolating (e.g., distinguishing) at least one characteristic of the magnetic field. For example, in the presence of a magnetic field, the at least one receptor may promote the flow of electrons at a flow rate proportional to the magnitude of the magnetic field. As another example, in the presence of a magnetic field, the at least one receptor may promote the flow of electrons in a direction corresponding with the direction of the magnetic field. The characteristics of the flow of electrons are converted into an electric signal representative of the characteristics of the flow of electrons, which are in turn representative of the characteristics of a sensed magnetic field. The electric signal (i.e., sensor signal) is then utilized by the control module 150 to determine the position of a first part (e.g., the slat 130) relative to a second part (e.g., the wing 114). The magnetic field sensor 142 includes a magnetometer, such as any of various magnetometers known in the art, in some implementations. Although not necessary, in some embodiments, the magnetic field sensor 142 is sized to have a receptor area that is equal to or smaller than the area of the surface of each magnetic field source facing the magnetic field sensor 142 to facilitate one-at-a-time detection of the magnetic fields by the magnetic field sensor 142.

    [0032] According to one embodiment, the magnetic field sensor 142 includes an array of magnetometers. The outputs of the array of magnetometers are combined to produce a 2-dimensional map of the magnetic field state at a given position. In other embodiments, the magnetic field sensor 142 is a load sensor attached to a ferromagnetic or similar material that measures forces in three dimensions, which provides an indication of a magnetic center at a given position. Alternatively, the load sensor may measure force in a single direction facing the magnetic position indicator 144, which provides an indication of the local magnitude of the magnetic force at a given position.

    [0033] The system 138 further includes the control module 150, which receives a sensor signal 154 from the magnetic field sensor 142 (see, e.g., Figure 4). As illustrated in Figure 3, in one example, the control module 150 is separate from the magnetic field sensor 142 and electrically coupled to the magnetic field sensor 142 via a cable or wire to receive the sensor signal 154. However, in other examples, the control module 150 forms part of the magnetic field sensor 142 or vice versa such that the control module 150 and the magnetic field sensor 142 are integrated into a single unit or fit within the same enclosure. The control module 150 includes at least one of logic hardware and executable code, the executable code being stored on one or more memory devices. The executable code may be replaced with a computer processor and computer-readable storage medium that stores executable code executed by the processor.

    [0034] Referring to Figure 4, the control module 150 includes a position module 152 that is configured to receive a detected unique magnetic signature from the magnetic field sensor 142 and to determine a part position 156 based on the detected unique magnetic signature. In the illustrated embodiment, the part position 156 is the position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114. However, as presented above, the part position 156 can be the position of any of various parts, control surfaces, components, devices, elements, and the like. The sensor signal 154 represents the detected unique magnetic signature by indicating a characteristic that is unique to only one of the magnetic fields 146A-146O. The position module 152 first determines the magnetic field source that generated the unique magnetic signature detected by the sensor signal 154. Accordingly, the position module 152 stores predetermined positional data 158 in a database or memory, which is shown in the form of a chart in Figures 4 and 5. The positional data 158 correlates the unique magnetic signatures to their respective magnetic field sources 145A-145O. The unique magnetic signatures are represented by the letters A-O in the positional data 158. Additionally, the positional data 158 correlates the magnetic field sources 145A-145O to respective positions of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114. The positions of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 are represented by the numbers 0-14 in the positional data 158. Although not shown, the positions 0-14 of the slat 130 can be further correlated to additional useful information as desired, such as percent extended/retracted or dimensional values. The respective positions of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 are tied to the locations of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O on the slat 130 relative to the location of the magnetic field sensor 142 on the wing 114.

    [0035] As mentioned above, the positional data 158 is predetermined. For example, the positions 0-14 are tied to known positions of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114. Generally, in one implementation, the position 0 is associated with a fully retracted position of the slat 130, the position 14 is associated with a fully extended position of the slat 130, and the positions 1-13 are associated with intermediate or incrementally extended/retracted positions of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114. Correspondingly, the magnetic position indicator 144 is located on the slat 130 and the magnetic field sensor 142 is located on the wing 114 at respective locations that position the magnetic field sensor 142 in closest proximity to the magnetic field 146A of the magnetic field source 145A when the slat 130 is in the fully retracted position. In contrast, the magnetic position indicator 144 is located on the slat 130 and the magnetic field sensor 142 is located on the wing 114 at respective locations that position the magnetic field sensor 142 in closest proximity to the magnetic field 146O of the magnetic field source 145O when the slat 130 is in the fully extended position. Moreover, the magnetic position indicator 144 is located on the slat 130 and the magnetic field sensor 142 is located on the wing 114 at respective locations that position the magnetic field sensor 142 in closest proximity to the magnetic field of the magnetic field source corresponding with the intermediate position of the slat 130.

    [0036] Because each unique magnetic signature is tied to a particular one of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O and each of the magnetic field sources 145A-145O is tied to a particular position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114, the position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 can be determined solely on the detection of a single one of the unique magnetic signatures. In other words, the present system 138 can determine the position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 based only on the real-time detection of one unique magnetic signature of a magnetic field without reliance on previously detected magnetic signatures and without reliance on a known direction of movement of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114.

    [0037] Referring to Figure 6, according to another embodiment, a system 139 is configured to determine a positional aspect of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114. The system 139 is similar to the system 138. However, instead of one position sensor, as with the system 138, the system 139 includes a first position sensor 140A and a second position sensor 140B each located proximate different locations of the slat 130. The first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B are configured similarly to the position sensor 140. In fact, in one implementations, each of the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B is the same as the position sensor 140. For example, the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B include a first magnetic position indicator 144A and a second magnetic position indicator 144B, respectively, and a first magnetic field sensor 142A and a second magnetic field sensor 142B, respectively. The first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B are configured to determine a first position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 and a second position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114, respectively, in a manner as described above in relation to the position sensor 140. The first position is the position of the slat 130 proximate the first position sensor 140A and the second position is the position of the slat 130 proximate the second position sensor 140B. Because the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B are located at different locations of the slat 130, the first position determined by the first position sensor 140A and the second position determined by the second position sensor 140B may not be the same. For example, when the slat 130 is skewed or is configured to move other than in a linear direction, the first position and the second position would be different.

    [0038] As shown in Figure 7, the system 139 includes a control module 160 that is similar to the control module 150. However, instead of receiving sensor signals from only one position sensor, the control module 160 receives sensor signals from two or more position sensors. For example, in the illustrated embodiment, the control module 160 receives first sensor signals 154A from the first position sensor 140A and second sensor signals 154B from the second position sensor 140B. More specifically, the control module 160 receives first sensor signals 154A from the first magnetic field sensor 142A and second sensor signals 154B from the second magnetic field sensor 142B.

    [0039] The control module 160 includes a position module 153 that is configured to determine a first part position 156A (i.e., a position of a first location of a part relative to a stationary surface) based solely on a single first sensor signal 154A and a second part position 156B (i.e., a position of a second location of the part relative to a stationary surface). In the illustrated embodiment, the first part position 156A is a first position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 (i.e., a position of a first location of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114) and the second part position 156B is a second position of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114 (i.e., a position of a second location of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114). Like the position module 152, the position module 153 stores predetermined positional data 159 in a database or memory, which is shown in the form of a chart in Figure 7. In a manner similar to the positional data 158, the positional data 159 correlates the unique magnetic signatures, the magnetic field sources, and the first part positions associated with the first position sensor 140A and separately correlates the unique magnetic signatures, the magnetic fields 146A-146O, the magnetic field sources 145A-145O, and the second part positions associated with the second position sensor 140B. Although the system 139 is shown as having two position sensors for monitoring the position of a part, in other embodiments, the system 139 can have three or more position sensors for more precisely monitoring the position of the part and the position module 153 can be configured to determine three or more part positions associated with each of the three or more position sensors.

    [0040] The control module 160 further includes an aspect module 162 that is configured to determine a positional aspect of a part (e.g., first part) relative to another part (e.g., second part). The position aspect of a part can be one or more of a skew of the part, an orientation of the part, and an angular motion of the part relative to another part. The aspect module 162 determines the positional aspect of the part by comparing the first part position 156A to the second part position 156B. The positional aspect determined by the aspect module 162 is represented by an aspect indicator 164 that can be communicated to other systems for further processing.

    [0041] Generally, the aspect module 162 determines the positional aspect of the part by monitoring differences between the first part position 156A and the second part position 156B and correlating the positional aspect to the differences. Accordingly, in some implementations, comparing the first part position 156A to the second part position 156B includes determining a difference between the first part position 156A and the second part position 156B.

    [0042] For example, referring to Figures 8-10, the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B are shown in different positions relative to each other to indicate varying levels of skew of the slat 130 relative to the wing 114. According to one embodiment, under normal operating conditions, the slat 130 is controlled to move without skew in a uniformly linear manner in either the extension direction 134 or the retraction direction 136. In other words, according to such an embodiment, the end portions 135, 137 are co-movable (i.e., do not move relative to each other) move together at the same time, at the same rate, in the same direction (e.g., either the extension direction 134 or the retraction direction 136), and the same distance. Accordingly, the slat 130 is unskewed when the first and second part positions 156A, 156B are the same. Any skew of the slat 130 caused by one of the end portions 135, 137 moving linearly in a non-uniform manner relative to the other of the end portions 135, 137 is undesired. Therefore, the aspect module 162 determines a skew of the slat 130 when the first and second part positions 156A, 156B, corresponding to the positions of the end portions 135, 137, respectively, are different or non-uniform.

    [0043] Referring to Figure 8, which illustrates the positions of the magnetic position indicator and the magnetic field sensor for both of the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B when the slat 130 is not skewed, the first magnetic field sensor 142A senses the magnetic field corresponding with the magnetic field source in the same position as the magnetic field source generating the magnetic field being sensed by the second magnetic field sensor 142B. More specifically, as shown, the first magnetic field sensor 142A senses the magnetic field 146C associated with the magnetic field source 145C of the first magnetic position indicator 144A, which is tied to a particular position (e.g., Position 2 from positional data 159) of the end portion 135 of the slat 130, and the second magnetic field sensor 142B senses the magnetic field 146C associated with the magnetic field source 145C of the second magnetic position indicator 144B, which is tied to the same particular position (e.g., Position 2) of the end portion 137 of the slat 130. Because the opposing end portions 135, 137 are in the same positions (e.g., Position 2), the slat 130 is not skewed. In such a situation, the aspect module 162 generates an aspect indicator 164 that indicates no skew of the slat 130.

    [0044] Referring to Figure 9, which illustrates the positions of the magnetic position indicator and the magnetic field sensor for both of the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B when the slat 130 is slightly skewed, the first magnetic field sensor 142A senses the magnetic field corresponding with the magnetic field source in a different position as the magnetic field source generating the magnetic field being sensed by the second magnetic field sensor 142B. More specifically, as shown, the first magnetic field sensor 142A senses the magnetic field 146D associated with the magnetic field source 145D of the first magnetic position indicator 144A, which is tied to a particular position (e.g., Position 3 from positional data 159) of the end portion 135 of the slat 130, and the second magnetic field sensor 142B senses the magnetic field 146C associated with the magnetic field source 145C of the second magnetic position indicator 144B, which is tied to a different position (e.g., Position 2) of the end portion 137 of the slat 130. In other words, the end portion 135 has moved, but the end portion 137 has not. Because the opposing end portions 135, 137 are in different positions (e.g., Positions 3 and 2, respectively), the slat 130 is skewed. But, in view of the slight difference in distance between Positions 2 and 3 (i.e., only one position apart), the skew of the slat 130 is only slight or minor. In such a situation, the aspect module 162 generates an aspect indicator 164 that indicates a slight or minor skew of the slat 130.

    [0045] Referring to Figure 10, which illustrates the positions of the magnetic position indicator and the magnetic field sensor for both of the first position sensor 140A and the second position sensor 140B when the slat 130 is significantly skewed, the first magnetic field sensor 142A senses the magnetic field corresponding with the magnetic field source in a different position as the magnetic field source generating the magnetic field being sensed by the second magnetic field sensor 142B. More specifically, as shown, the first magnetic field sensor 142A senses the magnetic field 146E associated with the magnetic field source 145E of the first magnetic position indicator 144A, which is tied to a particular position (e.g., Position 4 from positional data 159) of the end portion 135 of the slat 130, and the second magnetic field sensor 142B senses the magnetic field 146C associated with the magnetic field source 145C of the second magnetic position indicator 144B, which is tied to a different position (e.g., Position 2) of the end portion 137 of the slat 130. Because the opposing end portions 135, 137 are in different positions (e.g., Positions 4 and 2, respectively), the slat 130 is skewed. In view of the more significant difference in distance between Positions 2 and 4 (i.e., two positions apart), the skew of the slat 130 is significant or major. In such a situation, the aspect module 162 generates an aspect indicator 164 that indicates a significant or major skew of the slat 130, which can be quantified. Of course, more significant skewing of the slat 130 can occur and be detected and quantified by the system 139.

    [0046] According to some configurations, relative movement of opposing or different locations on a part is desired, such as for a part that desirably rotates or twists when actuated. In such configurations, it may be desirable to know the relative positions of the opposing or different locations to ensure the part is rotating or twisting at a desired angular motion (e.g., speed) or orientation. In such configurations, the aspect module 162 is configured to monitor the differences between the first part position 156A and the second part position 156B and associate the differences with an orientation or angular motion of the part. For example, by monitoring changes in the relative positions of opposing locations on a part, the aspect module 162 determines the orientation (e.g., angle) of the part relative to another part. In such an example, the aspect indicator 164 indicates an orientation of the part. In an alternative example, the aspect module 162 not only monitors changes in the relative positions of opposing locations on a part, but also monitors the timing of changes in the relative positions of the opposing locations. By knowing how long it takes opposing locations on a part to change relative to each other, an angular motion (e.g., rate of change or angular speed) of the part can be determined. In such an alternative example, the aspect indicator 164 indicates an angular motion of the part.

    [0047] Now referring to Figure 11, one embodiment of a method 200 of determining a positional relationship between a first part and a second part is shown. The first part is movable relative to the second part. The method 200 includes generating a first magnetic field at a first location of the part at 202 and generating a second magnetic field at a second location of the part at 204. The first location can be immediately adjacent the second location such that no gaps are present between the first and second magnetic fields. A magnetic signature of the first magnetic field is different than a magnetic signature of the second magnetic field. At 206, the method 200 includes detecting the magnetic signature of one of the first magnetic field or the second magnetic field. The method 200 additionally includes determining a first position of the first part relative to the second part based on a detected magnetic signature of one of the first magnetic field or the second magnetic field at 208. In some implementations, the method 200 ends at step 208.

    [0048] However, in other implementations, the method 200 continues to generate a third magnetic field at a third location of the part at 210 and generate a fourth magnetic field at a fourth location of the part at 212. The third location and fourth location are spaced away from the first location and the second location. Furthermore, a magnetic signature of the third magnetic field is different than a magnetic signature of the fourth magnetic field. The method 200 also includes detecting the magnetic signature of one of the third magnetic field or the fourth magnetic field at 214. The method 200 further includes determining a second position of the first part relative to the second part based on a detected magnetic signature of one of the third magnetic field or the fourth magnetic field at 216. In some implementations, the method 200 additionally includes determining one of an orientation, an angular motion, or a skew of the first part relative to the second part based on a comparison between the first position and the second position at 218.


    Claims

    1. An aircraft having a first part (130) constituted by an adjustable aerodynamic surface of the aircraft and a second part (114) constituted by a surface of the aircraft relative to which the adjustable aerodynamic surface moves, or vice versa, comprising a system for determining a positional relationship between the first part (130) and the second part (114), wherein the first part (130) is movable relative to the second part (114), wherein the system comprises:

    a first magnetic position indicator (144A), non-movably fixed to one of the first part (130) at a first location of the first part (130) or the second part (114) at a second location of the second part (114), and comprising a plurality of first magnetic field sources positioned along a length of the first magnetic position indicator (144A), said first magnetic field sources being aligned to each other along a straight line, wherein each first magnetic field source of the plurality of first magnetic field sources generates a first magnetic field having a first unique magnetic signature;

    a first magnetic field sensor (142A), non-movably fixed to the other one of the first part (130) at the first location of the first part (130) or the second part (114) at the second location of the second part (114), and configured to detect the first unique magnetic signatures of the first magnetic fields generated by the plurality of first magnetic field sources of the first magnetic position indicator (144A); and

    a second magnetic position indicator (144B), non-movably fixed to one of the first part (130) at a third location of the first part (130) or the second part (114) at a fourth location of the second part (114), and comprising a plurality of second magnetic field sources positioned along a length of the second magnetic position indicator (144B), said second magnetic field sources being aligned to each other along a straight line, wherein each second magnetic field source of the plurality of second magnetic field sources generates a second magnetic field having a second unique magnetic signature; and

    - a second magnetic field sensor (142B), non-movably fixed to the other one of the first part (130) at the third location of the first part (130) or the second part (114) at the fourth location of the second part (114), and configured to detect the second unique magnetic signatures of the second magnetic fields generated by the plurality of second magnetic field sources of the second magnetic position indicator (144B);

    - a position module (152; 153), configured to receive a detected first unique magnetic signature from the first magnetic field sensor (142A) and to determine a first position of the first part (130) relative to the second part (114) based on the detected first unique magnetic signature, as well as a detected second unique magnetic signature from the second magnetic field sensor and to determine a second position of the first part relative (130) to the second part (114) based on the detected second unique magnetic signature,

    - the position module (152; 153) storing positional data that correlate a respective one of a plurality of different positions of the first part (130) relative to the second part (114) to each of the respective first and second unique magnetic signatures of the respective first and second magnetic fields;

    wherein the system further comprises an aspect module (162), configured to determine an orientation, an angular motion and a skew of the first part (130) relative to the second part (114) based on a comparison between the first position and the second position determined by the position module (152; 153).


     
    2. The aircraft according to claim 1, wherein the position module (152; 153) is further configured to determine the first position of the first part (130) relative to the second part (114) based on the detected first unique magnetic signature without reliance on previously detected first unique magnetic signatures and without reliance on a known direction of movement of the first part (130) relative to the second part (114).
     
    3. The aircraft of any one of the preceding claims, wherein said first part is a slat (130), or an aileron (124), or a spoiler (128), or a rudder (122), or an elevator (120), and said second part is a wing (114) or a vertical stabilizer (116) or a horizontal stabilizer (118), or vice versa.
     


    Ansprüche

    1. Luftfahrzeug mit einem ersten Teil (130), das durch eine einstellbare aerodynamische Fläche des Luftfahrzeugs gebildet wird, und einem zweiten Teil (114), das durch eine Fläche des Luftfahrzeugs gebildet wird, relativ zu der sich die einstellbare aerodynamische Fläche bewegt, oder umgekehrt, aufweisend ein System zum Bestimmen eines Positionsverhältnisses zwischen dem ersten Teil (130) und dem zweiten Teil (114), wobei das erste Teil (130) relativ zu dem zweiten Teil (114) beweglich ist, wobei das System aufweist:

    einen ersten magnetischen Positionsindikator (144A), der an dem ersten Teil (130) an einem ersten Ort des ersten Teils (130) oder an den zweiten Teil (114) an einem zweiten Ort des zweiten Teils (114) unbeweglich fixiert ist und der eine Vielzahl von ersten magnetischen Feldquellen aufweist, die entlang einer Länge des ersten magnetischen Positionsindikators (144A) positioniert sind, wobei die ersten magnetischen Feldquellen entlang einer geraden Linie zueinander ausgerichtet sind, wobei jede erste magnetische Feldquelle der Vielzahl von ersten magnetischen Feldquellen ein erstes Magnetfeld mit einer ersten einzigartigen magnetischen Signatur erzeugt;

    ein erster Magnetfeldsensor (142A), der unbeweglich an dem anderen ersten Teil (130) an dem ersten Ort des ersten Teils (130) oder an dem zweiten Teil (114) an dem zweiten Ort des zweiten Teils (114) fixiert ist und der eingerichtet ist, die ersten einzigartigen magnetischen Signaturen der ersten Magnetfelder zu erfassen, die durch die Vielzahl von ersten magnetischen Feldquellen des ersten magnetischen Positionsindikators (144A) erzeugt werden; und

    ein zweiter magnetischer Positionsindikator (144B), der unbeweglich an dem ersten Teil (130) an einem dritten Ort des ersten Teils (130) oder an dem zweiten Teil (114) an einem vierten Ort des zweiten Teils (114) fixiert ist und der eine Vielzahl von zweiten magnetischen Feldquellen aufweist, die entlang einer Länge des zweiten magnetischen Positionsindikators (144B) positioniert sind, wobei die zweiten magnetischen Feldquellen zueinander entlang einer geraden Linie ausgerichtet sind, wobei jede zweite magnetische Feldquelle der Vielzahl von zweiten magnetischen Feldquellen ein zweites Magnetfeld mit einer zweiten einzigartigen magnetischen Signatur erzeugt; und

    - einen zweiten Magnetfeldsensor (142B), der unbeweglich an dem anderen des ersten Teils (130) an dem dritten Ort des ersten Teils (130) oder an dem zweiten Teil (114) an dem vierten Ort des zweiten Teils (114) fixiert ist und der eingerichtet ist, die zweiten einzigartigen magnetischen Signaturen der zweiten Magnetfelder zu erfassen, die durch die Vielzahl von zweiten magnetischen Feldquellen des zweiten magnetischen Positionsindikators (144B) erzeugt werden;

    - ein Positionsmodul (152; 153), das eingerichtet ist, eine erfasste erste einzigartige magnetische Signatur vom ersten Magnetfeldsensor (142A) zu empfangen und eine erste Position des ersten Teils (130) relativ zum zweiten Teil (114) basierend auf der erfassten ersten einzigartigen magnetischen Signatur zu bestimmen wie auch eine erfasste zweite einzigartige magnetische Signatur von dem zweiten Magnetfeldsensor zu empfangen und eine zweite Position des ersten Teils relativ (130) zu dem zweiten Teil (114) basierend auf der erfassten zweiten einzigartigen magnetischen Signatur zu bestimmen,

    - wobei das Positionsmodul (152; 153) Positionsdaten speichert, die jeweilige Position von einer Vielzahl von unterschiedlichen Positionen des ersten Teils (130) relativ zu dem zweiten Teil (114) mit jeder der jeweiligen ersten und zweiten einzigartigen magnetischen Signaturen der jeweiligen ersten und zweiten Magnetfelder korreliert;

    wobei das System ferner ein Aspektmodul (162) aufweist, das eingerichtet ist, eine Ausrichtung, eine Winkelbewegung und einen Versatz des ersten Teils (130) relativ zu dem zweiten Teil (114) basierend auf einem Vergleich zwischen der ersten Position und der zweiten Position zu bestimmen, die durch das Positionsmodul (152; 153) bestimmt werden.


     
    2. Luftfahrzeug nach Anspruch 1, wobei das Positionsmodul (152; 153) ferner eingerichtet ist, die erste Position des ersten Teils (130) relativ zu dem zweiten Teil (114) basierend auf der erfassten ersten einzigartigen magnetischen Signatur ohne Verlass auf zuvor erfasste erste einzigartige magnetische Signaturen und ohne Verlass auf eine bekannte Richtung einer Bewegung des ersten Teils (130) relativ zu dem zweiten Teil (114) zu bestimmen.
     
    3. Luftfahrzeug nach einem der vorhergehenden Ansprüche, wobei das erste Teil ein Vorflügel (130) oder ein Querruder (124) oder eine Störklappe (128) oder ein Ruder (122) oder ein Höhenruder (120) ist und wobei das zweite Teil ein Flügel (114) oder ein Seitenleitwerk (116) oder ein Höhenleitwerk (118) ist, oder umgekehrt.
     


    Revendications

    1. Aéronef ayant une première partie (130) constituée d'une surface aérodynamique ajustable de l'aéronef et une seconde partie (114) constituée d'une surface de l'aéronef par rapport à laquelle la surface aérodynamique ajustable se déplace, ou vice versa, comprenant un système pour déterminer une relation positionnelle entre la première partie (130) et la seconde partie (114), dans lequel la première partie (130) peut être déplacée par rapport à la seconde partie (114), dans lequel le système comprend :

    un premier indicateur de position magnétique (144A), fixé de manière à ne pas pouvoir se déplacer à l'une de la première partie (130) à un premier emplacement de la première partie (130) ou de la seconde partie (114) à un deuxième emplacement de la seconde partie (114), et comprenant une pluralité de premières sources de champ magnétique positionnées le long d'une longueur du premier indicateur de position magnétique (144A), lesdites premières sources de champ magnétique étant alignées l'une à l'autre le long d'une ligne droite, dans lequel chaque première source de champ magnétique de la pluralité de premières sources de champ magnétique génère un premier champ magnétique ayant une première signature magnétique unique ;

    un premier capteur de champ magnétique (142A), fixé de manière à ne pas pouvoir se déplacer à l'autre de la première partie (130) au premier emplacement de la première partie (130) ou de la seconde partie (114) au deuxième emplacement de la seconde partie (114), et configuré pour détecter les premières signatures magnétiques uniques des premiers champs magnétiques générés par la pluralité de premières sources de champ magnétique du premier indicateur de position magnétique (144A) ; et

    un second indicateur de position magnétique (144B), fixé de manière à ne pas pouvoir se déplacer à l'une de la première partie (130) à un troisième emplacement de la première partie (130) ou de la seconde partie (114) à un quatrième emplacement de la seconde partie (114), et comprenant une pluralité de secondes sources de champ magnétique positionnées le long d'une longueur du second indicateur de position magnétique (144B), lesdites secondes sources de champ magnétique étant alignées l'une à l'autre le long d'une ligne droite, dans lequel chaque seconde source de champ magnétique de la pluralité de secondes sources de champ magnétique génère un second champ magnétique ayant une seconde signature magnétique unique ; et

    - un second capteur de champ magnétique (142B), fixé de manière à ne pas pouvoir se déplacer à l'autre de la première partie (130) au troisième emplacement de la première partie (130) ou de la seconde partie (114) au quatrième emplacement de la seconde partie (114), et configuré pour détecter les secondes signatures magnétiques uniques des seconds champs magnétiques générés par la pluralité de secondes sources de champ magnétique du second indicateur de position magnétique (144B) ;

    - un module de position (152 ; 153), configuré pour recevoir une première signature magnétique unique détectée en provenance du premier capteur de champ magnétique (142A) et pour déterminer une première position de la première partie (130) par rapport à la seconde partie (114) sur la base de la première signature magnétique unique détectée, ainsi qu'une seconde signature magnétique unique détectée en provenance du second capteur de champ magnétique et pour déterminer une seconde position de la première partie (130) par rapport à la seconde partie (114) sur la base de la seconde signature magnétique unique détectée,

    - le module de position (152 ; 153) stockant des données positionnelles qui corrèlent l'une respective d'une pluralité de positions différentes de la première partie (130) par rapport à la seconde partie (114) avec chacune des première et seconde signatures magnétiques uniques respectives des premier et second champs magnétiques respectifs ;

    dans lequel le système comprend en outre un module d'aspect (162), configuré pour déterminer une orientation, un mouvement angulaire et une inclinaison de la première partie (130) par rapport à la seconde partie (114) sur la base d'une comparaison entre la première position et la seconde position déterminées par le module de position (152 ; 153).


     
    2. Aéronef selon la revendication 1, dans lequel le module de position (152 ; 153) est en outre configuré pour déterminer la première position de la première partie (130) par rapport à la seconde partie (114) sur la base de la première signature magnétique unique détectée sans tenir compte des premières signatures magnétiques uniques précédemment détectées et sans tenir compte d'un sens connu de déplacement de la première partie (130) par rapport à la seconde partie (114).
     
    3. Aéronef selon l'une quelconque des revendications précédentes, dans lequel ladite première partie est un bec de bord d'attaque (130), ou un aileron (124), ou un spoiler (128), ou une gouverne de direction (122), ou un élévateur (120), et ladite seconde partie est une aile (114) ou un stabilisateur vertical (116) ou un stabilisateur horizontal (118), ou vice versa.
     




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    Cited references

    REFERENCES CITED IN THE DESCRIPTION



    This list of references cited by the applicant is for the reader's convenience only. It does not form part of the European patent document. Even though great care has been taken in compiling the references, errors or omissions cannot be excluded and the EPO disclaims all liability in this regard.

    Patent documents cited in the description