In general, fighters
operate more often at the extremes of the envelope, often flying
at maximum lift for minimum radius turns. For other applications,
AOA minimizes the pilot (usually single-place) workload by giving
a simple target to fly. AOA is accurate enough for these applications.
In addition, the higher sweep and lower aspect ratio of the wing
reduce the sensitivity to AOA errors.
AOA has proved particularly
useful for approach to aircraft carriers, where it is important
to maintain a consistent approach attitude for each landing. In
this case, “backside” approach techniques are used, where glide
path is controlled primarily by changes in thrust while the aircraft
is held at a fixed AOA. Use of this technique during approach on
commercial jet airplanes would be contrary to the pitch commands
provided by the flight director bars, and to the speed hold mode
of the autothrottle, which is often used during approach.
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