I was trying to find some details of Magic Carpet Control Law. It looks like prior to Magic carpet, F/A-18 had fully manual control of the glide slope, at least initially.
In a conventional carrier landing, the pilot follows an optical glideslope guidance from the
ship, with flaps deflected to a preset angle. If the aircraft descends
below the glideslope, the pilot has
to pull the stick back and pitch the
nose up to increase lift. This increases drag, so the pilot has to
add power to maintain speed, then
recover the original angle of attack
(alpha), and throttle back to avoid
Similarly, if the pilot wants to adjust the flight path towards left say, he would roll the jet towards left momentarily and then bing back the stick to centre again. But as Lift vector is tilted in this, there would be loss of altitude. The pilot would then have to adjust AoA to gain the altitude and for higher drag at higher AoA, he would also have to adjust throttle. Many many such small adjustments constantly for whole glide path and we are looking at some serious pilot work load.
I found mention of Direct lift control mode available for F/A-18 and F35C. So some work was done to reduce the pilot workload..
Compare this to Magic Carpet:
In a Magic Carpet approach,
the pilot can engage a “Delta
Path” law once the aircraft is on
the glideslope. The flight-control
system commands a reference
flightpath, in combination with pilot-entered ship speed, which corresponds to the optical signal from
the carrier. The aircraft will follow
this path automatically, with the
pilot correcting for any excursions.
A ship-relative velocity vector is
projected on the head-up display.
A major difference in the
Magic Carpet approach is that
the flaps are not fully deflected, and the flight control system uses them to add or reduce lift. If the aircraft falls below
the glideslope, the pilot still pulls
the stick back, but the control system deflects the flaps downward,
reducing descent rate at a constant alpha. Once the aircraft regains the glideslope, Magic Carpet
uses the flaps to readjust the vertical speed, again with no change
in alpha. The auto-throttle—which
on the Super Hornet is set to hold
a constant alpha at an airspeed
proportional to aircraft weight—will
make necessary adjustments.
Indranil is indicating that NLCA will have almost the same kind of automation level for Carrier Landing. Which would be at par with the state-of-the-art. Eventually we will have all the bells and whistles in the control system, including things like deck motion prediction and auto-correction of the Glide path accordingly, comparable to the best of the Naval figher in the world.