Towards real-time pilot-in-the-loop CFD simulations of helicopter/ship dynamic interface

Ilker Oruc, Joseph F. Horn, Jeremy Shipman, Susan Polsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


This study presents the development of computationally efficient coupling of Navier-Stokes Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) with a helicopter flight dynamics model with the ultimate goal of real-time simulation of airwake effects in the helicopter/ship Dynamic Interface (DI). The flight dynamics model is free to move within a computational domain, where the main rotor forces are converted to source terms in the momentum equations of the CFD solution using an actuator disk model. Simultaneously, the CFD solver calculates induced velocities that are fed back to the simulation and affect the aerodynamic loads in the flight dynamics. The CFD solver models the inflow, ground effect and interactional aerodynamics in the flight dynamics simulation, and these calculations can be coupled with the solution of the external flow (e.g., ship airwake effects). The simulation framework for fully-coupled pilot-in-the-loop (PIL) flight dynamics/CFD is demonstrated for a simplified shedding wake. Initial tests were performed with 0.38 million structured grid cells running on 352 processors and showed near-real-time performance. Improvements to the coupling interface are described that allow the simulation run at near-real-time execution speeds on currently available computing platforms. Improvements in computing hardware are expected to allow real-time simulations.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number1743005
JournalInternational Journal of Modeling, Simulation, and Scientific Computing
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modeling and Simulation
  • Computer Science Applications


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards real-time pilot-in-the-loop CFD simulations of helicopter/ship dynamic interface'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this