Towards validation of a dynamic interface simulation using flight test data

Tyler Christoffel, Christopher Hendrick, Regis Thedin, Sven Schmitz, Joseph Horn

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

2 Scopus citations


A method for developing and performing a rotorcraft flight simulation in a bluff body airwake is investigated and compared to flight test data. This method is broadly composed of two parts: an atmospheric boundary layer computational solution that is unsteady and time-accurate, and a UH-60 flight dynamics program that can be coupled with an airwake developed from the atmospheric boundary layer solution. The flight dynamics program is a MATLAB/SIMULINK implementation of the GENHEL model. The computational fluid dynamics airwake solution is developed to recreate the airwake present for the validation case flight tests that were used to collect the flight test data.The validation case flight test data was collected from a variety of station-keeping tasks performed in the wake of a hangar on land. Two kinds of flight simulations were performed: piloted simulations in a flight simulator facility and flight simulations performed using a pilot model. Comparisons of the power spectral density analyses of pilot control stick activity reveal that pilots in the simulated flight tests use a generally higher level of control activity energy than the pilots of the flight test validation case. Limited simulator flight test data showed sizeable differences in pilot control activity for the same simulated flight task flown by different pilots. Significant unknowns remain in comparing a simulated flight to a physical flight. The pilot model was not used to compare simulated flights to validation case flights, but was useful for comparing different flight simulation cases to each other as well as for analyzing sensitivity of flight simulations to positioning error within a simulated airwake. The pilot model flight simulations show that flight tasks performed in an airwake produced using a high-fidelity atmospheric boundary layer simulation require more pilot control input power than airwakes made using a comparable mean wind speed uniform inflow.

Original languageEnglish (US)
StatePublished - 2020
EventVertical Flight Society's 76th Annual Forum and Technology Display - Virtual, Online
Duration: Oct 5 2020Oct 8 2020


ConferenceVertical Flight Society's 76th Annual Forum and Technology Display
CityVirtual, Online

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Control and Systems Engineering


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