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HIGHLIGHTS ARCHIVE
09.16.09
Division Highlights

Contents
Large Civil Tilt-Rotor (LCTR) Experiment on the Vertical Motion Simulator: A simulation study on the VMS investigated flight dynamics and control requirements for a large tilt-rotor (similar in size to a Boeing 737) during a four-week long, joint NASA/Army, experiment in July 2009. The primary objective of this effort was to get an idea of pitch, roll, and yaw response bandwidth and phase delay requirements in the hover/low-speed regime for this type of aircraft. A secondary objective was to investigate how the longitudinal offset of the pilot from the aircraft center of gravity (cg) affects handling qualities. The motivation for this study came from the previous Stability Margin simulation conducted at the VMS. The results of this study indicated the need for yaw bandwidth reduction, potential changes to pitch and roll bandwidth, concerns with pilot offset from the cg, and possible actuator limiting problems with large tilt-rotor aircraft. Six experimental test pilots from NASA, the U.S. Army, and Bell Helicopter evaluated the handling qualities of the LCTR for a range of configurations with different response characteristics and pilot offsets using well-defined test maneuvers over a simulated Moffett Field visual database. Preliminary results suggest a limited range of acceptable pitch and roll characteristics, with an upper bound to the acceptable response bandwidth for this type of aircraft. The directional axis study indicates a wider range of acceptable yaw bandwidth, with a driving factor being ride comfort. Smaller pilot offsets resulted in handling qualities that were comparable to prior helicopter studies. The large motion capability of the VMS, with its ability to provide realistic horizontal and vertical motion cues, directly contributed to the pilots' ability to make the subtle control assessments required for this study. The objectives of the experiment were met, the researchers were satisfied, and the pilots were impressed with the simulation. One pilot commented that this was the best flight simulator he had flown, and that it felt “like the real thing.”

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Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck Project completes National Academies review: On September 3rd, the Integrated Intelligent Flight Deck (IIFD) Project completed a review by the National Academies Aeronautics and Space Engineering Board and Transportation Research Committee. The review focused upon the methods and metrics used by the project and the status of the project in its fourth year. The fifteen members of the committee included researchers from industry, academia, and other government agencies. The Principal Investigator for the IIFD Project presented an overview of the project and was followed by discussions with IIFD staff and members of the committee to answer individual questions in a small group setting for two and a half hours. These questions pertained to the IIFD project's Design and Analysis research element, as well as the Robust Automation for Human Systems. Topics included investigation of unmanned vehicles, human factors, and parallel approach research.

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