Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Realistic training for extreme flight conditions

28.12.2016

New simulation software improves helicopter pilot training

Missions at sea, in mountainous regions or close to skyscrapers are extremely risky for helicopter pilots. The turbulent air flows near oil rigs, ships, cliffs and tall buildings can throw a helicopter off balance and cause a crash. To provide pilots with optimal preparation for these challenging conditions, engineers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) are developing new simulation software.


This is a simulation of a helicopter-landing on a ship.

Credit: Chair of Helicopter Technology / TUM

Providing helicopter pilots with the best possible preparation for extreme situations: That is the goal of the new simulation software being developed by researchers working at TUM's Chair of Helicopter Technology. For the first time, real-time computational analysis will be implemented for both fluid mechanics and flight dynamics.

"Until now, flight simulators have not adequately reflected the reality of flying in close proximity to large objects," says Dr. Juergen Rauleder. "The problem is that, when it comes to wind conditions and the response of the helicopter, existing programs follow a rigid pattern. That means that local variations and changing conditions are not taken into account - unless the entire flow environment is known in advance."

But it is the unforeseen air flows that can be the most treacherous: For example, a moving ship causes air turbulence and sudden local shifts in wind speed known by specialists as "ship airwake flow". It changes continually through wave action and fluctuating inflow conditions. In addition, turbulence occurs near the deck, the bridge and other ship structures.

As a helicopter approaches the ship, there is interference between these air currents and the flow produced by the rotors. Conditions near a mountain slope or next to high buildings are similarly complicated. In all of these cases, the helicopter's flight characteristics are influenced by complex and overlapping aerodynamic effects.

Stress for pilots and machines

Dealing with those situations takes a lot of skill and practice, both of which can currently be acquired only through on-the-job training. To become adept at landing on a ship in heavy seas, for example, a student pilot has to repeat this tricky situation dozens of times with an experienced flight instructor. That's the only way to gain the necessary experience to compensate for the complex interplay of air flows through perfectly timed adjustments to the pitch of the rotor blades.

"Conventional training is expensive, risky and very stressful for student pilots. It also imposes heavy demands on the aircraft: Because the first attempts usually result in rather hard landings, the dampers and landing gear take quite a beating," explains Rauleder.

Flow fields and flight dynamics all in one

His team has now developed a simulation program that combines flow mechanics and flight dynamics in real time: "The numerical model is extremely flexible and does not depend on stored flow data. We only have to enter the external conditions such as topography, global wind speeds and the helicopter type. During the simulation, our algorithms use that data to continuously compute the interacting flow field at the virtual helicopter's current location," the engineer explains.

The new program also lets pilots instantly "feel" the impact of the local air flows on the helicopter. This allows them to try out the effects of their control movements in a stress-free situation: perfect preparation for a soft landing that is easy on the aircraft. The potential of this method has attracted international interest, including from the U.S. Office of Naval Research, which is contributing funding under the auspices of its basic research program.

The ultimate test for flight simulators: reality

The TUM researchers have successfully validated the new real-time simulation with established reference models. All that is left to do is the biggest test of all: the reality check. To find out whether the virtual models actually reflect conditions at sea, the engineers are cooperating with researchers at the U.S. Naval Academy, the George Washington University and the University of Maryland.

The specialists in Washington have measured air flows on a ship using hundreds of sensors. To check the flight dynamics, the TUM team will also be using in-flight data collected by the German Aerospace Center (DLR). "The validation of the models and testing of our simulation environment by experienced pilots in our research simulator is enormously important for our developments," says Rauleder. "That's the only way we can ensure that the simulator training provides student pilots with optimal preparation for tough missions."

###

Publication:

J. Bludau, J. Rauleder, L. Friedmann, M. Hajek: Real-Time Simulation of Rotor Inflow using a Coupled Flight Dynamics and Fluid Dynamics Simulation, Deutscher Luft- und Raumfahrtkongress 2016, Braunschweig

Contact:

Technical University of Munich
Dr. Juergen Rauleder
+49 (0)89 / 289-16303
juergen.rauleder@tum.de

Media Contact

Stefanie Reiffert
reiffert@zv.tum.de
49-892-891-0519

 @TU_Muenchen

http://www.tum.de 

Stefanie Reiffert | EurekAlert!

More articles from Transportation and Logistics:

nachricht Study sets new distance record for medical drone transport
13.09.2017 | Johns Hopkins Medicine

nachricht Researchers 'count cars' -- literally -- to find a better way to control heavy traffic
10.08.2017 | Florida Atlantic University

All articles from Transportation and Logistics >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Researchers Develop Data Bus for Quantum Computer

The quantum world is fragile; error correction codes are needed to protect the information stored in a quantum object from the deteriorating effects of noise. Quantum physicists in Innsbruck have developed a protocol to pass quantum information between differently encoded building blocks of a future quantum computer, such as processors and memories. Scientists may use this protocol in the future to build a data bus for quantum computers. The researchers have published their work in the journal Nature Communications.

Future quantum computers will be able to solve problems where conventional computers fail today. We are still far away from any large-scale implementation,...

Im Focus: Wrinkles give heat a jolt in pillared graphene

Rice University researchers test 3-D carbon nanostructures' thermal transport abilities

Pillared graphene would transfer heat better if the theoretical material had a few asymmetric junctions that caused wrinkles, according to Rice University...

Im Focus: Support Free with “TwoCure” – Innovation in Resin-Based 3D Printing

The Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology ILT and Rapid Shape GmbH are working together to further develop resin-based 3D printing. The new “TwoCure” process requires no support structures and is significantly more efficient and productive than conventional 3D printing techniques for plastic components. Experts from Fraunhofer ILT will be presenting the state-funded joint development that makes use of the interaction of light and cold in forming the components at formnext 2017 from November 14 to 17 in Frankfurt am Main.

Much like stereolithography, one of the best-known processes for printing 3D plastic components works using photolithographic light exposure that causes liquid...

Im Focus: Researchers develop chip-scale optical abacus

A team of researchers led by Prof. Wolfram Pernice from the Institute of Physics at Münster University has developed a miniature abacus on a microchip which calculates using light signals. With it they are paving the way to the development of new types of computer in which, as in the human brain, the computing and storage functions are combined in one element.

Researchers at the universities of Münster, Exeter and Oxford have developed a miniature “abacus” which can be used for calculating with light signals. With it...

Im Focus: Lightwave controlled nanoscale electron acceleration sets the pace

Extremely short electron bunches are key to many new applications including ultrafast electron microscopy and table-top free-electron lasers. A german team of physicists from Rostock University, the Max Born Institute in Berlin, the Ludwig-Maxmilians-Universität Munich, and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics in Garching has now shown how electrons can be accelerated in an extreme and well-controlled way with laser light, while crossing a silver particle of just a few nanometers.

Of particular importance for potential applications is the ability to manipulate the acceleration process, known as a swing-by maneuver from space travel, with...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

#Berlin5GWeek: The right network for Industry 4.0

30.10.2017 | Event News

3rd Symposium on Driving Simulation

23.10.2017 | Event News

ASEAN Member States discuss the future role of renewable energy

17.10.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum computing on the move

06.11.2017 | Information Technology

Fast Personalized Therapeutic Choices Thanks to the Light-Based Sorting of Biomolecules and Cells

06.11.2017 | Life Sciences

Dendritic fibrous nanosilica: all-in-one nanomaterial for energy, environment and health

06.11.2017 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>