A Review of Recent Programs and Future Plans for Rotorcraft In-Flight Simulation at Ames Research Center 912121

A new flight research vehicle, the Rotorcraft-Aircrew Systems Concepts Airborne Laboratory (RASCAL), is being developed by the U.S. Army and NASA at Ames Research Center. The requirements for this new facility stem from a perception of rotorcraft system technology requirements for the next decade together with operational experience with the Boeing Vertol CH-47B research helicopter that was operated as an in-flight simulator at Ames during the past 10 years. Accordingly, both the principal design features of the CH-47B variable-stability system and the flight-control and cockpit-display programs that were conducted using this aircraft at Ames are reviewed. Another U.S. Army helicopter, a Sikorsky UH-60A Black Hawk, has been selected as the baseline vehicle for the RASCAL. The research programs that influence the design of the RASCAL are summarized, and the resultant requirements for the RASCAL research system are described. These research programs include investigations of advanced, integrated control concepts for achieving high levels of agility and maneuverability, and guidance technologies, employing computer/sensor-aiding, designed to assist the pilot during low-altitude flight in conditions of limited visibility. The approach to the development of the new facility is presented and selected plans for the preliminary design of the RASCAL are described.


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