(Image source: MathWorks)

MathWorks rolls out major update to Aerospace Blockset

Natick, Massachusetts-based MathWorks – developer of MATLAB and Simulink software – has added flight control analysis tools to their Aerospace Blockset in release 2018b. The latest release gives aerospace designers the ability to understand the flight properties of the aircraft they are designing via flight dynamics and direct compatibility with flight simulation software.

When designing new aircraft, aerospace designers are required to comply with stringent design standards and regulations. In order to manage those requirements, engineering teams typically rely on Simulink and the DO Qualification Kit. And now, engineers working with proprietary or third-party tools for flight visualization and analysis can now perform that work directly within the modular Simulink environment, leveraging model-based design earlier in the design workflow to better maintain models and code.

The new update allows the use of aerodynamic coefficients or data compendium derivatives to model fixed-wing, rotary-wing, and multirotor vehicles. Built-in aerospace math operations and coordinate system and spatial transformations enable three-degrees-of-freedom and six-degrees-of-freedom behavior.

The blockset includes validated environment models for atmosphere, gravity, wind, geoid height, and magnetic field to represent flight conditions and increase simulation fidelity. Flight control analysis tools let you analyze the dynamic response and flying qualities of aerospace vehicles​.

Visualization example of an HL-20 simulation (Image source: MathWorks)

According to MathWorks companies are using this environment to mitigate program risk by sharing system specifications, analysis, and test data; reduce costly rework through early simulation of design; promote reuse by interfacing with existing tools, simulations, and legacy software; leverage new technologies by moving directly from internal research and development to production; and research emerging technologies such as cyber-physical systems.

To further reduce time between design and testing, engineers can develop continuous workflows from early design stages all the way through development and flight prototyping while sharing models across teams to make sure that all requirements are met.

“The ability to model, simulate, analyze, and visualize is critical to the highly regulated aerospace industry. That’s why Simulink has become the design environment of choice for these engineers,” says Paul Barnard, design automation marketing director, MathWorks.

“Now these teams can reduce design time even more, because they can iterate to reach prototyping in a few weeks instead of many months. This will help them meet development deadlines while ensuring high-fidelity and compliance with standards,” continues Barnard.

Additionally, the Aerospace Toolbox allows users to create custom interfaces to visualize the flight properties with standard cockpit flight instrumentation.

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William Kucinski is content editor at SAE International, Aerospace Products Group in Warrendale, Pa. Previously, he worked as a writer at the NASA Safety Center in Cleveland, Ohio and was responsible for writing the agency’s System Failure Case Studies. His interests include literally anything that has to do with space, past and present military aircraft, and propulsion technology.
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