Computer Modeling and Simulation for Helicopter Task Analysis

Period of Performance: 12/15/1998 - 06/15/1999


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Robert Heffley Engineering
349 First Street
Los Altos, CA 94022
Principal Investigator

Research Topics


The proposed Phase I SBIR program provides a means of analyzing and extending current methods of gathering simulator and in-flight assessments of helicopter flight tasks and maneuvers through application of task performance math models. The program employs innovative research in the areas of pilot modeling, rotorcraft inverse simulation modeling, pilot-vehicle-task analysis, and simulation. Sample tasks obtained from recent piloted simulations are analyzed to develop the important pilotage-task metrics, workload effects, safety considerations, and vehicle dynamic relations. The objectives include assembly of existing math model software for off-line simulation of ADS-33 helicopter pilot-vehicle-task models, validation of derived models, construction of two compelling task model examples, demonstration of parameter variations for pre-simulation or pre-flight study, and application of inverse simulation methodology. Project tasks follow these objectives, in order, and conclude with an outline for advanced software needs leading to a Phase II study. Phase II would extend the methodology to new tasks and classes of rotorcraft, extend to all axes of control and environmental conditions, and acquire needed simulator or in-flight validation data. Results of the SBIR Phases I and II extend both to military and commercial applications in engineering research and development as well as aircrew training and flight safety. Anticipated Benefits/Potential Commercial Applications of the Research or Development: Computer modeling and simulation for helicopter pilotage tasks provides a needed means for extending conventional simulator and in-flight data gathering as well as enhancing pre-test planning and post-test data analysis. The methodology can be applied to engineering modifications and upgrades to existing aircraft and to development of new aircraft. Additionally, the same techniques can be used in the areas of aircrew training where task performance and assessment can benefit from automated objective metrics. Examples of such benefits are already indicated in the literature for both military and commercial applications.