A closed loop experiment of collective bounce aeroelastic Rotorcraft – Pilot Coupling

Pierangelo, Masarati, Giuseppe, Quaranta, Lu, Linghai orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-2688-7944 and Michael, Jump (2014) A closed loop experiment of collective bounce aeroelastic Rotorcraft – Pilot Coupling. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 333 (20). pp. 307-325. ISSN 0022-460X

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jsv.2013.09.020


This work presents an experimental study that investigated the possibility of destabilising a rotorcraft by coupling the biomechanical behaviour of human subjects with the dynamics of the vehicle. The results of a study focused on the behaviour of pilots holding the collective control inceptor in a flight simulator are discussed. The motion of the flight simulation model was restricted to the heave axis, and augmented to include an elastic mode of vibration in addition to the rigid heave degree of freedom. Four different pilots flew several alternative model configurations with different elastic mode frequency and different collective pitch gearing ratios. This resulted in several observable unstable pilot–vehicle interactions at frequencies that cannot be traced back to the rotorcraft dynamics. Unstable oscillatory events evolving into limit cycle oscillations occurred most often at frequencies related to the biomechanics of the flight simulator occupant. They appeared to be task dependent and, in some cases, the trigger could be attributed to specific events. Additionally, it was found that the presence of collective friction alleviates but does not completely eliminate the unstable interactions between the pilot and the rotorcraft. Although not statistically meaningful because of the small set of human subjects available for the study, the results confirmed that the biomechanics transfer function of the pilot is the most influential aspect of the pilot–vehicle system that gives rise to the adverse vertical bounce phenomenon. Additionally, this study gave useful insight into the vehicle parameters that can adversely influence the involuntary interaction of pilots with rotorcraft.

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