Analysis of Helicopter Flight Dynamics through Modeling and Simulation of Primary Flight Control Actuation System

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A simplified second-order transfer function actuator model used in most flight dynamics applications cannot easily capture the effects of different actuator parameters. The present work integrates a nonlinear actuator model into a nonlinear state space rotorcraft model to determine the effect of actuator parameters on key flight dynamics.

The completed actuator model was integrated with a swashplate kinematics where step responses were generated over a range of key hydraulic parameters. The actuator-swashplate system was then introduced into a nonlinear state space rotorcraft simulation where flight dynamics quantities such as bandwidth and phase delay analyzed.

Frequency sweeps were simulated for unique actuator configurations using the coupled nonlinear actuator-rotorcraft system. The software package CIFER was used for system identification and compared directly to the linearized models. As the actuator became rate saturated, the effects on bandwidth and phase delay were apparent on the predicted handling qualities specifications.