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A virtual engineering approach to the ship-helicopter dynamic interface – a decade of modelling and simulation research at the University of Liverpool

  • I. Owen (a1), M. D. White (a1), G. D. Padfield (a1) and S. J. Hodge (a2)


This paper reviews some of the research that has been carried out at the University of Liverpool where the Flight Science and Technology Research Group has developed its Heliflight-R full-motion research simulator to create a simulation environment for the launch and recovery of maritime helicopters to ships. HELIFLIGHT-R has been used to conduct flight trials to produce simulated Ship-Helicopter Operating Limits (SHOLs). This virtual engineering approach has led to a much greater understanding of how the dynamic interface between the ship and the helicopter contributes to the pilot's workload and the aircraft's handling qualities and will inform the conduct of future real-world SHOL trials. The paper also describes how modelling and simulation has been applied to the design of a ship's superstructure to improve the aerodynamic flow field in which the helicopter has to operate. The superstructure aerodynamics also affects the placement of the ship's anemometers and the dispersion of the ship's hot exhaust gases, both of which affect the operational envelope of the helicopter, and both of which can be investigated through simulation.


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This is a version of a paper first presented at the RAeS Virtual Engineering Conference held at Liverpool University, 8-10 November 2016.



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