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Design and Development of a Virtual Environment to Enable Interactive Teaching of Aircraft Flight Dynamics and Control Concepts (Work in Progress)

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2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access


Virtual On line

Publication Date

June 22, 2020

Start Date

June 22, 2020

End Date

June 26, 2021

Conference Session

Flight and Control Simulators for Virtual Learning

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Paper Authors


Eric Joseph Davies Saint Louis University

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Mr. Davies is a first year graduate student pursing a Master of Science in Aerospace Engineering at the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology from Saint Louis University.

Mr. Davies' educational and professional interest are in areas of Flight Dynamics and Control and Attitude Determination and Control of aircraft and spacecraft, with ambitions of working in a respective field upon graduation in May of 2021.

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Sagar Calnoor Rajashekar Saint Louis University

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Mr.Calnoor Rajashekar is a final year graduate student pursuing Master of Science in Computer Science at Arts and Sciences College from Saint Louis University.

Mr.Calnoor Rajashekar interest and passion are in building computer softwares to accomplish an end-to-end product. Mr.Calnoor Rajashekar is truly interested in computer networking domain and its interdisciplinary branch in field of UAS systems and its applications.

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Srikanth Gururajan Saint Louis University

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Dr. Srikanth Gururajan is an Assistant Professor of Aerospace Engineering at the Parks College of Engineering, Aviation and Technology at Saint Louis University.

Dr. Gururajan's teaching interests are in the areas of Flight Dynamics and Controls and believes that student aerospace design competitions are ideal avenues for students to express their creativity while complementing the knowledge gained in the classroom with hands-on experience as well as promoting greater collaboration and learning across disciplines.

Dr. Gururajan’s research interests are interdisciplinary and in the fields of fault tolerant flight control, parallel & distributed computing, real time systems, experimental flight testing using small UAS and UAS, and the design/development of natural language interaction with drones.

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Undergraduate students majoring in aerospace engineering are typically required attend courses which consist of the traditional classroom approach, including lecture presentations and handouts, making the learning process monotonous and repetitive. Even when discussing the more complex topics such as flight dynamics and aircraft controls, students are expected to develop a fundamental understanding while presented with material which is limited by the walls of a classroom. In recent years, innovative approaches to teaching, such as hands-on learning techniques are being adopted to increase student engagement and encourage long term learning and retention of these complex concepts. With the recent advances in virtual reality tools – including inexpensive hardware and commercial software, there is an opportunity to incorporate this virtual environment into a conventional course and bridge this disconnect between material limited by a physical classroom and realistic flight dynamics and controls.

In this student paper, we discuss the design and development of an interactive, Virtual Reality (VR) environment to aid in teaching the design of flight controllers using classical control techniques. This environment is being designed to provide a collaborative space where the user could manipulate objects (with their hands) representing poles and zeros of the dynamic system (aircraft) as well as the compensators. This interaction with the poles and zeros of a system will be tied to a controller design/validation tool in the background, so that the user will be able to visualize the results from the controller inputs on the dynamic system within the virtual environment. Such an environment will enable a user to visualize how the effects of controller design choices directly affect an aircraft’s performance – in both open loop and closed loop configurations.

Davies, E. J., & Calnoor Rajashekar, S., & Gururajan, S. (2020, June), Design and Development of a Virtual Environment to Enable Interactive Teaching of Aircraft Flight Dynamics and Control Concepts (Work in Progress) Paper presented at 2020 ASEE Virtual Annual Conference Content Access, Virtual On line . 10.18260/1-2--34390

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