San Antonio, Texas
June 10, 2012
June 10, 2012
June 13, 2012
25.1460.1 - 25.1460.7
Virtual Flight Test: An Effective Pedagogical ApproachEngineering students need to be exposed to important aspects such as teamwork, time and spacemanagement, planning engineering tasks, operations, analyses of results and presentations. Theseactivities are generally incorporated in capstone design. More recently aerospace engineeringcurricula have incorporated elements of building and flying along with design due to active supportfrom professional organizations such as the AIAA and SAE through their design/build/flycompetitions. However, an important element missing in this ‘product’ development cycle is that ofa formal activity in flight testing. Teaching of Flight Test Engineering (FTE) is part of aerospaceengineering curricula at some engineering schools across the US. For obvious reasons of high costincluding initial investment, continued operating costs and various Federal Aviation Administration(FAA) regulations, most of the aerospace engineering students in the US are not exposed to a hand-on experience in this important field. Availability of low-cost PC-based flight simulation software has proven to be a useful resource toteach aspects of FTE. The ‘virtual’ flight test can also complement the learning of various aspects ofaircraft performance, stability & control. Planning, managing, executing and analyzing data fromsuch a virtual flight test mission provides another opportunity to groom engineering students inthese important skills. This paper describes the integration of ‘virtual flight testing’ in anundergraduate Aircraft Stability & Control course using commercial off-the shelf software andhardware in an immersive flight simulation environment. The students conduct ‘virtual flight tests’to determine various parameters of an aircraft and compare their experimental results with thetheory. The students work in teams consisting of a flight test director, flight test pilot and flight testengineer. The planning, flying, data collection for the purposes of estimating the neutral point ofaircraft is a typical virtual flight test conducted by the students. The development work wasconducted as part of an NSF HBCU-UP grant. This approach is now being used routinely sinceseveral semesters and has been assessed through student surveys to be an enjoyable and effectivelearning approach. The paper provides details for implementation of the virtual flight testingapproach.
Khan, M. J., & Heath, B. E. (2012, June), Virtual Flight Test: An Effective Pedagogical Approach Paper presented at 2012 ASEE Annual Conference & Exposition, San Antonio, Texas. https://peer.asee.org/22217
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