Identification and Augmentation of a Civil Light Helicopter: Transforming Helicopters Into Personal Aerial Vehicles (Paperback)
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The research described in this thesis was inspired by the results of the myCopter project, a European project funded by the European Commission in 2011. The myCopter project's aim was to identify new concepts for air transport that could be used to achieve a Personal Aerial Transport (PAT) system in the second half of the 21st century. Although designing a new vehicle was not among the project's goal, it was considered important to assess vehicle response types and handling qualities that Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAVs) should have to be part of a PAT. In this thesis it is proposed to consider civil light helicopters as possible PAVs candidates. The goal of the thesis is to investigate whether it is possible to transform civil light helicopters into PAVs through the use of system identification methods and control techniques. The transformation here is envisaged in terms of vehicle dynamics and handling qualities. To achieve this goal, three main steps are considered. The first step focuses on the identification of a Robinson R44 Raven II helicopter model in hover. The second step consists of augmenting the identified helicopter model to achieve response types and handling qualities defined for PAVs. The third step consists of assessing the magnitude of discrepancy between the two implemented augmented systems and the PAV reference model. An experiment is conducted for this purpose, consisting of piloted closed-loop control tasks performed in the MPI CyberMotion Simulator by participants without any prior flight experience. Results, evaluated in terms of objective and subjective workload and performance, show that both augmented control systems are able to resemble PAVs handling qualities and response types in piloted closed-loop control tasks. This result demonstrates that it is possible to transform helicopter dynamics into PAVs dynamics.