An Investigation of Large Tilt-Rotor Hover and Low Speed Handling Qualities
ARMY RESEARCH DEVELOPMENT AND ENGINEERING COMMAND MOFFETT FIELD CA AVIATION AEROFLIGHT DYNAMICS DIRECTORATE
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A piloted simulation experiment conducted on the NASA-Ames Vertical Motion Simulator evaluated the hover and low speed handling qualities of a large tilt-rotor concept, with particular emphasis on longitudinal and lateral position control. Ten experimental test pilots evaluated different combinations of Attitude Command-Attitude Hold ACAH and Translational Rate Command TRC response types, nacelle conversion actuator authority limits and inceptor choices. Pilots performed evaluations in revised versions of the ADS-33 Hover, Lateral Reposition and DepartAbort MTEs and moderate turbulence conditions. Level 2 handling qualities ratings were primarily recorded using ACAH response type in all three of the evaluation maneuvers. The baseline TRC conferred Level 1 handling qualities in the Hover MTE, but there was a tendency to enter into a PIO associated with nacelle actuator rate limiting when employing large, aggressive control inputs. Interestingly, increasing rate limits also led to a reduction in the handling qualities ratings. This led to the identification of a nacelle rate to rotor longitudinal flapping coupling effect that induced undesired, pitching motions proportional to the allowable amount of nacelle rate. A modification that counteracted this effect significantly improved the handling qualities. Evaluation of the different response type variants showed that inclusion of TRC response could provide Level 1 handling qualities in the Lateral Reposition maneuver by reducing coupled pitch and heave off axis responses that otherwise manifest with ACAH. Finally, evaluations in the DepartAbort maneuver showed that uncertainty about commanded nacelle position and ensuing aircraft response, when manually controlling the nacelle, demanded high levels of attention from the pilot. Additional requirements to maintain pitch attitude within - 5 deg compounded the necessary workload.