Eigenmode distortion as a novel criterion for motion cueing fidelity in rotorcraft flight simulation

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Miletovic, I.
Pavel, M.D.
Stroosma, O.
Paassen, M.M. van
Wentink, M.
Mulder, M.
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Eigenmode distortion (EMD) is a novel methodology developed to study the degradation of perceived vehicle dynamics as a result of motion cueing algorithms (MCA's) applied in rotorcraft flight simulators. This paper briefly introduces EMD and subsequently describes its application in a pilot-in-the-loop experiment conducted on the SIMONA Research Simulator at Delft University of Technology. The experiment considers a precision hover task performed by two test pilots in three different motion cueing conditions. Each of the evaluated conditions is devised such to best reproduce one of the vehicle modes (pitch/heave subsidences and phugoid) simulated using an independently developed, three degree-of-freedom, longitudinal, nonlinear model of the AH-64 Apache helicopter. The experiment yielded a number of interesting results. For example, the mode participation factors (MPFs) computed using recorded model states showed that the unstable phugoid mode dominates the overall dynamic response in all conditions evaluated. Also, based on the relative distribution of MPF's across the three motion conditions, some indication of a change in pilot control behaviour as a result of motion cues (or lack thereof) was exposed. Finally, subjective pilot ratings suggest that the motion cueing condition optimized for the pitch subsidence mode is preferred, even though this is not the dominant mode in the vehicle's response. The condition corresponding to the heave subsidence mode (i.e., only vertical motion cues) is appreciated least.