Simulation tools for UAV/OPV autorotation performance metrics evaluation

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Binet, L.
Brackbill, C.
Quinn, D.
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Under the framework of the US/France Project Agreement (PA) on Rotary Wing Aeromechanics and Human Factors Integration Research, ONERA and AED began to collaborate on helicopter autorotation capability in 2011. In 2017, a new joint task started, dedicated to improving control and guidance capability and defining requirements for implementation on rotary-wing UAV and OPV when operated in autorotation. This three-year program will investigate the enabling systems and technologies from an UAV automatic system to be used in an OPV for autorotation maneuver, thus taking the benefits of a full-automatic system to provide dedicated piloting aid functions. A modeling and simulation framework is proposed for designing, evaluating and testing flight control algorithms for helicopter autorotation flight. A common helicopter model and set of flight controllers have been developed and shared between ONERA and the US Army. Initial studies of the autorotation flare/landing metrics are presented and discussed, with a focus on using these metrics in the future to evaluate purpose-built automated autorotation controllers for UAV/OPV helicopters.