The Development, Validation, and Integration of Aircraft Carrier Airwakes for Piloted Flight Simulation

Kelly, MF
(2018) The Development, Validation, and Integration of Aircraft Carrier Airwakes for Piloted Flight Simulation. PhD thesis, University of Liverpool.

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This thesis reports on an investigation into the effects of ship airwake upon piloted aircraft operating to the United Kingdom’s newly commissioned Queen Elizabeth Class (QEC) aircraft carriers. Piloted flight simulation has been used to inform operation of aircraft to the ship, helping to identify potential wind-speeds/directions requiring high pilot workload prior to First of Class Flight Trials (FOCFT) aboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. The air flow over the QEC was generated using full-scale, time-accurate Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) at a range of wind azimuths, with the resultant airwakes incorporated into the flight simulators at both the University of Liverpool and BAE Systems Warton, enabling unsteady aerodynamic loads to be imposed upon rotary-wing and fixed-wing aircraft models, respectively. An additional CFD airwake was generated around a US Navy LHA helicopter carrier, and a comparison was made with real-world anemometer data in an attempt to validate the CFD method used for QEC. LHA at-sea measurements were found to be unreliable for CFD validation due to the inherent unpredictability of at-sea testing. As a result, an experimental validation experiment was recommended to validate the QEC CFD airwakes. A comparison was also made between LHA and QEC, with the twin-island QEC found to have increased turbulence gradient across the flight deck when compared with the single-island LHA. A description is given of the development of a novel Acoustic Doppler Velocimetry (ADV) experiment in a recirculating water channel, for which a 1:202 scale (1.4m) physical model of QEC was produced. To ensure spatial accuracy of ADV probe measurements during validation, an electronic, programmable three degree-of-freedom traverse system has also been incorporated into the water channel, allowing automated positioning of the ADV probes along the SRVL glideslope with sub-millimetre accuracy. Finally, the validated CFD airwakes were incorporated into the HELIFLIGHT-R piloted flight simulator at Liverpool, for which a QEC simulation environment has been developed. Two former Royal Navy test pilots then performed a series of landings to the deck of the QEC in a Sikorsky SH-60 Seahawk, to demonstrate this newly developed capability at Liverpool, and to provide an initial assessment of pilot workload in varying wind speeds and azimuths, prior to real-world FOCFTs. The findings of this initial flight testing is reported in this thesis, as are conclusions and recommendations for future work.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: Author's permanent email address:
Divisions: Fac of Science & Engineering > School of Engineering
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 15 Aug 2018 08:00
Last Modified: 03 Mar 2021 09:20
DOI: 10.17638/03022744