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Division Researchers Help Evaluate eVTOL Vehicle Models and Flight Control Systems in Vertical Motion Simulator
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Division Researchers Help Evaluate eVTOL Vehicle Models and Flight Control Systems in Vertical Motion Simulator

From June 14 – 25, several Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) participants, representing test pilots and engineers across multiple divisions, are evaluating two new Urban Air Mobility electrical Vertical TakeOff and Landing (eVTOL) vehicle models and corresponding flight control systems in the NASA Ames Vertical Motion Simulator (VMS). One model is a six-person quadrotor, and the other is a fixed-wing vehicle with separate lifting rotors and a pusher propeller (Lift-Plus-Cruise, LPC). Both models were developed as part of the Revolutionary Vertical Lift Technology (RVLT) project. Main Intelligent Systems Division (ISD) contributions to this work are the implementation of the vehicle models in a realistic simulation environment, and the development of flight control systems that are capable of controlling these unconventional vehicles. The current simulator experiments are the first in a series scheduled over upcoming years that are intended to support the FAA in defining an adequate set of representative maneuvers and performance criteria to evaluate the handling qualities and airworthiness of these vehicles.

BACKGROUND: Many commercial companies are currently working on a wide variety of eVTOL vehicle designs for Urban Air Mobility. These designs have a diverse range of capabilities and performance limits. The FAA needs an adequate and complete set of relevant requirements to certify these vehicles for airworthiness. The joint Ames Intelligent Systems Division (ARC-TI) / Human Systems Integration Division (ARC-TH) research team is working on vehicle model implementation, flight control systems, envelope protection, cockpit displays, maneuver descriptions, performance limits, surveys, engineering displays for evaluation, etc. to support the FAA in setting up an adequate certification process that works for all of these different vehicles.

NASA PROGRAM FUNDING: Interagency agreement funded by the FAA in collaboration with the Advanced Air Mobility (AAM)/Automated Flight & Contingency Management (AFCM) project

TEAM: John Kaneshige, Thomas Lombaerts and Kim Shish, (ARC-TI); John Archdeacon, Mike Feary, Nelson Iwai and Isabel Toron Valverde (ARC-TH); Gordon Hardy, Loran Haworth and Nick Riccobene (SimLabs)

POINT OF CONTACT: Thomas Lombaerts,

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