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Merlin Flight Simulator Lab

Advanced Flight Simulator

The 521 engineering flight simulator takes the outputs from a conceptual aircraft sizing process or details from existing aircraft and uses that information to model the handling characteristics. Students easily enter their geometric, aerodynamic, weight and propulsion characteristics through an easy-to-use graphical user interface. Once entered, the details are used in a physics-based flight mechanics module to recreate an accurate representation of how their air vehicles would fly. Included in the physics modeled is non-linear aerodynamic behavior based on real input airfoil performance data, thrust lapse with altitude, center of lift shift in the transonic region, center of gravity shift with dropped/deployed payload, basic aeroelastic effects and more. The 521 sits on a Stewart platform enabling 6 degree of freedom motion providing physical feedback on how the air vehicle would handle. In addition:

  • The simulator can simulate airships, helicopters, VSTOL aircraft, human powered vehicles, multiple non-planar lifting surfaces and exo-atmospheric space planes. Students easily output stall performance, takeoff performance, the vehicle static and dynamic responses to step inputs (control singlets and doublets) and many more parameters.
  • The UAV station has essentially the same soft functionality but without the simulated cockpit and motion.
  • The Air Traffic Control Station enables verbal communication with the 521 and UAV stations and can simulate traffic direction in the air or on the ground at the airport site. 

Merlin Flight Simulator Lab, Dr. Sidaard Gunasekaran, Director

Kettering Laboratories
300 College Park
Dayton, Ohio 45469