Students in the University of Sydney’s School of Aerospace, Mechanical, and Mechatronic Engineering (SAMME) have a unique opportunity to experience the effects of design decisions on flight stability. Using a full-motion, three-degree-of-freedom flight simulator, they can feel how an aircraft responds to their controls under a range of environmental conditions, aircraft configurations, and control designs.
SAMME faculty and students built the Variable Stability Flight Simulator (VSFS) using the hydraulics, structure, and cockpit of a decommissioned QANTAS simulation trainer, replacing the original analog control system with a real-time system developed using MathWorks tools.
“With Simulink, the entire VSFS design is in a graphical format that is easy for students to understand,” says Dr. Peter Gibbens, senior lecturer at SAMME. “Simulink models also made it easy for us to architect and design the VSFS and then rapidly implement the system using Simulink Coder and Simulink Real-Time, which are effectively the core of the VSFS. Creating and prototyping control systems and observing their actual behavior is most effective with this setup.”