Flight Simulation and Technology Engineering MPhil/PhD

Major code: EGPR/EGMR


Overview

Flight Simulation and Control provides expertise in the aeronautical disciplines of flight dynamics, control, simulation and handling qualities.

Subject Overview

We are uniquely positioned within academia to address questions relating to pilot-vehicle technologies (tactile cueing and display design), flight control, flight handling qualities, novel configurations, aircraft encounters with turbulent wakes (helicopter ship operational limits), simulation fidelity and unmanned vehicle research (tools and techniques to address the challenges of civil certification) through modelling, real-time flight simulation and high performance Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD).

Our purpose built research facility houses two full motion flight simulators which have allowed us to participate in a number of major projects including European initiatives to design modern civil tilt-rotor aircraft. This research developed the handling requirements of such aircraft and through the use of a distributed European flight simulation network examined the issues surrounding integration into the existing air traffic management system. We have been awarded a United States patent for our work on utilising the psycho-physics based tau-theory of visual perception with pilot display design. We represent the discipline on the American Helicopter Society’s Technical Committees, (Modelling and Simulation and Handling Qualities), Royal Aeronautical Society Specialist Groups and GARTEUR Group of Responsables.

Further information

Please contact Dr. M. Jump and Dr. M. D. White for information on available projects.

Key Facts

£10 million funding
The group is currently funded or supported by a variety of sources including the European Commission, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, BAE Systems, AgustaWestland, Eurocopter, GE Dowty, dstl, the Civil Aviation Authority, United States Army and the Regional Growth Fund. Our results are published widely in high impact factor aerospace and control journals. The group has secured over £10 million of funding to date.

Why Flight Simulation and Technology Engineering in Liverpool?

Facilities

We have a unique range of cutting-edge and world-class research facilities and laboratories housed in the main Campus of the University of Liverpool. Our main laboratory includes 2 state-of-the-art, custom-built, full motion flight simulators, HELIFLIGHT and HELIFLIGHT-R. HELIFLIGHT is a single seat device, with a six degree of freedom 18” motion platform, force-feel control loading system and uses a collimated display to provide a 140° x 60° field of view. HELIFLIGHT-R features an interchangeable crew station with front pilot and co-pilot seats and a rear engineer seat, a 24” motion platform and uses three LCoS HD projectors to produce a 220° x 70° field of view. Both simulators have reconfigurable cockpits and use a range of run-time visual systems including the industry-standard Vega Prime visualisation suite of tools.. The flight dynamics models that are used to drive the simulators are primarily created using the FLIGHTLAB multi-body dynamics vehicle modelling and simulation package with over 45 fixed wing, rotary wing, tilt-rotor models and vintage aircraft models available in the current library. Models generated in other software packages, for example, MATLAB/Simulink can also be integrated into the simulators. A fixed base Nimrod flight deck assessment rig has recently been procured and is currently being re-commissioned to allow research activities to commence on it. Our group also benefits from its association and contribution to the University’s Virtual Engineering Centre (http://www.virtualengineeringcentre.com/). This provides us with access to High Performance Computing facilities as well as state-of-the art virtual engineering tools and laboratories.

Breadth of Study

In addition to a strong research component, postgraduate study in Flight Simulation and Control at Liverpool offers training to address the needs of future professional engineers. The collaborative nature of our research helps to develop professional skills such as team working and leadership, interaction with specialists in other disciplines, coordination of joint activities, presentation in various forms and general communication. Students are encouraged to attend and present their work at conferences in their field. Further oral and poster presentations are organised in the School of Engineering as formal requirements of the degree and parts of activities within research centres and research groups. Written reports, at the ends of the first and second years, form another integral part of the study and provide opportunities to assess progress and to handle delays.

Collaboration

Our research in flight simulation and control benefits from a high level of collaboration not only with other engineers from academia and industry but also with psychologists, roboticists and computer scientists. Our collaboration network includes researchers and engineers in the UK, Europe the USA, Canada and Australia.

Flexibility

The programmes are very flexible, providing opportunities for specialisation in one discipline or a broad skill base across all engineering disciplines.