Undergraduate Capabilities

Typical Sim Week Flight over the Harbour

Sim Week Flight

Dutch Roll Mode Modelled from the Sim

DR Mode

The VSFS plays an important part in undergraduate studies from the third year onwards of the Aeronautical Engineering degree at the University of Sydney. Upon completion, the simulator could then be used more widely within the faculty in various aerospace units of study for demonstration or test purposes.

Third Year

In second semester of the third year of study, all Aerospace and Aeronautical Engineering students undertake the Flight Mechanics 1 unit of study. This unit of study introduces students to the basics of flight simulation through the understanding of the principles of how an aircraft can be represented in space. By the final 4 weeks of the course, the students will learn enough to complete a MATLAB based flight simulation which is capable of performing trim routines as well as set manoeuvres.

Simulation Week

To aid in the understanding of this work, the VSFS is utilised to give a practical perspective of the effects of different aircraft parameters and modes of motion. This Flight Simulation Week is held in the mid semester break and involves students taking the controls of the simulator while an instructor induces various modes. Aircraft parameters such as the pitch stiffness or yaw damping are then changed and the modes tested again. Prior to this, the students sit an online quiz about the theory behind these modes. They then re-sit this quiz after the simulation session to gauge their understanding. Results have proven that this is a very powerful teaching tool.

Fourth Year

In the first semester of fourth year, students sit the Flight Mechanics 2 course. This subject focuses on system development of aircraft. This includes the investigation of aircraft responses to disturbances such as gusts and the implementation of control systems such as autopilots and wing levellers. The course requires that an autopilot be developed for the final assignment. Shortly, the VSFS will be sufficiently ready for students in 2009 to install their controllers into the simulator for testing as a component of this assignment.

Thesis Year

Generally in the fourth year of study, interested students may put forward their application to perform a thesis project involving the VSFS. Each group member undertakes a different task, which can include software or hardware components and generally has more than one task to complete over the year. These tasks are jobs and upgrades to the simulator and are often the continuation of work from previous years. Current and past projects can be found under the Thesis Work menu.

Future Capabilities

Once fully operational, the VSFS would then have full research capabilities, which could be extended to other undergraduate thesis projects. Also, the completion would allow courses such as Flight Mechanics 2, Advanced Flight Mechanics, Aerospace Design and Aerodynamics to take full advantage of a simulator designed for engineering purposes. That is, future courses could include a simulation component that models aircraft in the VSFS and tests the design, aerodynamics, stability systems, guidance systems or other aircraft variables.

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