Flying Helicopter Simulator (ACT/FHS) with fly-by-light and fly-by-wire control systems
Thanks to its optical and electronic control system, the FHS can simulate the flight behaviour of other helicopters.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
ACT/FHS Flying Helicopter Simulator
The ACT/FHS 'Flying Helicopter Simulator' of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) at a flight in 2009.
FHS before Take-Off
The ACT/FHS 'Flying Helicopter Simulator' of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is based on a standard Eurocopter EC 135 type helicopter, which has been extensively modified for use as a research and test aircraft.
In the cockpit
Ian Phillis from the Empire Test Pilot School (left) and Waldemar Krebs from DLR, ready for flight.
Modular experimental system inside the DLR FHS research helicopter
FHS (Flying Helicopter Simulator) is equipped with a modular experimental system. Such as the on-board computer, the system also includes extensive sensor equipment.
Cockpit of the EC 135 ACT/FHS flying helicopter simulator
The cockpit has been modified for the crew stations of a safety pilot (left) and a test pilot (right). The mechanical steering system has been replaced by an electrical and optical (fly-by-wire/fly-by-light) primary flight control system that meets the highest safety requirements. In addition, a mechanical emergency control system is still available.
The ACT/FHS 'Flying Helicopter Simulator' of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is based on a standard Eurocopter EC 135 type helicopter, which has been extensively modified for use as a research and test aircraft. The mechanical controls, for example, have been replaced by a fly-by-wire/fly-by-light (FBW/FBL) flight control system. Now the control commands are transferred by electric cables and fibre optic cables instead of control rods.
The application portfolio of the FHS covers pilot training, trials of new open and closed-loop control systems, up to simulation of the flight characteristics of other helicopters under real environmental conditions. The FHS is equipped with two engines, a bearingless main rotor and a Fenestron tail rotor as standard; its key features are notably quiet operation and high manoeuvrability and safety.
The fly-by-light control system is a groundbreaking new system where, in contrast with fly-by-wire, the control signals between the controls, the flight management computer and the actuators for rotor blade control are transferred optically via fibre optic cables instead of electrically.
The advantages compared with electrical data transfer are the high transmission bandwidth, high reliability and low weight. The fly-by-light flight control system consists of a quadruple redundant computer and is designed such that the stringent safety criteria of the European aviation authorities are met in full.
FHS is the first helicopter in the world with this flight control system. The cockpit layout provides seats for a safety pilot, the test pilot and the flight test engineer. A comprehensive equipment line-up with sensors and systems for onboard data recording and processing is used to record the data from the flight tests. This data is available to users and engineers for analysis both on board and - via telemetry - on the ground.
The following modifications differentiate FHS from the standard Eurocopter EC 135 helicopter:
Conversion of the ACT/FHS was planned and implemented with the close cooperation of Eurocopter Deutschland (ECD), Liebherr Aerospace Lindenberg (LLI), the German Federal Office of Defense Technology and Procurement (Bundesamt für Wehrtechnik und Beschaffung; BWB) and DLR.
Missions - research focus
The powerful ACT/FHS helicopter is used for the following research trials and applications:
Development of flight control software that significantly reduces the pilot's workload in difficult flying situations and, at the same time, maintains intuitive control of the helicopter. In particular, the focus is on flight, take-off and landing under adverse conditions, such as launch and landing sites with obstructions and restricted visibility. The test pilot controls the helicopter via the DLR-developed experimental system, while the safety pilot oversees the manoeuvres.
The experimental system is a modular, multi-purpose system, whose safety concept is structured so that new, even not fully tested, technologies can be checked and evaluated, before their development is completed.
Other fields of application are:
Eurocopter EC 135 ACT/FHS
Last modified:21/04/2011 12:08:23