Department Flight Dynamics and Simulation

Research Topics

The Department Flight Dynamics and Simulation explores the dynamic characteristics of aircraft and their interaction with the cockpit crew. The aim is to achieve a safe, economically efficient aircraft, being robust against extreme environmental conditions like wind, wake vortexes or icing, minimizing human operating errors, staying flyable at system failures and affecting the environment as little as possible. For this purpose, the institute applies different research methods from theory through experiments in high fidelity flight simulators in real flight. Therefore, a close collaboration with test pilots as well as the modern simulation centre AVES (Air Vehicle Simulator) are available. The intensive cooperation with DLR-internal institutions at different locations, as well as international partnerships in economy and research is an important basis for the department’s successful activities.


Energy-based Pilot Assistance System for low-noise approaches

The expert group on procedures deals with the definition, design and evaluation of innovative flight procedures. In this connection, the vertical profile is paramount. The Procedures group explores possibilities of noise reduction at take-off, depart, approach and landing in compliance with safety and economic efficiency.

This development is realised in the stages of aircraft performance calculation, fast-time simulation, the use of flight simulators and flight tests. Finally the findings are tested in operational flights. The Procedures group is highly involved in DLR’s aircraft noise alleviation activities, in cooperation with external partners including Deutsche Lufthansa and Frankfurt Airport.

Flight Mechanics


Flying wing configuration (Source: Airbus)

The expert group on Flight Mechanics evaluates the dynamic behavior of aircraft, regarding the specific operational limitations and atmospheric influences, e.g. wake vortices. The focus is a holistic view of the flight systems in terms of flight performance, flight characteristics, controllability, emissions and registration issues.

The evaluation of the flight mechanical properties is realised on the basis of specifically developed measurement and simulation data, e.g. the software tool MAPET (Model Based Aircraft Performance Evaluation Tool). Flight experiments are prepared and executed in collaboration with the DLR department for Flight Experiments. The development and evaluation of new aircraft configurations like solar airplanes and the flying wing are additional topics of research.


Simulation Technology

Simulation centre AVES (Air Vehicle Simulator)

The expert group on Simulation Technology is capable in the construction and operation of real time simulators, the development of new soft- and hardware concepts, the development and operation of visualisation techniques for displays and synthetic outside view. The group is involved in the continuous optimisation of the existing simulation technologies, e.g. the motion simulation. Operating the simulation centre AVES as well as smaller simulation systems, like the gyrocopter simulator, is part of the group’s tasks. In addition to the flight test preparation for the test vehicles ATRA and FHS, the real time simulators are offered to be used to explore further scientific issues such as the evaluation of active operating devices or the human-machine interaction, by internal and external clients.


Modelling and Simulation

System Identification Process

The expert group on Modelling and Simulation deals with the development of simulation models for aircraft. This can be achieved by the so called system identification, utilising data from flight experiments or wind tunnel tests. In purpose of efficient analysis of measurement data, the group develops software tools that offer flexible opportunities to customise the tools to the specific needs of individual application. The extracted simulation models can be used in a variety of purposes, e.g. in flight simulators, for flight performance or flight characteristic evaluations, for the development of system control techniques or to validate external models within the flight tests. Thus, the modelling and simulation of dynamic systems is the basis for many of the departments’ research projects and allows various opportunities to cooperate with the industry. Effects, like aircraft icing, stall and elastic degrees of freedom are additional research topics. In order to optimise future flight testing programs, the group is working on online-techniques for system identification that allow data analysis meanwhile the flight experiment is running.



Crew in cockpit with Check-Captain

The science of cognetics is a discipline that deals with the abilities and limits of human capability to percept information and the derived actions in this context. The expert group on cognetics pursues research into the dynamic interaction between crew and aircraft systems. Potential problems in this interaction can be identified on the basis of operational relevant simulator studies. Deduced from this, the group develops concepts for pilot training and cockpit systems. In process of research at the training simulators, the cognition of visibility and motion as well as the effectivity of training are rated and optimised. The benefit of the concepts, developed by the group, is finally evaluated in simulator tests and flight experiments.


Flight Test Manching

Flight Test Team in front of EF 2000

Since 1975 the German Air Force's Wehrtechnische Dienststelle 61 and the Institute of Flight Systems have been cooperating closely. In this context the institute has positioned a team at the Bundeswehr’s facility in Manching permanently. Due to the close daily contact a productive partnership was formed within the last 40 years of cooperation. As a result, the branch has been able to contribute to the successful work on problems in the fields of authorisation, qualification and testing of military aircraft. In the last few years the main focus was to work on the projects Eurofighter and A400M. Furthermore the branch worked on issues concerning the unmanned aircraft EuroHawk and the F-4F “Phantom” that was decommissioned in July 2013. The tasks focus on questions in the field of flight mechanics, especially flight performance and flying qualities, but also deal with the separation of external loads, the quality of air data systems and special military issues like the possibility of operating an aircraft on unpaved runways.

Dr.-Ing. Holger Duda
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Flight Systems
, Flight Dynamics and Simulation
Tel: +49 531 295-2610

Fax: +49 531 295-2845

Prof. Dr.-Ing. Klaus-Uwe Hahn
German Aerospace Center

Institute of Flight Systems
, Flight Dynamics and Simulation
Tel: +49 531 295-2650

Fax: +49 531 295-2845

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