Creation of a digital model of the new DLR research aircraft ISTAR
© DLR/Dassault Aviation.
Virtual flight test
A virtual flight test to identify the flight dynamic characteristics of the A320-ATRA. From the identified characteristics, a simplified but real-time capable model will be built, with which, among other things, novel flight control systems for gust load reduction can be tested.
Credit: DLR (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0).
The development of new technologies costs a lot of time and money in scientific research and then in the industrial production that follows. Anyone wishing to develop a new aircraft or vehicle must go through a long process of qualification or approval by government agencies to prove that the applicable safety and environmental regulations are met. DLR has therefore set itself the goal of strengthening simulation-based certification so that the approval process can be carried out partly - or, in the very long term, almost entirely - in the computer. In the DLR cross-sectional project "Simulation Based Certification" (SimBaCon), 15 DLR institutes and facilities have been working together on tools for digitized certification. The project has now ended very successfully after four years. The virtual final event took place on February 16 and 17 2022.
SimBaCon made a significant contribution to developing an understanding of the challenges of a simulation-based approval. The DLR institutes involved worked closely together and were able to further develop mono- and multidisciplinary simulation approaches and experimental measurement methods and test them on application scenarios. In the area of virtual flight tests, for example, they were able to reproduce selected flight maneuvers in the computer, considering all relevant disciplines. The researchers in the SimBaCon project were able to integrate missing components from previous projects - such as control surfaces or spoilers of an aircraft that had previously not been taken into account - and to compare the maneuver flight simulation with real flight test data. For the real flight test data, experimental methods were also further developed in parallel, and the capability to perform a virtual flight test with the DLR research aircraft A320-ATRA was transferred to the new flight test vehicle ISTAR. By comparing simulation and real measurement data, it was possible to prove the quality of the simulation and thus increase confidence in digital methods and data.
The cross-sectional project has succeeded in strengthening cooperation within DLR across different disciplines, institutes and programmatic priorities. In addition, SimBaCon has proven to be a significant "door opener": Contacts with government and industry representatives have been established, and an important global knowledge transfer with experts has been established in some areas. For example, a cooperation request from JAXA and the very interested exchange with NASA, Airbus, Boeing, FAA, EASA and many more show the great strategic relevance that the topic of simulation-based certification will continue to have in the future.