Rotorcraft-Pilot Coupling

In the past, adverse interactions between pilot and aircraft were often ascribed to pilots' fault or specific flight conditionsv and received very limited consideration both in aircraft design and in training courses. Moreover, accidents directly or indirectly caused by Aircraft-Pilot Coupling (APC) were not correctly identified because of technological and cultural inadequacy. During the last decades APC received the attention of the aeronautic community. APC events have been defined in two ways:
  1. involuntary trajectories and flight behaviours originating from an anomalous interaction between pilot and aircraft;
  2. pilot-in-the-loop instabilities, remarking the need of the active (even though not necessarily voluntary) intervention of the pilot.
In general, when the effectiveness of the Automatic Flight Control System (AFCS) that is applied to increase the stability margins during the design process is invalidated by the presence of the pilot-in-the-loop, the impact of APC on aircraft stability is of particular relevance.

Less attention has been paid in the last decades in the open literature to Rotorcraft-Pilot Coupling (RPC), as opposed to APC. This implies a somewhat poorer knowledge of RPC phenomena, which are not yet specifically considered as design drivers by many rotorcraft manufacturers.

Only few works on this topic are available in the open literature. Recent efforts originated in Europe to investigate Aircraft- and Rotorcraft-Pilot Couplings (A/RPC). This page briefly recaps the role of the Aeroservoelasticity and Structural Dynamics research group of the "Dipartimento di Ingegneria Aerospaziale" (now Department of Aerospace Science and Technology) of Politecnico di Milano in several consortia that studied the problem mainly from the point of view of rotorcraft aeroelasticity and pilot biomechanics, to investigate the involuntary aspects of the problem (Pilot-Augmented Oscillations, PAO) and their potential impact on vehicle design.

Related Research Projects


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