Control force compensation in ground-based flight simulators

Publication Date


Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Title

AIAA Scitech 2020 Forum




This paper presents the results of a study that investigated if controller force compensations accounting for the inertial forces and moments due to the aircraft motion during flight have a significant effect on pilot control behavior and performance. Seven rotorcraft pilots performed a side-step and precision hovering task in light turbulence in the Vertical Motion Simulator. The effects of force compensation were examined for two different simulated rotorcraft: linear and UH-60 dynamics with two different force gradients of the lateral stick control. Four motion configurations were used: large motion, hexapod motion, fixed-base motion, and fixed-base motion with compensation. Control-input variables and task performance, such as the time to translate to the designated hover position, station-keeping position errors, and handling qualities ratings, were used as measures. Control force compensation enabled pilot control behavior and performance more similar to that under high-or medium-fidelity motion to some extent only. Control force compensation did not improve overall task performance considering both rotorcraft models at the same time. The control force compensation had effects on the linear model with lighter force gradient, but only a minimal effect on pilots’ control behavior and task performance for the UH-60 model, which had a higher force gradient. This suggests that the control force compensation has limited benefits for controllers that have higher stiffness.