Provides a powerful tool for flight performance assessment, supporting both undergraduate course and postgraduate research.
Teaching use of SkyCircuits autopilots
The SkyCircuits range of autopilots are well-suited to use in an academic environment, providing a robust and reliable package for practical flight test. Many universities have aeronautical departments that teach aircraft design. As part of this teaching it is becoming increasingly popular to give students experience of designing, building and flying a small aircraft. This allows students to validate their theoretical aerodynamic calculations very accurately. It also allows students to make predictions of stability and control parameters for a given aircraft.
The SkyCircuits SC2 can be deployed to student teams initially for hardware-in-the-loop simulation of their designs. The same hardware can subsequently be installed into their aircraft for flight testing. The priority for teaching use of this type is to have a robust and simple autopilot system that students can configure easily.
Unlike open source autopilots, the SC range can provide a safe, proven flight control system to manage a flight test portion of an academic module. Many student and tutors simply need a stable and useable system that they can routinely use and trust to deliver academic objectives within a specific module or course.
A key feature of the SkyCircuits system is its scripting environment, allowing students to write flight test plans to explore performance boundaries or elements of the flight envelope. The primary advantage of the scripting environment is that flight testing does not rely on the skills of a human pilot. When combined with the autopilot’s real-time flight data streaming, this provides a powerful flight validation ability.
The SkyCircuits control algorithms use a different approach to the classic PID algorithms and practical experience has shown the system to be remarkably flexible – having flown a wide variety of sizes, shapes and aircraft configurations with no change of control tuning. The advantage of this feature is that for teaching use students do not need to waste time or be distracted by PID gain tuning for each new iteration of their test aircraft.