School of Engineering Merlin Flight Simulator Lab

Among the Most Advanced Flight Simulators

The 521 engineering flight simulator is capable of taking the outputs from a conceptual aircraft sizing process or details from existing aircraft and using that information to model the handling characteristics of those airplanes.  Students can easily enter their geometric, aerodynamic, weight and propulsion characteristics through an easy-to-use graphical user interface. Once these details have been entered, they are used in a physics-based flight mechanics module to recreate an accurate representation of how their air vehicles would actually fly. Included in the physics modeled is non-linear aerodynamic behavior based on real input airfoil performance data, thrust lapse with altitude, center of lift shift in the transonic region, center of gravity shift with dropped/deployed payload,  basic aeroelastic effects,  and more. The 521 sits on a Stewart platform which enables 6 degree of freedom motion to provide physical feedback on how the air vehicle being modeled would actually handle.

In addition to traditional aircraft, the simulator can simulate airships, helicopters, VSTOL aircraft, human powered vehicles, multiple non-planar lifting surfaces and exo-atmospheric space planes.  Students can easily output stall performance, takeoff performance, the vehicle static and dynamic responses to step inputs (control singlets and doublets) and many more parameters.

The UAV station has essentially the same soft functionality but without the simulated cockpit and motion.

The Air Traffic Control Station enables verbal communication with the 521 and UAV stations and can simulate traffic direction in the air or on the ground at the airport site. 


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Merlin Flight Simulator Lab, Dr. Aaron Altman, Director

Kettering Laboratories 103 
300 College Park  
Dayton , Ohio 45469 - 0238