A fixed-base reconfigurable helicopter simulator for pilot-in-the-loop simulation

The HPS is a helicopter simulator which is used primarily for research purposes It has been developed with particular emphasis on handling qualities and human factors research The flexible model environment and its level of sophistication allow detailed pilot in the loop stability and control analyses for complex tasks such as tactical manoeuvring, external load operations or ship deck landings.

Research and training applications

Technical specifications

The rotorcraft flight controls consist of a set of mechanical helicopter controls (collective, cyclic stick and pedals) and a high fidelity four-axis electrical control loading system to generate the control forces. The control loading system is programmable and able to reproduce almost any flight control characteristic.

Cockpit instruments and cockpit displays are simulated using four colour touch screens. Software to drive these displays is developed in-house with a rapid display development tool, allowing cost-effective cyclic development of human-machine interfaces.

The outside world is displayed by four projectors providing a high resolution image with a total field of view of 180° horizontally by 70° vertically.

NLR uses ART FlightLab software as the main engineering environment for helicopters and tilt-rotor flight dynamics modelling and simulation. NLR has a great deal of expertise in helicopter modelling and validation. The modular design and the graphical user interface enable users to rapidly modify model definitions.

Multiple configurations possible

By using the ART FLIGHTLAB software, HPS can be configured for a variety of rotorcraft, such as:

  • Single main rotor, tail rotor (e.g. NH90, Apache, Cougar, BO-105)
  • Tandem rotor (e.g. Chinook)
  • Co-axial rotor (e.g. Kamov 32)
  • Side-by-side rotor (e.g. Kaman, tilt rotors)
  • Auto-gyro

The simulated models can be built with different fidelity levels and can therefore be tailored to use for engineering analysis, real time simulation, or both. NLR’s considerable expertise in rotorcraft modelling and validation allow us to provide high-fidelity real-time flight dynamics models for training simulators meeting EASA/FAA simulator standards.

HPS - simulation of tactical training
NLR's Helicopter Pilot Station
rotorcraft technology

Interoperation with other simulation facilities

HPS has the capability to flexibly interoperate with other (NLR research) simulation facilities, including mission support systems and Computer Generated Forces (CGF).

  • Fighter 4-Ship ( generic multi-ship fast-jet simulator)
  • MUST (ground control station simulator for unmanned aircraft)
  • NARSIM RADAR and TOWER (air traffic control simulator)
  • VROOM (virtual reality room with capability to simulate helicopter rear crew stations or ground crew stations)