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Camera-Based Imaging Flight Test Instrumentation

R.M Uiterlinden, NLR - Netherlands Aerospace Centre, Netherlands
B. Timmerman, NLR - Netherlands Aerospace Centre, Netherlands
M. Tuinstra, NLR - Netherlands Aerospace Centre, Netherlands
N.van Oosten, Anotec Engineering, S.L., Spain
S.E. Ionescu, Anotec Engineering, S.L., Spain


With the object of performing helicopter flight tests, a carry-on measurement system has been developed that can be flexibly adapted and installed in different types of helicopters. The main functions of the on-board system are to collect and store flight data, and to show a real-time guidance display to the flight test engineer.

The measurement system includes a GNSS receiver providing time synchronisation, aircraft position and velocity parameters, and an IMU providing linear and angular acceleration parameters, and aircraft attitude parameters. In addition, aircraft parameters that are available on the cockpit instruments are acquired. The aircraft parameters include indicated air speed, vertical speed, altitude, and main rotor rpm.

As a non-intrusive alternative for interfacing to aircraft systems, a novel method has been applied in order to acquire data from the cockpit panel. The method uses a video camera and imaging software.

This paper describes the on-board system, with the emphasis on the aspects of development of camera-based flight test instrumentation. It is concluded that the use of a video camera and imaging software is a practical approach and a valuable method of non-intrusive data acquisition.

Thu, 2017-09-14