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Pilot's Use of Pitch and Heave Motion Cues in a Pitch Control Task


Pool,  DM
Department Human Perception, Cognition and Action, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Zaal, P., Pool, D., De Bruin J, Mulder, M., & van Paassen, M. (2008). Pilot's Use of Pitch and Heave Motion Cues in a Pitch Control Task. In AIAA Modeling and Simulation Technologies Conference 2008 (pp. 463-482). Red Hook, NY, USA: Curran.

During pitch rotation of the aircraft, a pilot, seated well in front of the aircraft center of gravity, is subjected to rotational pitch and vertical heave motion. The heave motion is a combination of the vertical motion of the aircraft center of gravity and heave motion as a result of the pitch rotation. In a pitch tracking task all of these cues could potentially have a positive effect on performance and control behavior, as they are all related to the aircraft pitch attitude. In order to improve the tuning of flight simulator motion filters, a better understanding of how these motion components are used by the pilot is required. First, the optimal use of the different motion components was evaluated using an optimal control analysis. Next, an aircraft pitch attitude control experiment was performed in the SIMONA Research Simulator, investigating the effects of pitch rotation, pitch heave and center of gravity heave on pilot control behavior. Pilot performance significantly improved with pitch motion, with an increased cross-over frequency for the disturbance open-loop. The increase in performance was a result of an increased visual gain and a reduction in visual lead, allowed for by the addition of motion cues. Pitch heave motion showed similar but smaller effects. The center of gravity heave motion, although taking up most of the simulator motion space, was found to have no significant effects on performance and control behavior.