Title: A Proposal for Design and Simulation of Amphibious Rotorcraft UAV's
Author(s): Dr. Jaye Falls, Mr. George Hazen, Mr. Mathew Bird
Abstract: Rotorcraft capable of water takeoffs and landings in limited situations have been available since shortly after the development of the first viable rotorcraft. This capability greatly increased the potential landing areas and possible missions for rotorcraft configured that way. Extending this idea to unmanned aerial rotorcraft has numerous advantages that could not be realized with their manned counterparts. Among those advantages are significant energy savings when loitering, simpler recovery, bad weather avoidance, easier rendezvous with surface and subsurface vehicles, and a vastly expanded potential mission space. There are a number of unique design and engineering challenges with amphibious unmanned aerial rotorcraft as the design considerations of the operational domains are often contradictory. For example, getting the center of gravity as low as possible is desirable when waterborne but a higher center of gravity is typical for rotorcraft and even desirable when airborne. Those issues are further exacerbated by the stochastic nature of the environment it will be operating in. In this paper, the authors investigate trade-offs and the design space for these amphibious unmanned aerial rotorcraft as well as introduce a novel and efficient time domain simulation method suitable for analyzing their behavior. The described simulation method and associated tools, based on a Smart Product Model architecture, are adaptable for both design optimization and development of statistical databases for autopilot training and operator guidance.