Flight performance optimization of a multilift rotorcraft formation

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7 Scopus citations


A numeric optimization is performed for maximizing the cruise performance of a multilift rotorcraft system. The optimization process locates the optimal relative positions of the formation rotorcraft. The optimization problem is formulated as a constrained nonlinear programming problem. Constraints on the distances between the formation rotorcraft are imposed in order to maintain safe separation distances. It is shown that, for every airspeed, an optimal formation geometry can be found that minimizes the rotorcraft power required. An optimization analysis for subsequent airspeeds yields an optimal recommended airspeed that is close to the "bucket" airspeed of the unloaded rotorcraft. The cable length is shown to have a secondary influence on optimization results. The improvement in the resulting multilift mission performance is demonstrated using a nonlinear simulation of the system. It is shown that the operational efficiency of the system can be significantly increased by adopting the optimization results.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1521-1538
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Aircraft
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Aerospace Engineering


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