Polimi students perform an educational simulated flight test campaign with the Italian Navy


On May 30-31, 2022, sixteen students of the Flight Testing graduate course were involved in an intense exercise at the Maristaeli Luni Naval Air Base in Sarzana, Italy. The base is home to two operational helicopter groups and to the Centro Sperimentale Aeromarittimo (CSA), the specialized Naval Aviation Test and Evaluation Center of the Italian Navy. The exercise consisted in simulated flight tests for Handling Qualities evaluation of the EH-101 AsuW/ASW helicopter model. Students acted as Flight Test Engineers responsible for each test mission, flying in the Full Mission Flight Simulator of the EH-101 alongside a certified CSA Test Pilot.

The simulated flight missions explored many topics in helicopter longitudinal and lateral-directional static stability, controllability, dynamic stability and response. The activity was actively supported by the CSA commander and test pilot CDR Nicola D’Amico, test pilot LCDR Fabio Laporta (who flew all the sixteen missions) and Flight Test Engineer LT Vincenzo Giordano. The students were introduced to this challenging activity by a dedicated preparation seminar, followed by test planning and test card discussion, and finally pre-flight briefing. The students performed a preliminary analysis of the data gathered during their missions and presented their results only a few hours after the simulator session in front of PoliMI teaching staff and CSA experts.

The Flight Testing course is offered to 2nd year Aeronautical Engineering MSc students at Politecnico di Milano. During the course, each student is called to plan, perform, and analyze a real flight test mission. This year, simulated rotorcraft flight test missions were again added to the curriculum, thanks to the willingness and enthusiasm of the CSA commander and staff, under the patronage of the Italian Navy.

Co-operating with the Italian Navy's top-notch experimental flight unit brings a unique flavor to our course. A grateful thank goes to our awesome Navy Test Pilots and Flight Test Engineer and to the Maristaeli Luni personnel for this wonderful educational opportunity!

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