Optimization methods are increasingly used to solve problems in aeronautical engineering. Typically, optimization methods are utilized in the design of an aircraft airframe or its structure. The presented study is focused on improvement of aircraft flight control procedures through numerical optimization. The optimization problems concern selected phases of flight of a light gyroplane—a rotorcraft using an unpowered rotor in autorotation to develop lift and an engine-powered propeller to provide thrust. An original methodology of computational simulation of rotorcraft flight was developed and implemented. In this approach the aircraft motion equations are solved step-by-step, simultaneously with the solution of the Unsteady Reynolds-Averaged Navier–Stokes equations, which is conducted to assess aerodynamic forces acting on the aircraft. As a numerical optimization method, the BFGS (Broyden–Fletcher–Goldfarb–Shanno) algorithm was adapted. The developed methodology was applied to optimize the flight control procedures in selected stages of gyroplane flight in direct proximity to the ground, where proper control of the aircraft is critical to ensure flight safety and performance. The results of conducted computational optimizations proved the qualitative correctness of the developed methodology. The research results can be helpful in the design of easy-to-control gyroplanes and also in the training of pilots for this type of rotorcraft.
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