Effects of Helicopter Dynamics on Autorotation Transfer of Training

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This paper analyzes the effects of the helicopter dynamics on pilots’ learning process and transfer of learned skills during autorotation training. A quasi-transfer-of-training experiment was performed with 14 experienced helicopter pilots in a moving-base flight simulator. Two types of helicopter dynamics, characterized by a different autorotative index, were considered: “hard,” with high pilot compensation required, and “easy,” with low compensation required. Two groups of pilots tested the two types of dynamics in a different training sequence: hard-easy-hard (HEH group) and easy-hard-easy (EHE group). Participants of both groups were able to attain adequate performance at touchdown in most of the landings with both types of dynamics. However, a clear positive transfer effect in terms of acquired skills is found in both groups from the hard to the easy dynamics, but not from the easy to the hard dynamics, confirming previous experimental evidence. Positive transfer is especially observed for the rate of descent at touchdown. The two groups differed in the control strategy applied, with the HEH group having developed a more robust control technique. During the last training phase the EHE group aligned its control strategy with that of the HEH group.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)73-88
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Aircraft: devoted to aeronautical science and technology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2021


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