Exploration of Simplified Vehicle Operations for Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing Through a Garmin Autopilot on a Piper Warrior
Dietrich, Billy Stefan
Dietrich, William Stefan
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Urban Air Mobility is an emerging concept that would allow urban transportation of both people and cargo through the air in large metropolitan cities. Because of new propulsion methods like distributed electrical propulsion, the Urban Air Mobility is concentrating on Electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing aircraft to implement its concept. Controlling and maneuvering these aircraft are very different than piloting traditional general aviation even through Electric Vertical Take and Landing aircraft aim to be in the same size category. Because of the more complex controls needed for Electric Takeoff and Landing aircraft, Simplified Vehicle Operation schemes are being developed in order to allow for easy control on these aircraft and the different flight profiles they would follow. This thesis explores Simplified Vehicle Operations for Electric Takeoff and Landing aircraft by implementing a Simplified Vehicle Operation scheme on a Piper Warrior through a Garmin autopilot system. Through the implemented scheme, a pilot-on-the-loop control system is created in which a human operator is commanding turns and climb rates instead of control surface deflection like a traditional general aviation aircraft. A control joystick is used as the control interface for the pilot, and the pilot input commands are interpreted by a Raspberry Pi. Control logic software developed in Python formats ARINC 429 commands for selected heading and vertical speed and transmits them to the RTX Serial Port Adapter via RS232 serial communication. The RTX Serial Port Adapter then converts the serial communication to ARINC 429 to send to the Garmin autopilot. Testing revealed that the current system and control logic software does not generate valid ARINC 429 commands which the Garmin autopilot can recognize. Further integration testing is needed in order to better understand the ARINC format which the Garmin autopilot recognizes as valid in order to send the proper commands from the Raspberry Pi into the autopilot system.