Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Robert B. Richards

Committee Members

U. Peter Solies, Alfonso Pujol, Jr.


The Rotary Wing Ship Suitability Branch of the Naval Air Warfare Center Aircraft Division, Patuxent River Maryland, has been testing the handling qualities of Naval helicopters in the shipboard environment for over 30 years. As a result of this shipboard testing, operational envelopes are developed that determine the conditions under which safe and repeatable helicopter operations can be conducted aboard ship. Historically aircraft configuration and loading have not been rigorously controlled during shipboard testing. Due to recent increases in the gross weight and center of gravity envelope of the U.S. Navy’s newest variant of the Sikorsky H-60, there is an emerging requirement to evaluate this aircraft’s loading effects more rigorously.

This thesis investigates the effects of aircraft loading (gross weight and center of gravity) on H-60 shipboard limitations. Presented is an analysis of effects aircraft loading has on handling qualities, control margins, power margins, and field of view. From these analyses, a method is proposed for controlling aircraft gross weight and center of gravity during shipboard testing that insures the most adverse conditions are tested.

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