Edwards AFB engineers developed MUFTAS, a MATLAB based version of UFTAS. With Parallel Computing Toolbox™ and MATLAB Distributed Computing Server™, they analyzed data from multiple flight maneuvers simultaneously on a computer cluster with 16 dual-core, 2.61 GHz AMD® Opteron™ processors.
The team used MATLAB functions to read and filter raw data from inertial navigation systems, air data systems, and other sensors aboard the aircraft. This data set includes measurements of inertial velocities, angular accelerations, total pressure, static pressure, air temperature, fuel quantities, and fuel flow.
Working in MATLAB, they implemented classic flight test data algorithms that used the raw data to calculate air speed, altitude, Mach number, and flight path acceleration, as well as the aircraft’s moments and products of inertia. They then plotted time histories of key parameters, including altitude, air speed, and acceleration.
To generate predictions for the aircraft’s aerodynamics, Edwards AFB engineers used Simulink® to develop a six-degrees-of-freedom model that estimates forces and moments based on lookup tables of aerodynamic and propulsion data. They then generated aerodynamic parameter estimates using System Identification Programs for Aircraft (SIDPAC) software, which was developed in MATLAB by Dr. Eugene Morelli at the NASA Langley Research Center.
After verifying the data analysis on desktop workstations, the team used Parallel Computing Toolbox to prepare the MATLAB scripts to be executed by MATLAB Distributed Computing Server workers running on the computer cluster.
The team validated the measured aircraft dynamics by comparing them with the dynamics derived from contractor-provided models and from SIDPAC estimations.
Edwards AFB engineers continue to use MathWorks tools to analyze Global Hawk data. Their results have been used to guide aircraft procurement decisions made by the Under Secretary of Defense for Acquisition, Technology and Logistics.