Lighter Than Air

Vehicle dynamics and control, have always been core competencies of Systems Technology.

The vehicles of interest include the wide range of aerospace craft including airships and other lighter-than-air (LTA) craft. The first work in LTA vehicles at Systems Technology was with the Heavy Lift Airship (HLA). When Mount St. Helen’s erupted in 1980 the U.S. Forest Service began to investigate means of logging forests knocked down by the blast.

This led to the concept of the HLA consisting of four helicopters attached to an airship hull by a tube frame. A prototype, the Piasecki PA-97 Heliostat, was constructed to test the concept. Unfortunately the vehicle crashed ending the program. However, Systems Technology received a contract to develop a nonlinear digital simulation of the vehicle. In addition we performed extensive analysis of the dynamics and control issues of the HLA using the simulation and other analysis techniques.

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planePiasecki PA-97 Helistat HLA


In addition to the featured capabilities at left, STI offers a full range of aerospace engineering capabilities such as:

  • Atmospheric reentry
  • Flying Qualities Specifications
  • Free Fall Dynamics
  • Hypersonics
  • Parachutes
  • Pilot-Vehicle Systems
  • Reduced Order Models
  • Rotorcraft
  • Simulator Fidelity
  • Uncertainty Analysis