Robert Heffley Engineering  Home | TC |  Bib |




Robert K. Heffley

Academic Background
Master of Science, Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University.
Bachelor of Science, Mechanical Engineering, Stanford University.

Professional Experience
Mr. Heffley has been a practicing aeronautical engineer since 1966 and has published more than 90 technical reports and papers in several technology areas. His expertise spans the disciplines of aerodynamics, flight simulator technology, system math modeling, computer science, and human factors. He has worked with diverse kinds of military and commercial flight vehicles including fixed-wing, helicopter, lighter-than-air, and V/STOL aircraft as well as applying aircraft technology to ground vehicles. He has more than thirty years experience in planning and conducting full-scale flight test, engineering simulation, and wind tunnel research programs. Mr. Heffley has served as manager and principal investigator in numerous research and development projects as well as supporting several product development efforts. He is available as a consultant for a broad range of aircraft-related topics, including flight simulation, math model development, control system design, and system analysis.

He has developed a suite of software for simulation and analysis of rotorcraft vehicles that includes the RotorGen2 math model structure, a pilot behavioral model for executing a variety of flight maneuvers, its implementation as a Simulink S-function, and integration with FlightGear in order to provide a virtual reality function. This is available for a variety of engineering- and training-simulator applications.

Mr. Heffley has developed several pilot behavioral models for both Army and Navy flight tasks that include both fixed-wing and helicopter aircraft. These models reside in a generalized structure known as TPV (Task-Pilot-Vehicle) that makes use of MATLABŪ and SIMULINKŪ analysis and simulation tools (products of The MathWorks, Inc). TPV pilot models have been implemented in the Navy's CASTLE flight simulator operating environment at Patuxent River and in FlightLab, an advanced helicopter flight dynamics model marketed by Advanced Rotorcraft Technology, Inc.

Development of the TPV modeling concept continues with integration of FlightGear models for 3D visualization and the addition of several vehicle model forms with a range of complexity. The TPV models are now packaged in a general Simulink model that can be easily reconfigured for many flight tasks and maneuvers, multiple pilot characterizations, and various vehicle model forms.

Other recent projects include development of pilot behavioral models for naval aircraft operations to and from ships, participation in the NAVAIR working group to review design criteria for Navy carrier aircraft, development of simulation math models for Army helicopter maneuvers, and MatlabŪ/SimulinkŪ implementation of a low-complexity generic helicopter simulator math model for use in air vehicle design and development.

Over the past ten years Mr. Heffley has actively supported the U. S. Army in development of helicopter handling qualities standards through flight test and simulator research. He has developed a series of fixed-wing and helicopter flight simulator math models suitable for engineering development and flight trainer applications. He has assisted the government, simulator and aircraft manufacturers, and research firms with design of in-house simulator facilities and selection of components, including visual and motion systems, and development of software. Accomplishments include designing methods for evaluating flight simulator effectiveness, non-intrusive measurement of pilot performance, and comprehensive checkout of simulator math models and software.

Mr. Heffley is proficient in the development of special-purpose computer software. He has designed and used small-computer systems for diverse applications, including flight test data acquisition and analysis, design and analysis of flight control systems, and computer math model installation on large R&D flight simulators. He is the author of the RotorGen and RotorGen2 minimal-complexity flight simulator math models and development shells now in use by the NASA Ames VMS research simulator facility, the U. S. Army, and several commercial clients.

Since 1986 Mr. Heffley has operated Robert Heffley Engineering, an independent consulting firm performing numerous aerospace and computer projects for a diversity of clients. From 1982 to 1986 he was President of Manudyne Systems, Inc., and from 1969 to 1982 was employed by Systems Technology, Inc., as Deputy Branch Manager and Principal Research Engineer. Prior to 1969 he worked for Naval Air Systems Command Headquarters in Washington, D. C. evaluating new aircraft designs and monitoring airframe development programs. He holds a private pilot license.

Professional Associations
Member, American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
Member, American Helicopter Society.

Member, Society of Automotive Engineers.



Updated 9 January 2015