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TECHNICAL CAPABILITIES: Services | Personnel | Facilities | Experience | Contact


ROBERT HEFFLEY ENGINEERING can assist your firm in a variety of aerospace-technology research and development activities. Chief areas of expertise include:

• Air vehicle and pilot math model development for fixed- and rotary-wing aircraft using TPV architecture.

Application of Matlab® and Simulink® tools for math model development, data analysis, and system identification.

• Flight and simulator data acquisition and analysis.

• Simulator software and hardware development for engineering and research applications.

• Flight simulation research to investigate a range of engineering design factors.

Application of Task-Pilot-Vehicle (TPV) modeling with Matlab®, Simulink® and FlightGear.

• Aircraft handling qualities analysis.

• Aircraft design and estimation of flight characteristics.

The following paragraphs summarize our services, our underlying philosophies and approaches, and specific benefits to our clients.

Simulator math model software development. RHE creates cost-effective simulator software. We adjust modeling to meet specific needs while minimizing complexity. When developing software computer code we use a standardized program structure and documentation format. Most important, we apply a thorough checkout procedure that includes functional, verification, and validation checks.

Simulator facility design and component selection. We assist clients with development or enhancement of all types of simulator facilities, including visual systems, motion systems, cockpit and instrument layout, and simulator computers. We base system requirements on engineering analyses of the flight tasks to be simulated, and we find solutions using our experience balanced by consideration of scientific data and analysis. RHE enjoys the advantage of having used a number of government and industry simulator facilities for a variety of applications.

Aerodynamics and aircraft flying qualities estimations are made for new aircraft designs using our in-house computer facilities. Starting with raw wind tunnel data, we can perform the aero data buildup, data estimation, and produce a complete aerodynamic data and estimated flying qualities report. We have the ability to manage efficiently large wind tunnel data bases and the experience to manipulate the data for stability and control analyses or simulator math model development.

Simulator Research is conducted with the insight and lessons learned from more than 30 years of research experience. We begin with the design of the simulator task, do substantial analysis during an experiment, and produce a preliminary report draft within one day of the final experimental runs. A flexible simulator software development shell permits analysis and rehearsal of simulated scenarios prior to actual use of a facility.

Flight test data are acquired and analyzed using in-house digital data acquisition systems. Special-purpose hardware and software is configured to fit the user’s needs. Low-cost and flexibility are inherent in the approach taken by RHE. An important part of our flight data acquisition process is our close coordination with the test pilot in planning and performing test maneuvers.

Pilot-in-the-loop analysis and math modeling is an aid to aircraft and systems design. Through the use of pilot models, we can exercise and judge a design in a realistic context. We also use pilot models to checkout simulator equipment and software. A repeatable “software pilot” is indispensable for exercising a simulator visual system or math model and exploring an experimental test matrix. We have developed pilot models for a variety of military and civilian flight tasks and maneuvers.

              (see also Facilities | Experience | Contact  )


The owner and principal investigator is Robert K. Heffley, an engineer having extensive experience in a variety of aircraft-related research and development activities. All projects receive the active technical support of Mr. Heffley. In addition, he maintains contact with a large and select number of other engineers, pilots, and computer scientists who can offer assistance as needed.

Mr. Heffley has degrees in aeronautical and mechanical engineering from Stanford University and has been active in studying a broad array of research topics and engineering disciplines for more than thirty years. He has owned and operated ROBERT HEFFLEY ENGINEERING since 1986 and has prior technical and management experience in industry and government organizations.

              (see also Services | Experience | Contact  )


The office and engineering facilities of ROBERT HEFFLEY ENGINEERING are located in Los Altos, California, nearby to NASA Ames Research Center, Stanford University, and the Silicon Valley computer industry. RHE maintains computing and technical library facilities on-site.

Scientific computing facilities consist of a variety of computers to provide maximal compatibility with clients' facilities. We utilize customers' computer facilities as needed, and can supply all necessary computer equipment and software. RHE has an array of proprietary, special-purpose software tools as well as many commercially-available ones. We are experts in the application of Matlab® and Simulink®. We have the ability to synthesize quickly and efficiently airplane and helicopter simulator math models for generic and specific aircraft, to generate simulator computer source code, and to supply comprehensive validation and verification checks.

RHE maintains a rich technical library. Technical reports, papers, journals, and references span a variety of disciplines. In addition to the firm's own technical library, there is access to the libraries of Stanford University and NASA Ames Research Center, and we maintain access to DTIC, NTIS, and NASA search engines and databases.

RHE provides direct engineering assistance to the degree desired by each client. This can range from short telephone consultations to full-time engineering support supplied on-site at the client's facilities. Sometimes a client may desire RHE to assist with the training and development of their own engineering personnel in any of the areas listed above. In other instances RHE may be called upon to provide the final product without client participation. We tailor the kind of support to the individual client to maximize cost-effectiveness. Prompt reporting and thorough documentation are the rule.

              (see also Services | Personnel | Contact  )


ROBERT HEFFLEY ENGINEERING has operated since 1986 and has undertaken numerous projects performed both on-site at clients' facilities and at the RHE office in Los Altos, California.

A partial list of clients includes:

Aermacchi, S.p.A., builder of European jet trainer and fighter/attack aircraft, Varese, Italy.

Advanced RotorcraftTechnology, Inc. ., creator of FlightLab rotorcraft flight dynamics model and simulator manufacturer, Mountain View, CA

AIN, industrial research institute, Pamplona, Spain.

Army Aeroflightdynamics Directorate, development of handling qualities standards for military rotorcraft, Moffett Field, CA.

Frasca International, Inc., manufacturer of commercial and general aviation flight trainers and simulators, Urbana, IL.

Hoh Aeronautics, Inc., Flight test, simulator research, and flight systems development, Lomita, CA.

Kohlman Systems Research, flight test and simulator software developer, Lawrence, KS.

Logicon Technical Services, Inc., simulator software support contractor, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, OH.

Naval Air Systems Command, responsibility for procuring U.S. Navy aircraft, Patuxent River, MD.

 Orbital Sciences Corp, space systems and technical services, Greenbelt, MD.

Synetics Systems Engineering Corp, system design, hardware, software engineering, Yorba Linda, CA..

Teledyne Ryan Aeronautical, builder of military target drones and a variety of aerospace systems, San Diego, CA.

              (see also Services | Personnel | Facilities | )


  Please call Robert Heffley at (650) 949-1747 or e-mail RHef@aol.com

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Updated 26 January 2010