Featured LabVIEW Case Study: Testing Unmanned Helicopters

Friday, June 6, 2014

Unmanned vehicles are extremely useful in situations that are dangerous for human operators. The ILX-27 is an unmanned helicopter designed to support special military operations. The helicopter’s applications include reconnaissance, cargo transportation, and evacuations, but before the ILX-27 can answer the call of duty it must first pass a series of ground and flight tests.


The Institute of Aviation (ILOT) designed the ILX-27 in cooperation with the Air Force Institute of Technology and Military Aviation Works. After the helicopter was built, engineers working on the project needed to create a test system to obtain reliable data retrieved from ground and flight tests.




ILOT used NI LabVIEW, DIAdem, and CompactRIO to create a measurement system that managed the helicopter’s construction and monitoring. ILOT used CompactRIO as the main data recorder and DIAdem to store measurement data obtained from the tests.  


Engineers used LabVIEW to monitor the vibration levels of multiple helicopter parts under inspection and control the parts in case of an emergency. For ILOT, LabVIEW facilitated data analysis and the presentation of results, leaving time for the company to concentrate their efforts on the helicopter tests.

ILOT achieved the overarching goal of the project performing ground and flight tests of the ILX-27 on a proving ground. But testing on the ILX-27 isn’t done quite yet. NI’s flexible hardware gave ILOT the tools to further expand the trajectory of the project. The company plans on adding a module to the helicopter rotor head to gain insight on the dynamics of ILX-27.


>> Read another blog post involving unmanned vehicles.