Modeling and Simulation began to help engineers gain knowledge without building everything first. That was a good thing.
But the situation is changing. First, I’ve been hearing a lot during the last month or so about M&S needs of the HPM weapon community. Propagating terawatt energies in open air over changing terrain and through changing atmosphere is an RF modeling exercise worth years and $millions.
Then last Friday, I pondered flight test data needs with a pilot who’s been doing it a lot longer than me. He said the methods I proposed with a PDA and low cost integrated sensor package would be good for 1950s style aircraft characterization, but would never provide the fidelity to determine good Cm numbers that are necessary in modern simulators.
The light bulb came on. We weren’t taking data to know sufficient information about the airplane, per se. It wasn’t the FAA or military certification process that was driving our needs. Instead, a new dragon had been born. We were taking data to build a model that is better and more useful than the real airplane. The goal was to no longer need the inconvenience and expense of the real aircraft.
The net effect has changed. The T&E community is no longer benefiting from data M&S provides. Instead, the T&E community is now being driven by requirements for data M&S consumes. It is a new dragon in the industry, eating up dollars and schedules.