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Application of the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) to Aircraft Flight Simulation

[+] Author Affiliations
Yan Zhang

EG&G Technical Services, Cambridge, MA

Seamus McGovern

U.S. DOT National Transportation Systems Center, Cambridge, MA

Paper No. IMECE2008-66518, pp. 45-53; 9 pages
  • ASME 2008 International Mechanical Engineering Congress and Exposition
  • Volume 14: New Developments in Simulation Methods and Software for Engineering Applications
  • Boston, Massachusetts, USA, October 31–November 6, 2008
  • Conference Sponsors: ASME
  • ISBN: 978-0-7918-4875-3 | eISBN: 978-0-7918-3840-2


An aircraft flight simulation model under development aims to provide a computer simulation tool to investigate aircraft flight performance during en route flight and landing under various atmospherical conditions [1]. Within this model, the air pressure and temperature serve as important parameters for deriving the true airspeed (TAS). Also important are the wind speed and direction, which will be direct inputs for the flight simulation model. In this paper, the Rapid Update Cycle (RUC) data, provided hourly by the National Centers for Environmental Prediction (NCEP) and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) are used to derive the atmospherical parameters. We relate the pressure to the geodetic altitude by using the geopotential height from the RUC data and the theoretical model. Then the resultant pressure as a function of the geodetic altitude is used to retrieve other parameters such as the temperature and wind velocity by multi-dimensional interpolation. Airplane flights simulated by the X-Plane® simulator with the input of the RUC data are demonstrated.



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