The dynamics of aircraft manoeuvring on the ground is nonlinear due to nonlinearities in tyres, in other landing gear components, and
potentially in the aerodynamics of the airframe. Existing linear approaches are effective in respect of local behaviour around specific operating conditions, but in order to evolve a global understanding of the dynamics of an aircraft on the ground other techniques are needed.
We demonstrate here that bifurcation analysis and continuation methods can be used for the purpose of building up a global
stability diagram in a computationally efficient manner. Specifically, we perform a continuation study of a nonlinear tricycle model implemented in the SimMechanics environment and then coupled to the continuation software AUTO. Our study yields
unexpected phenomena, namely a complicated structure of branches with hysteresis loops and instabilities leading to oscillations and
even chaotic dynamics.
Additional information: This is the preprint version of a paper submitted to the International Conference on Nonlinear Problems in Aviation and Aerospace (ICNPAA-2006) : Mathematical Problems in Engineering and Aerospace Sciences, Budapest, Hungary, June 21-23, 2006