I have been developing a slipstream-based dual-rotor tail-sitter platform similar to the PhoenixDrone, and found that Gazebo sim aerodynamics plugin is somewhat limited (e.g. huge simplification on lift and drag curve and no pitching moment support). I planned to extend the plugin, but then found an alternative that is FlightGear which might provide better dynamics simulation. I am unsure whether to continue with Gazebo aerodynamics plugin extension or go with FlightGear.
Could you guys please provide some comparison between using Gazebo and using FlightGear as a simulation platform for control algorithm development and testing?
The question was addressed in PX4 Developer Summit 2020 talk: “Open Source Workflow for Advanced Vehicle Dynamics Simulation”.
I have been looking into this as well. From what I have seen of Gazebo so far, you are correct - the aero model is very basic. Also, every vehicle is modeled like a robot arm, which is a real pain. I looked at FlightGear/JSBsim first, but I found that it is not too well supported when it comes to HITL and SITL. The models in FlightGear vary in complexity depending on the specific aircraft type. You can create your own aerodynamic model if you have the data.
It seems that the guys from Phoenix did rework the gazebo_sitl aerodynamic code. So I would start there.
I am have been using FlightGear and SITL gazebo so my simulations. Each have it’s benefits, it really depends on what are your simulation needs.