Wingtip Vortex Turbine Investigation for Vortex Energy Recovery
A flight test investigation has been conducted to determine the performance of wingtip vortex turbines and their effect on aircraft performance. The turbines were designed to recover part of the large energy loss (induced drag) caused by the wingtip vortex. The turbine, driven by the vortex flow, reduces the strength of the vortex, resulting in an associated induced drag reduction. A four-blade turbine was mounted on each wingtip of a single-engine, T-tail, general aviation airplane. Two sets of turbine blades were tested, one with a 15° twist (washin) and one with no twist. The power recovered by the turbine and the installed drag increment were measured. A trade-off between turbine power and induced drag reduction was found to be a function of turbine blade incidence angle. This test has demonstrated that the wingtip vortex turbine is an attractive alternate, as well as an emergency, power source.