Limitations of Two-Stage Turbocharging at High Flight Altitudes
Abstract High-altitude long-endurance (HALE) unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) are used for high flight altitudes, which enable low drag and fast flight with minimal fuel consumption. Two-stage turbocharging is necessary to sustain sea-level power at high flight altitudes. In this study, the limitations of two-stage turbocharging at high flight altitudes typical for HALE UAVs are analyzed for the first time. The obtained results show that the minimum available engine power increases as the altitude rises. This will limit the ability of the aircraft to descend rapidly. Furthermore, at high altitudes, if a lower operating point is required for a fast descent, further recovery to full power for climbing or cruising could be unavailable. In the latter cases, a lower altitude must be reached before full power would be available again. A basic algorithm for the assessment and analysis of the limitations of UAV engines with two-stage turbochargers operating at high altitudes is suggested.