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Technical Paper

Recent Developments of Experimental Techniques and Their Applications at NASA Langley Research Center

The need for highly accurate measurements of velocity, temperature, pressure and density has required the development of new experimental techniques. While the majority of these development efforts at NASA Langley are focused toward applications for aeronautical programs such as the High-Speed Civil Transport, Advanced Subsonic Transport, and the National Aero-Space Plane, a number are applicable to other fields. The intent of this paper is to review recent instrumentation developments and applications at NASA Langley Research Center that may have applications in automotive testing. Five experimental techniques are described along with recent results obtained in NASA facilities.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Effects of Simulated Ice Accretion on a Generic Transport Model

An experimental research effort was begun to develop a database of airplane aerodynamic characteristics with simulated ice accretion over a large range of incidence and sideslip angles. Wind-tunnel testing was performed at the NASA Langley 12-ft Low-Speed Wind Tunnel using a 3.5% scale model of the NASA Langley Generic Transport Model. Aerodynamic data were acquired from a six-component force and moment balance in static-model sweeps from α = -5 to 85 deg. and β = -45 to 45 deg. at a Reynolds number of 0.24x10⁶ and Mach number of 0.06. The 3.5% scale GTM was tested in both the clean configuration and with full-span artificial ice shapes attached to the leading edges of the wing, horizontal and vertical tail. Aerodynamic results for the clean airplane configuration compared favorably with similar experiments carried out on a 5.5% scale GTM.
Technical Paper

NASA's Fundamental Aeronautics Subsonic Fixed Wing Project: Generation N+3 Technology Portfolio

Commercial aviation relies almost entirely on subsonic fixed wing aircraft to constantly move people and goods from one place to another across the globe. While air travel is an effective means of transportation providing an unmatched combination of speed and range, future subsonic aircraft must improve substantially to meet efficiency and environmental targets. The NASA Fundamental Aeronautics Subsonic Fixed Wing (SFW) Project addresses the comprehensive challenge of enabling revolutionary energy-efficiency improvements in subsonic transport aircraft combined with dramatic reductions in harmful emissions and perceived noise to facilitate sustained growth of the air transportation system. Advanced technologies, and the development of unconventional aircraft systems, offer the potential to achieve these improvements.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamics and Flying Qualities of Jet V/STOL Airplanes

A summary of information on airplane aerodynamics, ground effects, propulsion system aerodynamics, stability and control, and flying qualities of jet V/STOL airplanes - both direct jet lift and lift fan configurations is presented. The information is applicable to high-speed fighter-type airplanes. Research work in the following areas is reviewed: 1. Wind tunnel and other experimental research on jet-induced effects (including ground effects) on the aerodynamics and stability and control in the VTOL, STOL, hovering, and transition ranges of flight. 2. Experimental research on propulsion aerodynamics in the hovering and very low speed ranges of flight. 3. Flight-test experience on the flying qualities of several jet V/STOL airplanes.
Technical Paper

Light Aircraft Crash Safety Program

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have joined forces in a General Aviation Crashworthiness Program. This paper describes the research and development tasks of the program which are the responsibility of NASA. NASA is embarked upon research and development tasks aimed at providing the general aviation industry with a reliable crashworthy airframe design technology. The goals of the NASA program are: reliable analytical techniques for predicting the nonlinear behavior of structures; significant design improvements of airframes; and simulated full-scale crash test data. The analytical tools will include both simplified procedures for estimating energy absorption characteristics and more complex computer programs for analysis of general airframe structures under crash loading conditions.
Technical Paper

The All Electric Airplane - Benefits and Challenges

A brief definition of an “All Electric Airplane” will be presented. Several NASA and DOD studies have examined the application of advanced electric/electronic technologies. The benefits identified in these studies will be summarized. The state-of-the-art in all electric airplane technology will be described. A NASA program has been proposed to develop the necessary technology base for industry application. The elements of this proposed program will be discussed.
Technical Paper

Flight Investigation of Natural Laminar Flow on the Bellanca Skyrocket II

Two major concerns have inhibited the use of natural laminar flow (NLF) for viscous drag reduction on production aircraft. These are the concerns of achieveability of NLF on practical airframe surfaces, and maintainability in operating environments. Previous research in this area left a mixture of positive and negative conclusions regarding these concerns. While early (pre-1950) airframe construction methods could not achieve NLF criteria for waviness, several modern construction methods (composites for example) can achieve the required smoothness. This paper presents flight experiment data on the achieveability and maintainability of NLF on a high-performance, single-propeller, composite airplane, the Bellanca Skyrocket II. The significant contribution of laminar flow to the performance of this airplane was measured. Observations of laminar flow in the propeller slipstream are discussed, as are the effects of insect contamination on the wing.
Technical Paper

Wing Modification for Increased Spin Resistance

A simple wing leading-edge modification has been developed that delays outer wing panel stall, thus maintaining roll damping to higher angles of attack and delaying the onset of autorotation. The stall angle of attack of the outer wing panel has been shown to be a function of the spanwise length of the leading-edge modification. The margin of spin resistance provided by the modification is being explored through flight tests. Preliminary results have been used to evaluate spin resistance in terms of the difference in angle of attack between outer wing panel stall and the maxiumum attainable angle of attack.
Technical Paper

The Laminar Separation Sensor: An Advanced Transition Measurement Method for Use in Wind Tunnels and Flight

Current viscous drag reduction research explores the limits of practical applications of natural laminar flow (NLF) for airplane drag reduction. To better understand these limits, advanced measurement techniques are required to study the characteristics of laminar to turbulent boundary-layer transition. Recent NASA research indicates that the transition mode which involves laminar separation can be detected using arrayed hot-film laminar separation sensor concepts. These surface-mounted sensors can provide information on the location of the laminar separation bubble as well as bubble length. This paper presents two different laminar separation sensor configurations developed in the NASA program and presents results of wind-tunnel and flight evaluations of the sensors as tools to detect boundary-layer transition.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic Design Data For a Cruise-Matched High Performance Single Engine Airplane

Design data are presented for a class of high-performance single-engine business airplanes. The design objectives include a cruise speed of 300 knots, a cruise altitude of 10,700 m (35,000 ft), a cruise payload of six passengers (including crew and baggage), and a no-reserves cruise range of 1300 n.mi. Two unconventional aerodynamic technologies were evaluated: the individual and combined effects of cruise-matched wing loading and of a natural laminar flow airfoil were analyzed. The tradeoff data presented illustrate the ranges of wing geometries, propulsion requirements, airplane weights, and aerodynamic characteristics which are necessary to meet the design objectives. very large design and performance improvements resulted from use of the aerodynamic technologies evaluated. Is is shown that the potential exists for achieving more than 200-percent greater fuel efficiency than is achieved by current airplanes capable of similar cruise speeds, payloads, and ranges.
Technical Paper

Theoretical Investigations, and Correlative Studies for NLF, HLFC, and LFC Swept Wings at Subsonic, Transonic and Supersonic Speeds

The results of theory/experiment correlative studies at subsonic and supersonic Mach numbers are presented in this paper. These studies were conducted by using theoretical design tools consisting of the Method of Characteristics, newly-developed integral compressible boundary-layer methods for infinitely swept wings, namely, laminar boundary layer with suction, prediction of neutral instability and transition due to amplification of Tollmien-Schlichting (T.S.) waves and crossflow (C.F.), and a method for predicting separating turbulent boundary-layer characteristics. Results of correlations have indicated that the present integral boundary layer methods are quite successful in predicting transition phenomenon both at transonic and supersonic speeds.
Technical Paper

Hybrid Laminar Flow Control Applied to Advanced Turbofan Engine Nacelles

In recent years, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) in cooperation with U.S. industry has performed flight and wind-tunnel investigations aimed at demonstrating the feasibility of obtaining significant amounts of laminar boundary-layer flow at moderate Reynolds numbers on the swept-back wings of commercial transport aircraft. Significant local drag reductions have been recorded with the use of a hybrid laminar flow control (HLFC) concept. In this paper, we address the potential application of HLFC to the external surface of an advanced, high bypass ratio turbofan engine nacelle with a wetted area which approaches 15 percent of the wing total wetted area of future commercial transports. A pressure distribution compatible with HLFC is specified and the corresponding nacelle geometry is computed utilizing a predictor/corrector design method. Linear stability calculations are conducted to provide predictions of the extent of the laminar boundary layer.
Technical Paper

Numerical Simulation of Propulsion-Induced Aerodynamic Characteristics on a Wing-Afterbody Configuration with Thrust Vectoring

Aerodynamic effects induced from vectoring an exhaust jet are investigated using a well established thin-layer Reynolds averaged Navier-Stokes code. This multiple block code has been modified to allow for the specification of jet properties at a block face. The applicability of the resulting code for thrust vectoring applications is verified by comparing numerically and experimentally determined pressure coefficient distributions for a jet-wing afterbody configuration with a thrust-vectoring 2-D nozzle. Induced effects on the body and nearby wing from thrust vectoring are graphically illustrated.
Technical Paper

Thermal Model Correlation for Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter

The Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter (MRO) launched on August 12, 2005 and began aerobraking at Mars in March 2006. In order to save propellant, MRO used aerobraking to modify the initial orbit at Mars. The spacecraft passed through the atmosphere briefly on each orbit; during each pass the spacecraft was slowed by atmospheric drag, thus lowering the orbit apoapsis. The largest area on the spacecraft, most affected by aeroheating, was the solar arrays. A thermal analysis of the solar arrays was conducted at NASA Langley Research Center to simulate their performance throughout the entire roughly 6-month period of aerobraking. A companion paper describes the development of this thermal model. This model has been correlated against many sets of flight data. Several maneuvers were performed during the cruise to Mars, such as thruster calibrations, which involve large abrupt changes in the spacecraft orientation relative to the sun.
Technical Paper

Numerical Uncertainty Quantification for Radiation Analysis Tools

Recently a new emphasis has been placed on engineering applications of space radiation analyses and thus a systematic effort of Verification, Validation and Uncertainty Quantification (VV&UQ) of the tools commonly used for radiation analysis for vehicle design and mission planning has begun. There are two sources of uncertainty in geometric discretization addressed in this paper that need to be quantified in order to understand the total uncertainty in estimating space radiation exposures. One source of uncertainty is in ray tracing, as the number of rays increase the associated uncertainty decreases, but the computational expense increases. Thus, a cost benefit analysis optimizing computational time versus uncertainty is needed and is addressed in this paper. The second source of uncertainty results from the interpolation over the dose vs. depth curves that is needed to determine the radiation exposure.
Technical Paper

Aerodynamic-Performance Planform and Camber Optimization of a Supersonic Transport Wing

This paper describes recent research in integrated aerodynamic-performance design optimization applied to a supersonic transport wing. The subsonic and supersonic aerodynamics are modeled with linear theory and the aircraft performance is evaluated by using a complete mission analysis. The goal of the optimization problem is to either maximize the aircraft range or minimize the take-off gross weight while constraining the total fuel load and approach speed. A major difficulty encountered during this study was the inability to obtain accurate derivatives of the aerodynamic models with respect to the planform shape. This work addresses this problem and provides one solution for the derivative difficulties. Additional optimization studies reveal the impact of camber design on the global optimization problem. In these studies, the plan-form optimization is first conducted on a flat plate wing and camber optimization is performed on the resulting planform.
Technical Paper

Flight Test Results for Several Light, Canard-Configured Airplanes

Brief flight evaluations of two different, light, composite constructed, canard and winglet configured airplanes were performed to assess their handling qualities; one airplane was a single engine, pusher design and the other a twin engine, push-pull configuration. An emphasis was placed on the slow speed/high angle of attack region for both airplanes and on the engine-out regime for the twin. Mission suitability assessment included cockpit and control layout, ground and airborne handling qualities, and turbulence response. Very limited performance data was taken. Stall/spin tests and the effects of laminar flow loss on performance and handling qualities were assessed on an extended range, single engine pusher design.
Technical Paper

Langley Research Center Resources and Needs for Manned Space Operations Simulation

Over the past three decades, the application of simulation facilities to manned space flight projects has increased chances of successful mission completion by revealing the capabilities and limitations of both man and machine. The Space Station era, which implies on-orbit assembly, heightened system complexity, and great diversity of operations and equipment, will require increased dependence on simulation studies to validate the tools and techniques being proposed. For this reason the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) undertook a survey of both the facilities available for and the research requiring such simulations. This paper was written to provide LaRC input to the SAE survey of simulation needs and resources. The paper provides a brief historial sketch of early Langley Research Center simulators, and the circumstances are described which resulted in a de-emphasis of manned simulation in 1971.
Technical Paper

Low-Speed Aerodynamics of the Upper-Surface Blown Jet Flap

This paper summarizes the results of recent wind-tunnel investigations conducted to provide fundamental aerodynamic information on the upper-surface blown jet-flap concept incorporating high-bypass-ratio turbofan engines. The results of the investigations have shown the concept to have aerodynamic performance generally comparable to that of other externally blown high-lift systems. This paper will cover some of the more critical problem areas associated with this concept and will discuss solutions which have been found for these problems.
Technical Paper


This paper discusses a project for adapting advanced technology, much of it borrowed from the jet transport, to general aviation design practice. The NASA funded portion of the work began in 1969 at the University of Kansas and resulted in a smaller, experimental wing with spoilers and powerful flap systems for a Cessna Cardinal airplane. The objective was to obtain increased cruise performance and improved ride quality while maintaining the take-off and landing speeds of the unmodified airplane. Some flight data and research pilot comments are presented. The project was expanded in 1972 to include a light twin-engine airplane. For the twin there was the added incentive of a potential increase in single-engine climb performance. The expanded project is a joint effort involving the University of Kansas, Piper Aircraft Company, Robertson Aircraft Company, and Wichita State University. The use of a new high-lift Whitcomb airfoil is planned for both the wing and the propellers.