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Technical Paper

A Faster “Transition” to Laminar Flow

A discussion is given of the ongoing research related to laminar flow airfoils, nacelles, and wings where the laminar flow is maintained by a favorable pressure gradient, surface suction or a combination of the two. Design methologies for natural laminar flow airfoil sections and wings for both low and high speed applications are outlined. Tests of a 7-foot chord, 23° sweep laminar-flow-control-airfoil at high subsonic Mach numbers are described along with the associated stability theory used to design the suction system. The state-of-the-art of stability theory is simply stated and a typical calculation illustrated. In addition recent computer simulations of transition using the time dependent Navier-Stokes (N-S) equations are briefly described. Advances in wind tunnel capabilities and instrumentation will be reviewed followed by the presentation of a few results from both wind tunnels and flight. Finally, some suggestions for future work will complete the paper.
Technical Paper

A Summary of Reynolds Number Effects on Some Recent Tests in the Langley 0.3-Meter Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel

Reynolds number effects noted from selected test programs conducted in the Langiey 0.3-Meter Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel (0.3-m TCT) are discussed. The tests, which cover a unit Reynolds number range from about 2.0 to 80.0 million per foot, summarize effects of Reynolds number on: 1) aerodynamic data from a supercritical airfoil, 2) results from several wall interference correction techniques, and 3) results obtained from advanced, cryogenic test techniques. The test techniques include 1) use of a cryogenic sidewall boundary layer removal system, 2) detailed pressure and hot wire measurements to determine test section flow quality, and 3) use of a new hot film system suitable for transition detection in a cryogenic wind tunnel. The results indicate that Reynolds number effects appear most significant when boundary layer transition effects are present and at high lift conditions when boundary layer separation exists on both the model and the tunnel sidewall.
Technical Paper

A Summary of the Effects of Reynolds Number on Drag Divergence for Airfoils Tested in the Langley 0.3-Meter Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel

The direct first order effect of Reynolds number on the determination of drag-divergence conditions is summarized for six airfoils which were tested in the Langley 0.3-Meter Transonic Cryogenic Tunnel. A second order effect, derived through the effect of Reynolds number on the sidewall boundary layer, is included. In addition, a comparison of how the drag-divergence condition is affected on going from one class of airfoil to another is presented. The drag-divergence condition is affected first order by Reynolds number for each of the six airfoils and of course all data are affected second order, since the presence of the boundary layer necessitates a sidewall correction.
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.
Technical Paper

Advanced Analysis Methods and Nondestructive Inspection Technology Under Development in the NASA Airframe Structural Integrity Program

An advanced analytical methodology has been developed for predicting the residual strength of stiffened thin-sheet riveted shell structures such as those used for the fuselage of a commercial transport aircraft. The crack-tip opening angle elastic-plastic fracture criterion has been coupled to a geometric and material nonlinear finite element shell code for analyzing complex structural behavior. An automated adaptive mesh refinement capability together with global-local analysis methods have been developed to predict the behavior of fuselage structure with long cracks. This methodology is currently being experimentally verified. Advanced nondestructive inspection technology has been developed that will provide airline operators with the capability to conduct reliable and economical broad-area inspections of aircraft structures.
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

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

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

Airframe Technology for Energy Efficient Transport Aircraft

Fuel costs comprise a major portion of air transport operating costs. Thus, energy efficiency is an essential design goal for future transport aircraft. Advanced composite structures, advanced wing geometries, and active control systems all promise substantial benefits in fuel efficiency and direct operating cost for derivative and new aircraft introduced by 1985. Technology for maintenance of a laminar boundary layer in cruise offers great benefits in fuel efficiency and direct operating cost and may be ready for application to transports introduced in the 1990's. NASA and the air transport industry are cooperating in a comprehensive Aircraft Energy Efficiency Program to expedite the introduction of these advanced technologies into production aircraft.
Technical Paper

An Investigation of the Effects of the Propeller Slipstream on a Laminar Wing Boundary Layer

A research program is in progress to study the effects of the propeller slipstream on natural laminar flow. Flight and wind tunnel measurements of the wing boundary layer have been made using hot-film velocity sensor probes. The results show the boundary layer, at any given point, to alternate between laminar and turbulent states. This cyclic behavior is due to periodic external flow turbulence originating from the viscous wake of the propeller blades. Analytic studies show the cyclic laminar/turbulent boundary layer layer to result in a significantly lower wing section drag than a fully turbulent boundary layer. The application of natural laminar flow design philosophy yields drag reduction benefits in the slipstream affected regions of the airframe, as well as the unaffected regions.
Technical Paper

Biologically Inspired Micro-Flight Research

Natural fliers demonstrate a diverse array of flight capabilities, many of which are poorly understood. NASA has established a research project to explore and exploit flight technologies inspired by biological systems. One part of this project focuses on dynamic modeling and control of micro aerial vehicles that incorporate flexible wing structures inspired by natural fliers such as insects, hummingbirds and bats. With a vast number of potential civil and military applications, micro aerial vehicles represent an emerging sector of the aerospace market. This paper describes an ongoing research activity in which mechanization and control concepts for biologically inspired micro aerial vehicles are being explored. Research activities focusing on a flexible fixed-wing micro aerial vehicle design and a flapping-based micro aerial vehicle concept are presented.
Technical Paper

Development of Airframe Design Technology for Crashworthiness

This paper describes the NASA portion of a joint FAA-NASA General Aviation Crashworthiness Program leading to the development of improved crashworthiness design technology. The objectives of the program are to develop analytical technology for predicting crashworthiness of structures, provide design improvements, and perform full-scale crash tests. The analytical techniques which are being developed both in-house and under contract are described and typical results from these analytical programs are shown. In addition, the full-scale testing facility and test program are discussed.
Technical Paper

Fifty Years of Laminar Flow Flight Testing

Laminar flow flight experiments conducted over the past fifty years will be reviewed. The emphasis will be on flight testing conducted under the NASA Laminar Flow Control Program which has been directed towards the most challenging technology application- the high subsonic speed transport. The F111/TACT NLF Glove Flight Test, the F-14 Variable Sweep Transition Flight Experiment, the 757 Wing Noise Survey and NLF Glove Flight Test, the NASA Jetstar Leading Edge Flight Test Program, and the recently initiated Hybrid Laminar Flow Control Flight Experiment will be discussed. To place these recent experiences in perspective, earlier important flight tests will first be reviewed to recall the lessons learned at that time.
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

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

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

Interior Noise Analysis and Control for Light Aircraft

This paper describes experimental and analytical studies of the interior noise of twin-engine, propeller-driven, light aircraft. Experimental results indicate that interior noise levels due to propeller noise can be reduced by reduction of engine rpm at constant airspeed (about 3 dB), by synchronization of the twin engines/propellers (up to 12 dB), and by increasing the distances from propeller tip to fuselage. The analytical model described uses modal methods and incorporates the flat-sided geometrical and skin-stringer structural features of light aircraft. Initial results show good agreement with measured noise transmitted into a rectangular box through a flat panel.
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

NASA Personal Air Transportation Technologies

The ability to personalize air travel through the use of an on-demand, highly distributed air transportation system will provide the degree of freedom and control that Americans enjoy in other aspects of their life. This new capability, of traveling when, where, and how we want with greatly enhanced mobility, accessibility, and speed requires vehicle and airspace technologies to provide the equivalent of an internet PC ubiquity, to an air transportation system that now exists as a centralized hub and spoke mainframe NASA airspace related research in this new category of aviation has been conducted through the Small Aircraft Transportation (SATS) project, while the vehicle technology efforts have been conducted in the Personal Air Vehicle sector of the Vehicle Systems Program.
Technical Paper

Navier-Stokes Predictions of Multifunction Nozzle Flows

A two-dimensional, Navier-Stokes code developed by Imlay based on the implicit, finite-volume method of MacCormack has been applied to the prediction of the flow fields and performance of several nonaxisymmetric, convergent-divergent nozzles with and without thrust vectoring. Comparisons of predictions with experiment show that the Navier-Stokes code can accurately predict both the flow fields and performance for nonaxisymmetric nozzles where the flow is predominantly two-dimensional and at nozzle pressure ratios at or above the design values. Discrepancies between predictions and experiment are noted at lower nozzle pressure ratios where separation typically occurs in portions of the nozzle. The overall trends versus parameters such as nozzle pressure ratio, flap angle, and vector angle were generally predicted correctly.