Tech

December 19, 2012

Intelligent control for performance: Reducing drag, saving fuel


NASA Dryden’s versatile F/A-18 Full Scale Advanced Systems Testbed aircraft recently completed a series of flights that explored reducing fuel consumption during cruise flight conditions by making small modifications to existing control laws and mechanisms in the aircraft’s flight control computer.

As part of the Intelligent Control for Performance research project, a special computer code called a peak-seeking algorithm was programmed into the aircraftís Airborne Research Test System computer. This code enables the computer to precisely adjust flight control surface deflections in order to reduce aerodynamic drag.
Large jetliners and cargo aircraft consume most of their fuel during the cruise portion of flight, so optimizing fuel consumption would reduce costs and pollution. For NASA, developing new control system methods like this helps meet the agencyís Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) project goals of reduced fuel burn and emissions.

Preliminary ICP flight results indicate that a three- to five-percent reduction in fuel burn was achieved compared to the baseline trim state at two flight conditions. The ICP technique shows much promise for reducing fuel burn in transport aircraft in the future.

For another experiment planned to fly next summer on the FAST F/A-18, a novel “thin film” sensor manufactured by TAO Systems, Inc., is currently being applied to one of the aircraftís wing surfaces. This technology will allow real-time characterization of the airflow over the wing. This sensor capability could lead to considerable weight reduction, fuel savings, and flight safety enhancement in future aircraft designs by revealing the actual flight loads on an aircraft to help ensure that design loads are not exceeded.

Another use for this technology could be to reduce the effects of gusts and turbulence on an aircraft when coupled with appropriate flight control algorithms.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
afrl-sensors

Sensors Directorate co-sponsors autonomous aerial vehicle competition

Members from the University of Toledo, Ohio, team make adjustments to their multirotor aircraft prior to the autonomous aerial vehicle competition. The Air Force Research Laboratory Sensors Directorate hosted the event April 28...
 
 
NASA photograph by David C. Bowman

NASA’s Langley Research Center named Vertical Flight Heritage Site

NASA photograph by David C. Bowman In a May 8ceremony, NASA’s Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia, was formally designated a Vertical Flight Heritage Site by the American Helicopter Society (AHS) International. F...
 
 
NASA/Boeing image

NASA wraps up first green aviation tests on Boeing ecoDemonstrator

NASA/Boeing image NASA’s recent green aviation tests included the Active Flow Control Enhanced Vertical Tail Flight Experiment, for which 31 tiny devices called sweeping jet actuators were installed on the tail of a Boein...
 

 
onr-locust

LOCUST: Autonomous, swarming UAVs fly into the future

A new era in autonomy and unmanned systems for naval operations is on the horizon, as officials at the Office of Naval Research announced April 14 recent technology demonstrations of swarming unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) ...
 
 
NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich

Second X-56A MUTT makes first flight

NASA photograph by Ken Ulbrich NASA researchers are using the X-56A, a low-cost, modular, remotely piloted aerial vehicle, to explore the behavior of lightweight, flexible aircraft structures. Researchers at NASA’s Armstrong ...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber

Schaefer takes command of 412th Test Wing

Air Force photograph by Rebecca Amber Maj. Gen. Arnold Bunch Jr., Air Force Test Center commander (left), presents the 412th Test Wing guidon to Brig. Gen. Carl Schaefer signifying the beginning of his new command at the 412th ...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>