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Published July 2019 | metadata_only
Journal Article

Full-Scale Testing of Active Flow Control Applied to a Vertical Tail


Full-scale wind tunnel tests were carried out on a Boeing 757 vertical tail equipped with 37 sweeping jet actuators on the starboard side along the rudder hinge line. The tests were performed at the National Full-Scale Aerodynamics Complex (NFAC) 40- by 80-Foot Wind Tunnel (40×80) at NASA Ames Research Center. The model was tested at a nominal airspeed of 100 knots across rudder deflections and sideslip angles that covered the airplane's emergency single engine climb. Active flow control (AFC) was optimized at the maximum rudder deflection of 30° and sideslip angles of 0° and −7.5°. A threshold success criterion of 20% increase in the maximum side force was exceeded at largest rudder deflection using 12 sweeping jet actuators in the absence of sideslip but barely reached it with 18 actuators at the maximum sideslip at a momentum coefficient input of approximately 0.5%; consequently, 31 actuators were selected for most tests. AFC caused significant increases in suction pressure and associated side force on the actuated side. The successful demonstration of this application cleared the way for a subsequent flight demonstration on the Boeing 757 ecoDemonstrator in 2015.

Additional Information

This material is declared a work of the U.S. Government and is not subject to copyright protection in the United States. Received4 January 2018. Accepted9 December 2018. Published online8 February 2019. This test was a result of a joint NASA/Boeing research project sponsored in part by NASA's Environmentally Responsible Aviation (ERA) program. The NASA/Boeing collaboration was executed through a Space Act Agreements for the full-scale test at NFAC (Annex 8 to SAA1-1155). The NASA ERA project sponsored the sweeping jet AFC technology via Caltech (TEAMS 2 Contract NNL12AA09C) and the University of Arizona (direct subcontract). Preliminary tests involving AFC were carried out at the California Institute of Technology (Caltech) and the University of Arizona. During that time (2009–2012) Prof. Wygnanski was PI of this project. Boeing, under Bill Bower's leadership, took the responsibility of converting a surplus 757 vertical tail into a large wind tunnel model equipped with AFC. This multi-organizational and multidisciplinary teaming effort involved many people who provided valuable contributions through their detailed work and/or expert guidance. The contributors have come from within the NASA/Boeing team and their partners. The authors would like to thank key personnel in the following organizations for their excellent support during the course of this investigation: Boeing Research & Technology: Bill Bower (flow control manager) who was instrumental in enabling this project to move forward, David Bauer (model design), and Tom VonHatten and Jonathan Lichtwardt (wind tunnel model and testing). Boeing Commercial Airplanes: Kate Nowicki (technology manager), John Brandt (stability & control), Kyle Ford (loads & dynamics), and Helen Mooney (aerodynamics). Boeing Engineering Operations & Technology: Arvin Shmilovich (CFD). Caltech: Elisa Phillips (actuator design) and Roman Seele (subscale wind tunnel testing). NASA Langley Research Center: Mike Alexander (system engineering), Mehti Koklu (actuator geometry), Fay Collier (ERA Project Manager), and the ERA management team. NFAC40×80wind tunnel: Charlie Rogers (NFAC test director) and all NFAC staff. NASA Ames Research Center: Robert Fong (NASA Ames test engineer/coordinator).

Additional details

August 19, 2023
August 19, 2023