WSU AE-512 Experimental Methods2
Objectives and Technique
The goal of this test was to achieve an understanding of the behavior of humans in flight. Specifically weinvestigated the characteristics of the human body as an aerodynamic vehicle in symmetric flight at low angles of attack. Lift, drag, and pitching moment were determined across an angle of attack range of -10 to 20 degrees inincrements of two degrees. The ultimate goal of this experimental series was to determine the thrust, power, andspeed required to maintain level flight. We also determined the approximate loads on the shoulder joint of the modeldue to aerodynamic force when the arms are held in a forward position in order to assess whether suchconfigurations are realistically possible for humans to sustain.Secondary objectives of this experiment were to determine the effect of capes on the flight of humans and tocharacterize the longitudinal stability of humans in flight in a variety of configurations. Additionally tufting wasused to visualize the flow-field surrounding the body and detect flow phenomena associated with the quantitativeresults.In order to meet these obje
ctives two models were used to allow testing both in an “arms forward” and an “arms back” configuration for comparison of the loads on the shoulder. All models were tested at an angle of attack range
from -10 to 20 degrees angle of attack and a dynamic pressure of 25 psf. The dynamic pressure was selected to
maximize the forces generated by the model. The “arms forward” model was additionally tested with the cape on to
assess its effect.Due to the small size of the models used in this test, there was some concern about the reliability of the dataproduced. To address this, several repeats were conducted for each configuration to gather enough data to establishthe quality of the measurements. These repeats were conducted some time after the initial run to asses any long-termchanges in the test or model condition.
The two models utilized were both 12-
inch wooden artists’ mannequins, with joints fixed by glue to hold the
models rigid in the test. These two models had identical body configurations except for the location of the arms. Onemodel had the shoulder joints fixed with the arms held flat back against the body, whereas the second model had the
arms fixed forward in the classic “superman” configuration.
The models were held in the tunnel by means of an aluminum structure, which attached to the balance. Thisstructure was composed of a center channel with two plates extending downward. These plates attached to the chestof the model by means of all-thread through model aircraft control horns that attached to the chest of the model. Themodels were also attached at the rear by another control horn, which was fixed by a second length of all-threadrunning up to the support fixture.In addition to the basic model a cape was also constructed which could be attached to the back of the model bymeans of screws. In order to prevent tearing of the cape from separating it from the model the cape was reinforcedwith a small piece of plastic at the point of attachment.In order to visualize the flow field surrounding the body, tufts were attached to the surface during two runs andphotographed throughout the angle of attack range.
After testing, it was necessary to interpolate the testdata to a consistent set of test points in order to includetares and compare runs. This was required as the testpoints taken in the wind tunnel were not exactly at thedesired test angle. After interpolation, the static tareswere used to remove weight effects, then the data wasnon-dimensionalized with the dynamic pressure andfrontal area of the model, the dynamic tares were thenremoved in order to arrive at solely the model effects.Examination of the results shows several results.First, the drag was impacted only slightly between thearms forward and arms back cases, but was dramaticallyincreased by the addition of the cape. In some casesaddition of the cape doubled the drag coefficient. There is
an interesting “bucket” in the drag at negative attack for
L i f t C o e f f i c i e n t
Angle of Attack (degrees)
Variation of Average CL with Angle of Attack for all Configurations atq = 25 psf
Arms Forward, Cape OnArms Forward, Cape Off Arms Back, Cape Off
Figure 1: Plot of Lift Coefficient