Blended-Wing-Body Low-Speed Flight Dynamics:Summary of Ground Tests and Sample Results (Invited)
Dan D. Vicroy
NASA Langley Research Center, Hampton, VA, 23681
A series of low-speed wind tunnel tests of a Blended-Wing-Body tri-jet configuration toevaluate the low-speed static and dynamic stability and control characteristics over the fullenvelope of angle of attack and sideslip are summarized. These data were collected for usein simulation studies of the edge-of-the-envelope and potential out-of-control flightcharacteristics. Some selected results with lessons learned are presented.
= lift coefficient
= pitching-moment coefficient
= dynamic pressure
= angle of attack
= lift coefficient increment
= deflection of left and right elevons 1 through 5, (+ trailing edge down)
= rotation rate about the velocity vector BWB = Blended-Wing-Bodycg = center of gravityLFST = Langley Full-Scale TunnelVST = 20-Foot Vertical Spin Tunnel
HE Blended-Wing-Body (BWB) concept evolved though a series of NASA f unded design studies conducted by
the McDonnell Douglas Corporation (later Boeing) during the early 1990’s.
The concept has shown potentialfor improved efficiency over the classic tube and wing transport configuration with reductions in both takeoff weight and fuel burn.
A summary of the BWB design evolution is well documented in reference2.
Early in the BWB concept development there were two critical technology challenges identified. One was thedevelopment of light weight structural concepts for the non-cylindrical pressurized center body payload section.The recent progress in BWB composite structural concepts is documented in reference3. The other BWBtechnology challenge was the flight controls. To address the flight controls challenge, a series of wind tunnel testswas conducted leading to the development of the two subscale low-speed X-48B flight test vehicles. These windtunnel tests in conjunction with the flight tests were focused on addressing the following flight dynamics researchgoals:
Explore the stability & control characteristics of a BWB class vehicle.
Assess stability and controllability about each axis at a range of flight conditions.
Characterize departure onset.
Characterize post-departure and out-of-control modes of motion.
Assess dynamic interaction of control surfaces.
Assess asymmetric-thrust control requirements.
Senior Research Engineer, Flight Dynamics Branch, MS 308, AIAA Associate Fellow.American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics1