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Thesis submitted to the faculty of
Virginia Polytechnic Institute & State University
in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of
Master of Science
Ernest B. Keen
One of the most promising powered-lift concepts is Upper Surface Blowing (USB),
where the engines are placed above the wing and the engine exhaust jet becomes attached
to the upper surface. The jet thrust can then be vectored by use of the trailing edge
curvature since the jet flow tends to remain attached by the \u201cCoanda Effect\u201d. Wind tunnel
and flight-testing have shown USB aircraft to be capable of producing maximum lift
coefficients near 10. They have the additional benefit of shielding the engine noise above
the wing and away from the ground.
Given the potential gains from USB aircraft, one would expect that conceptual design
methods exist for their development. This is not the case however. While relatively
complex solutions are available, there is currently no adequate low-fidelity methodology
for the conceptual and preliminary design of USB or USB/distributed propulsion aircraft.
The focus of the current work is to provide such a methodology for conceptual design of
USB aircraft. Based on limited experimental data, the new methodology is shown to
compare well with wind tunnel data.
In this thesis we have described the new approach, correlated it with available 2-D
data, and presented comparisons of our predictions with published USB data and an
existing non-linear vortex lattice method. The current approach has been shown to
produce good results over a broad range of propulsion system parameters, wing
geometries, and flap deflections. In addition, the semi-analytical nature of the
methodology will lend itself well to aircraft design programs/optimizers such as
ACSYNT. These factors make the current method a useful tool for the design of USB and
USB/distributed propulsion aircraft.
Also, I am more than grateful for the guidance and advise of my advisor, William
Mason. His ideas and experience have saved me on many occasions, and he has taught
me more about practical engineering than anyone I\u2019ve been around. It has been a
pleasure to be associated with him and his students.
To my family, Jack, Sheila, Jordan, I owe my thanks for years of love, support, open arms, and open ears. Their belief in me has pushed me to this point, and will drive me in the years to come.
In addition, I would like to thank my friends at AVID, LLC for their funding and
support of this research, and the friendships I can\u2019t quantify. They have given me
opportunities where there seemed to be none. I hope to represent them and their
commitment to excellence well with this work.
Lastly, I would like to thank my friends, here at Virginia Tech, back home, and out in
the wide,wide world. You\u2019ve kept me sane, you\u2019ve kept me laughing, and you\u2019ve kept
me going\u2026.and this is just the beginning.
Now bringing you back...
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