42nd AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit 5 - 8 January 2004, Reno, Nevada

AIAA 2004-1241

Considerations about Forward Fuselage Aerodynamic Design of a Transport Aircraft
Bento Silva de Mattos Ramon Papa Luis Carlos de Castro Santos
luis.santos@embraer.com.br bmattos@embraer.com.br ramon.papa@embraer.com.br

Empresa Brasileira de Aeronáuitca SA – Embraer Av. Brigadeiro Faria Lima, 2170 12227-901 São José dos Campos – SP – Brazil

The present work deals with technical issues concerning fuselage design. For this purpose, early airplane designs have been used as illustrations, in order to show more clearly the thoughts of designers, their innovative concepts and pioneering. The importance of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for an efficient fuselage design is addressed. Some practical applications are shown, which were performed with the CFD++ and FLUENT codes. A study of the importance of the proper location of an ice probe at the forward fuselage was also performed and the results are discussed.

In order to keep manufacturing costs as low as possible, aircraft manufacturers adopted designs that utilize parts of previous configurations in the past. A good example of this approach is the Boeing 377 Stratoliner, which was derived fromthe Boeing B-29 Superfortress, the famous WWII bomber. Developed during the World War II the Boeing Stratofreighter (C-97) was based on the B-29 strategic bomber. The key to the success of the B-29, the Boeing-developed "117" airfoil, was also the trump card of the C-97. Designed entirely by Boeing engineers, the wings of the B-29 bomber had lower drag characteristics per pound of lift than any other airfoil, better stall warning, and had the biggest and most efficient flaps then devised. With utilization of the B-29 wing for the C-97, use of the same four engines was a natural choice: Wright Cyclones of 2,000 horsepower each. The Stratofreighter also retained the landing gear, the lower fuselage and the tail unit of the B-29. Completely new was the upper fuselage, which formed a double-bubble section when mated to the lower fuselage. The two first prototypes flew in 1944.

The following test machines had the bigger vertical tail surfaces and the engines of the B-50. The Stratofreighter maximum speed was reported to be 603 km/h. Faced with urgent demand for a long-range civil transport, Boeing proposed a civil version of the Stratofreighter, called Boeing 377 Stratocruiser. Boeing built 56 Stratocruisers between 1947 and 1950. During the early 1960s, Aero Space Lines ballooned the Stratocruiser´s fuselage into a whale-like shape to carry spacecraft sections. Nine of the variants were assembled; some of them called “Superguppies”. Although only a small number was delivered to airlines, the Boeing B-377 aircraft can be considered a successful redesign of the B-29 bomber. This was possible because the B-29 Superfortress had a maximum speed of 576 km/h, which was very similar to that of the B-377 one. However, some problems could occur if the flight envelope of the new configuration is quite different to the aircraft upon it was based. Boeing kept using older fuselage shapes in newer designs as in case of the Boeing 737 airliner, whose fuselage came from that of Boeing 707. In the same fashion, the maritime reconnaissance Nimrod aircraft was derived from the Comet airliner, from which it borrowed the fuselage. There are more radical approaches like the Fairchild-Dornier 328JET twinjet, which had the same airframe of the 328 turboprop. In recent times, Airbus studied innovative configurations for an airliner able to transport 600 passengers (Fig. 1). A joined-wing configuration emerged in order to fit the aircraft into existing airport gates and reduce the induced drag. Joined Airbus A-300 fuselages should provide enough room to accommodate the envisaged passenger capacity and keep the manufacturing costs low. However, manufacturers have been designing new fuselages for their aircraft lately. Due to specific requirements of each aircraft, modern tooling

Copyright © 2004 by the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Inc. All rights reserved.

machinery, implementation of optimization framework, and a highly competitive environment, which requires optimal configurations to fulfill the mission and to be ahead of the competitors, the old approached almost disappeared. Besides the conventional role of carrying passengers, fuselages are designed to accommodate antennas, outsized cargo, and any sort of devices according to what the aircraft is intended to (Fig. 2). The aircraft fuselage is responsible for 25-50 percent of the overall drag of most airplanes. Fuselages generate the following types of drag: profile drag, compressibility drag, and induced drag. A fuselage contributes to induced drag primarily because its adverse effect on wings spanload distribution. When the fuselage is integrated into the wing (and with nacelles and the empennage), extra drag, the so called interference drag, is produced. Many aerospace design teams frequently treat fuselage aerodynamic design as a matter of secondary importance during the aircraft development phases. Understandably, aerodynamicists prefer to focus their efforts on wing design employing inverse or optimization methods in order to obtain, for example, transonic wings with minimum wave drag. Usually, fuselage aerodynamic design is scheduled for the last stage of the development phase. At this point, time is a major issue and, as far as the multidisciplinary aspects of fuselage aerodynamics is concerned, a less elaborated work is then performed instead. It is worthy of mentioning that the drag creep of a well-designed wing should be under 10 drag counts (C D = 0.001) at maximum cruise condition. Drag resulting from a poor fuselage design is likely to overcome such figure due to small separations, shock waves, or excess wetted area. There also is a significant impact on other aircraft regions because disturbed airflow can contribute to lower the efficiency of engine inlets and tail surfaces. Separated airflow arising at wing-fuselage junction or fuselage regions has a similar behavior to vortex shedding from wings. Thus, the disturbed air pattern is prone to cause earlier-than-anticipated fatigue on tail surface structural parts. Frequently this phenomenon is difficult to diagnose. Considering that it is desirable to have as little drag as possible, the fuselage should be sized and shaped accordingly. This paper addresses important issues to be taken into account in fuselage aerodynamic design. The importance of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) for an efficient design is emphasized and some practical applications carried out by the authors are shown. Two commercial CFD codes were employed in the simulations of the present work: the fully unstructured finite-volume code FLUENT, developed and marketed by Fluent Inc. from New Hampshire and the CFD++ code of Metacomp Technologies, CA.

Fig. 1 – Airbus Study for a Megaliner.

Fig. 2 – Aircraft are intended to perform any sort of mission. CFD can help designers to find out areas in the front fuselage to place ice detectors, Pitot tubes, and other probes. Through careful analysis of the local flow, drainpipes (Fig. 3), air antennas, and pylons can be correctly positioned in order to minimize drag.

Fig. 3 – Drainpipe aligned to local flow.

Flow Pattern in the Forward Fuselage
In order to show some of the work performed with CFD, Fig. 4 illustrates the typical airflow pattern in the forward-fuselage region. The main features of the airflow in this region are basically determined by what happens at points A and B, which are displayed in Figure 4. The airflow comes to rest at the foremost part of the nose and eventually at kink-shaped windshieldnose junctions. At the constant-section part of the fuselage the local velocity is very close to freestream. Therefore, the flow is steadily accelerating from station A to B unless it encounters break points like the windshield-nose junction like that displayed in Fig. 4. However, this apparently simple nature of the flow leads to complex consequences. As an example, the flow over the cockpit region can develop shock waves. The main reason behind this phenomenon is related to the shorter path that the flow follow from the standstill state in front of windshield to the freestream level at the beginning of the central fuselage. The shorter the path, the higher the speed of the flow along the cockpit curvature that eventually leads to shock wave formation depending on the fuselage shape and freestream Mach number. If the flow separates on the upper fuselage due to bad fuselage shape both in subsonic or transonic regime, a remedy is the addition of vortex generators. In the case of shock waves, the vortex generators are not able to avoid flow separation and guarantee reattachment (Fig. 5). By a proper design of the forward fuselage a shock-free or subcritical airflow around the fuselage can be achieved (Fig. 6). In designing an optimal forward fuselage, a longer nose

with smoother transitions from surface to surface will be required in order to obtain a lower form drag, In contrary, lower viscous drag will be achieved with less wetted area. If structural weight is considered in the problem, an interesting Multidisciplinary Design Optimization is then posed. It is also important to provide enough area for the placement of probes and sensors. Planes with narrow fuselages could experience fuzzy readings by pitot probes when the landing gear is actuated. In this situation, the movement of the landing gear causes disturbances in the airflow in the probe vicinities and at the probe itself. A smoother transition between parts of the fuselage largely contributes to improve the overall quality of the flow. By employing double-curvature windshields a smoother lofting is obtaining and the flow gradients are lowered and even the strength of shock waves is reduced. (Fig. 7).

Fig. 4 – Typical airflow behavior in the forwardfuselage region.

Fig. 5 - The Armstrong-Whitworth Argosy (left) and a business jet aircraft (right) employ vortex generators to fix airflow separation at the upper forward fuselage region. For the specific case of this Gulfstream aircraft, separation is caused by shock waves forming over the cockpit.

Fig. 6 - Symmetry-plane Mach contours resulting from CFD three-dimensional transonic calculations of the airflow around a transport aircraft forward fuselage. By properly shaping the fuselage a smooth subcritical airflow can be achieved. Mach = 0.80, α = 0o.

Fig. 7 - The higher the freestream Mach number, the harder is either the design of a shock-free fuselage or for reducing the negative effects caused by shock waves. By employing Double-curvature windshields the maximum local Mach number was reduced 0.24 when it is compared to the configuration with a single-curvature windshield. (M∞ = 0.85, α = 00). The flow of low aspect wing-fuselage configuration at supersonic speeds is similar to the flow around a body of revolution with the same distribution of crosssectional area. According to the area rule, it can be assumed that at large distances from the body the disturbances in the flow are independent of the arrangement of the components and are only a function of the cross-sectional area distribution. Thus, the drag of a wing-body configuration can be calculated as if the configuration were a body of revolution with equivalent cross sections. The Sears-Haack body has the minimum possible wave drag for any closed-end body of the same length and total volume. This leads to the area-rule principle for minimizing the wave drag. Wave drag at Mach 1.0 is minimized when the aircraft has a volume distribution identical to that of a Sears-Haack body. Drag is reduced when the volume distribution is changed to resemble more the Sears-Haack’s body, which has a minimal amount of longitudinal curvature. The supersonic area-rule was then expanded and validated for the transonic regime. Transonic flow characterizes by mixed regions of subsonic and supersonic regions. The new transonic area-rule utilizes a weighting function (WF) that accounts for the mixed flow. WF equal to 1.0 corresponds to uniform sonic flow. The fuselage reshaping according to this technique is much less severe than the standard arearuling method. Thus, the decreased body modification should lead to increased efficiency for transonic aircraft.

Fig. 8 - The extended “cab” smoothes the crosssectional area distribution along the longitudinal axis. (Goodmanson and Gratzer, 1973).

A practical example of the area-rule principle is illustrated in Fig. 8, which shows a fuselage modification of the Boeing 747 fuselage by a “cab” extension. The results of tests (Fig. 9) show that the divergence Mach number is delayed by smoothing the area distribution by fairing the fuselage-cab-juncture.

for freestream Mach number of 0.76 and 1.5o angle of attack. The probes were not aligned to the local flow.

Fig. 10 – The three positions of the ice detector in the forward fuselage.

Fig. 9 – Effect of the “cab” extension on measured drag of Boeing 747. (Goodmanson and Gratzer, 1973).

Practical Applications
Flow over the ice probe
Aerodynamic flow simulations around an aircraft configuration targeted for aerodynamic studies were carried out. The configuration was equipped with a typical ice detector. The ice detector consists of a cylindrical probe and a wing-shaped fairing positioned at the basis of the probe. The maximum thickness of the standard fairing’s section is 38%. Is worth of mention that this value of the maximum thickness is considered by aerodynamicists to be very high for transonic aircraft configurations. The device was placed in three different locations along the forward fuselage of the aircraft configuration. Fig. 10 provides an overall picture of the three different locations of the ice detector, which derived three different configurations, which were named P1, P2, and P3. Six different meshes, each of them containing a single ice detector, were created with ICEM_CFD and GAMBIT mesh generators (Figures 11-14). The meshes were intended for Euler flow calculations with both FLUENT and CFD++ codes. Another mesh for the P2 configuration was created with GAMBIT for a Navier-Stokes run, which was only performed with the FLUENT code. The main reason behind these simulations is the evaluation the influence of the ice-detector location onto the aerodynamic flow over the probe and the fairing. All runs were performed

Fig. 11 – Typical surface mesh in the ice-detector region created with GAMBIT.

Fig. 12 – Surface mesh created with ICEM.

A comparison between the CFD++ and FLUENT calculations for the P2 configuration is shown in Fig. 16. The same mesh, which was generated with the ICEM-CFD mesh generator, was employed in both computations. The coupled explicit algorithm was used in the simulation with FLUENT. The Cp distributions are for the fairing mid section. An overall good agreement between the curves can be easily observed. Fig. 17 shows a comparison between an Euler and a Navier-Stokes run with the FLUENT code. The realizable κ-ε turbulence model was employed in the viscous computation. The more important differences between both simulations are related to the shock location over the probe’s fairing.

Fig. 13 – Mesh created with GAMBIT around a probe’s fairing section.

Fig. 16 – Comparison of Cp distributions obtained with Fluent and CFD++ along the midsection of the fairing. Inviscid case for the P2 configuration. Fig. 14 – Mesh created with ICEM around a probe’s fairing section. Fig. 15 shows a comparison of pressure coefficient (Cp) distributions obtained from Euler simulations with CFD++ for the configurations P1 and P2. A brief analysis of the results reveals that the P2 configuration, which is located aft of the P1 probe, presents a stronger shock wave at the lower side of the fairing. The shock location for the P2 configuration was closer to the trailing edge of the fairing when compared to that for the P1 one.

Fig. 17 – Cp distributions obtained with FLUENT over the fairing midsection for the P2 configuration. The flow separates at the lower side of the fairing of the P2 configuration according to the Navier-Stokes simulation performed with FLUENT (Fig. 18). Naturally, the flow behind the probe with its cylindrical form is also separated for all conditions and Pconfigurations of the present work. Maximum Mach number over the ice detector obtained from the Euler run was found to be higher than 2, and slightly lower from the Navier-Stokes simulation.

Fig. 15 – Cp distribution of the fairing mid section for the P1 and P2 configurations. Euler runs with CFD++.

Figs. 19-20 show pathlines obtained from the viscous run performed with the FLUENT for the P2 configuration. Fig. 20 reveals the misalignment of the P2-probe with the local flow. Fig. 21 provides an overall picture of the Euler flow pattern over the ice detector for the three configurations under study. The calculations were performed with the CFD++ code. The farther back the ice detector is located, the higher the Mach number of the local flow.

Fig. 18 – Contours of velocity magnitude. Fluent Navier-Stokes run for the P2 configuration.

Fig. 20 – Pathlines obtained from the viscous run.

Fig. 19 – Pathlines and velocity magnitude contours for the viscous run with FLUENT.

Fig. 21 – Mach contours for the three configurations calculated with CFD++ (M∞ = 0.76, α = 1.50). The farther the ice probe is located from the nose, the higher the velocities over the fairing and likely is the occurrence of flow separation.

General results of an airflow simulation over the forward fuselage
A low-speed business jet typical configuration was analyzed at Mach number of 0.65 and zero degree angle of attack with FLUENT. The configuration was named JL1. The coupled explicit solver was employed to solve the airflow over the configuration. The spatial tetrahedral mesh is comprised of nearly one million cells (Fig. 22). The Euler flow solution was considered converged after 1,200 iterations. Fig. 23 shows Mach contours on the aircraft skin. The maximum local Mach number is approximately 1.32. Fig. 24 – Cp Distribution at fuselage centerline. Fig. 24 displays the Cp distribution at the JL1 centerline. Most of the regions where the flow reveals a peculiar behavior is numbered and can be described as follow 1- Stagnation point at aircraft nose. 2- Stagnation point at nose-windshield junction. 3- Flow acceleration over the cockpit. 4- Stagnation at fuselage-fairing junction. 5- Flow acceleration at fairing lower side caused by the wing interference. Fig. 22 – Surface mesh for the airflow analysis over the JL1 configuration. Even considering that the freestream Mach number is relatively low, the configuration presents a high-speed flow over the cockpit. Although fully subsonic, the local maximum Mach number at this region tops 0.91 (Fig. 25), a source of noise in the cockpit. In addition, the flow stagnation at the nose-windshield junction will cause structural vibration, originating this way another source of noise in the cockpit.

Fig. 23 – Mach contours over the JL1 configuration. M∞ = 0.65, α = 00.

Fig. 25 – Regions on the JL1 aircraft surface where the local Mach number is higher than 0.90. M∞ = 0.65, α = 00.

Pathlines in the forward fuselage are displayed in Figs. 26, 27. The pathlines that can be observed at the side panels of the fuselage alter their directions downwards after an upward path in the forefront of nose. This is partially caused by the ellipsoidal form of the nose and contributes to increase drag, considering that flow needs energy to change its path.

Fig. 26 - Pathlines on the forward fuselage. Front view. M∞ = 0.65, α = 00.

Fig. 28 – Mach contours for a research fuselage. M∞ = 0.85, α = 00. Observe the low-speed region after the shock wave that is present over the cockpit. The Navier-Stokes simulation for the same configuration indicates the flow separation after the shock wave that is formed over the cockpit (Fig. 29). The original fuselage was modified and a doublecurvature windshield was introduced, all other surfaces remaining unchanged (Fig. 30). A Navier-Stokes run for this new fuselage configuration revealed that the shock-wave strength was considerably reduced and the flow fully attached after the shock (Fig. 7).

Fig. 27 - Pathlines on the forward fuselage. Top view. M∞ = 0.65, α = 00.

Flow over the cockpit region
In order to avoid shock waves appearing over the cockpit smooth surfaces should be employing as far the design constraints allow for. Fig. 28 shows Mach contours obtained from an Euler flow simulation with FLUENT for a fuselage configuration used for the tuning of CFD codes. A moderate shock wave is present over the cockpit.

Fig. 29 – Velocity profile in the aircraft centerline. M∞ = 0.85, α = 00.

seen in Fig. 32. The final balance is very favorable to the modified configuration. The maximum local Mach number over the cockpit was reduced by 0.18. Aerodynamicists usually consider that the possibility of flow separation increases dramatically if the local Mach number is over 1.3. Thus, the mentioned modification certainly contributes to avoid flow separation over the cockpit caused by the shock wave, which is present there. Although over accelerated flow can be observed at the junction of the nose and the surface below the windshield, inadequate matching of both surfaces caused it. A proper redesign of the nose surface should considerably improve the flow in this region. Fig. 30 – Baseline and modified fuselage centerline curves(dotted line). Another study was performed by setting the kink angle between the nose and the windshield to 180 degrees, resulting in a final configuration with a shorter nose (Fig. 31). Only the nose surfaces were modified, all other surfaces remaining unchanged. The shorter nose of the new configuration should theoretically contribute to accelerate the flow over the cockpit, generating a stronger shock wave when compared to that present at the baseline configuration. By other hand, the smoother transition between the cockpit and windshield should contribute for a weakening of the shock over the cockpit. Both configurations were analyzed with the FLUENT code and the results of Euler computations for M∞ of 0.80 and zero degree angle of attack can be

Fig. 31 – Nose modification Study.

Fig. 32 – Mach contours on the forward fuselage. M∞ = 0.80, α = 00.

Concluding Remarks
The CFD simulations with a double-curvature windshield clearly revealed that smoother surfaces employed in the fuselage lofting could largely contribute for the overall quality of the flow over the related configuration. A considerable improvement of the transonic flow pattern can be observed, even if smoother surfaces do not largely differ from the traditional and simpler ones. It is also very important to smooth the transition between the windshield and the nose in order to avoid flow stagnation at the junction. This contributes very significantly to reduce the local flow velocity over the cockpit. The simulations with the ice detector indicate that the farther the ice probe is located from the nose, the higher is the local velocities over the probe and its connected fairing. If shock waves are present, as is the case of the configurations under study of the present work, the shock location moves aftwards. Probably, the P1 configuration would be experiencing fully attached flow over the fairing if could be properly aligned with the local flow. Drag caused by flow separation and shock waves could be easily reach 3 drag counts considering that each aircraft should be equipped with two ice detectors, resulting in four surfaces with over velocities. A careful redesign of the fairing, reducing its maximum thickness, will certainly avoid the flow separation that was observed.

Da Costa, A. L.,”Application of Computational Aerodynamics Methods to the Design and Analysis of Transport Aircraft,” International Council of Astronautical Sciences, Paper 78.B2-01, Sept. 1978.

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