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The NASA B737-100 high-lift flight research programme — measurements and computations

  • L. P. Yip (a1), C. P. van Dam (a2), J. H. Whitehead (a1), J. D. Hardin (a3), S. J. Miley (a4), R. C. Potter (a5), A. Bertelrud (a6), D. C. Edge (a7) and P.E. Willard (a8)...


The aerodynamic performance of a multi-element high-lift system has a critical influence on the direct operating cost of a subsonic civil transport aircraft. A thorough understanding of the aerodynamic characteristics of these multi-element aerofoils and wings allows aircraft companies to design and build more competitive aircraft with high-lift systems that are less complex and lighter for given high-lift performance or that have improved lift and drag characteristics for given system complexity and weight. Flight experiments on NASA Langley's B737-100 aircraft have been conducted to further enhance the understanding of the complex flows about multi-element high-lift systems at full-scale flight conditions. In this paper, an overview of the flight program is provided, followed by highlights of experimental results and computational analysis. Measurements included surface pressures on the slats, main element and flap elements using flush pressure ports and pressure belts, surface shear stresses using Preston tubes, off-surface velocity distributions using boundary layer/wake rakes, aeroelastic deformations of the flap elements using an optical positioning system, and boundary layer transition detection using hot-film anemometers and an infrared imaging system. Boundary layer transition measurements on the slat using hot-film sensors are correlated with the flow visualisation results from an infrared imaging technique. Extensive application of several computational techniques and comparisons with flight measurements are shown for a limited number of cases. This program has generated an extensive set of data, much of which are still being analysed.



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