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System analysis of aircraft with natural laminar flow and forward swept wings

Abstract

The objective of this paper is an enhanced analysis and assessment of a short-to-medium range aircraft configuration with natural laminar flow (NLF) and forward swept wings (FSW) designed by DLR. It is intended to show how the proposed aircraft concept could contribute to a more economic and ecologic operation. By implementing a multidisciplinary simulation and assessment framework, the net-benefit on air transportation system level is evaluated from airline perspective under consideration of realistic airline network conditions. Therefore operational aspects (e.g. stage length) and environmental factors (e.g. insect contamination, cloud encounter) which affect the aircraft effectiveness are included into the assessment. Apart from modeling the technology intended effect of fuel saving on airline economics, the study also aims to determine unintentional repercussions (e.g. change in maintenance effort, emissions, noise) which arise due to the design and the operation of the FSW–NLF concept. The overall goal of the paper is to provide aircraft operators with a better understanding of the behavior of NLF aircraft under realistic operational boundary conditions as well as to demonstrate resulting trade-offs between economical and ecological effectiveness.

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Notes

  1. 1.

    Developed by Technische Universität Braunschweig.

  2. 2.

    Created by DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology.

  3. 3.

    Extension of NLF is essentially dependent on the pressure distribution and the local Reynolds number.

  4. 4.

    It should be noted that in real flight operations the change from laminar to fully turbulent flow under off-design conditions would be a continuous process and not as sudden as modeled in this study.

  5. 5.

    Developed by DLR Air Transportation Systems.

  6. 6.

    PANAM/SHADOW were developed by DLR Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology.

  7. 7.

    More detailed analysis related to cleaning interval optimization and the economic effectiveness of the FSW–NLF aircraft can be found in [43].

  8. 8.

    Performed in the DLR project Climate Compatible Air Transportation System (CATS) [23].

  9. 9.

    Developed by DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics. Detailed information about AirClim can be found in [14, 23].

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Acknowledgments

The author would like to express his thanks to his colleagues Martin Kruse, Tobias Wunderlich, and Lothar Bertsch from the Institute of Aerodynamics and Flow Technology for their contributions and comments to this publication.

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Correspondence to Kai Wicke.

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Wicke, K., Gollnick, V. System analysis of aircraft with natural laminar flow and forward swept wings. CEAS Aeronaut J 7, 259–274 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s13272-016-0187-2

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Keywords

  • Natural laminar flow
  • Forward swept wing
  • Systems analysis
  • Economic assessment
  • Emissions
  • Noise prediction