Title: Aerodynamic shape optimisation of a Reno race plane

Authors: John C. Vassberg, Antony Jameson

Addresses: Hydro-Aero Consulting Group, Long Beach, CA 90803, USA. Intelligent Aerodynamics International, Menlo Park, CA 94025, USA

Abstract: This paper chronicles the applications of aerodynamic shape optimisation software during the design of a concept race plane for the annual Reno air races. The development of this aircraft began from the ground up, being an all-new design. Every major element of the airplane was engineered. This included the airplane’s general layout, a unique propulsion system, the aerodynamic design of the wing, fuselage and empennage, as well as the efficient integration of these and other subsystems. The complete aircraft design effort was conducted by a very small team; the authors were tasked with the responsibility to design the outer-mould-line surfaces of the wing and fuselage components. During this multi-disciplinary design effort, the general layout of the concept race plane evolved as the design team better understood how to maximise the performance of the integrated system. Normally, global changes such as those encountered are very disruptive during the design of a high-performance, transonic wing. However, the utilisation of the aerodynamic shape optimisation software under development by the authors allowed various aircraft subsystems to be routinely modified without adversely impacting development costs or schedule, as the new wing designs literally occurred overnight. The complete evolution of the aircraft|s general layout was accomplished in a very compressed time frame. More importantly, this evolution was required in order for all of the design goals to be met. A critical point regarding the acceptance of the authors’ software within this design environment was its minimal requirements on computational resources and set-up time. Without these efficiencies, our involvement would not have played a pivotal role in the design effort, and most likely would not have been solicited in the first place.

Keywords: aerodynamic shape optimisation; concept race plane; aircraft design; aerodynamic design; wing design.

DOI: 10.1504/IJVD.2002.001993

International Journal of Vehicle Design, 2002 Vol.28 No.4, pp.318-338

Published online: 15 Aug 2003 *

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