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Awiator Instrumentation - A Large-scale Application to A340

Patrick Girard, AIRBUS Systems and Integration Tests Centre, Aerodynamics and Performance Department, Toulouse, France


Modern transport aircraft incorporate highly efficient wings, where an optimum blend of advanced aerodynamics, structure and system architecture is needed to fulfil the market requirements for competitive products.

Many technologies are either under development, or in preparation to enhance these wings, but this strategy must always be rated on total aircraft level, to assess its effect on all aircraft related values.

Hence, the overall integration aspect of the sum of these technologies on aircraft level is the aim of the AWIATOR programme (Aircraft WIng with Advanced Technology OpeRation). This programme has been launched in 2002 within the 5th Framework Programme of the European Union on a five years timescale including two main flight test phases on the flying test bed, the AIRBUS A340 MSN 1.

In AWIATOR all three aspects of operation of an aircraft are addressed : – “far field flow” (WP1), where the flow field not directly bound to the wing such as the vortex wake, the wing flow influence on the tail and finally noise aspects are studied – “near field impact” (WP2), where specific wing devices are investigated to improve overall performance, including the direct measurement of the wing distortion – “flow, load and aircraft control” (WP3), coping with the flow and load control by means of flight control and the use of adaptive elements.

To cope with AWIATOR objectives, an adapted instrumentation had to be used : – Classical pressure measurements thanks mainly to the glove technique to assess the wing flow field. Six complete sections were implemented covering the whole wingspan. – Complete wing load assessment by classical strain gauges. For that purpose, a complete upgrade of the wing instrumentation was performed including a new wing calibration. – Wing twist measurements performed by photogrammetry and inclinometers technique. – Flap gap measurements also by means of photogrammetry and Edge Detection Technique – Wake vortex measurements performed using ground based pulsed Lidar and continuous Lidar and development of a brand new onboard Lidar technique. Two smoke generators were installed on the A340 aircraft for these tests. – Flow cones installed on the whole wing upper surface for flow behaviour analysis – Strain Pattern Analysis method for identification of winglet deformation and Bragg sensors installed to assess the behaviour of such a technique for load measurements.

Since the flight tests is still ongoing (end of flight test expected by end 2006), not all of the topics have been completed. Nevertheless, several ones could be successfully tested.

This paper, after a presentation of AWIATOR programme work package contents, objectives and timescale, focuses mainly on the instrumentation used in this programme enabling its goals to be verified. Some preliminary results are also summarised.

Tue, 2006-06-13