Testing of a European Tilt-rotor project (Nicetrip) in the large S1MA wind tunnel of ONERA.
Tests on a tilt-rotor model, that is to say the aerodynamic configuration of an aircraft where the rotors can tilt in flight, have been completed in the large S1MA wind tunnel at Modane, France. These tests were accomplished on a large-scale model as part of the European project NICETRIP, to study the technological feasibility of a civil tilt-rotor aircraft. Future projects should accomplish flight demonstrators in Europe.
The test in the wind tunnel was essential, due to the complicated architecture of the aircraft concept, with a tilt-wing as well as a tilt-rotor. In particular, it was important to evaluate the behaviour at high-speed, and low-speed, during rotor tilt phases of flight.
The S1MA wind tunnel, due to its size and speed envelope, was particularly well adapted for these tests. The ONERA measurement techniques have been fully utilized. The tests were supportive of CFD computations. These calculations, accomplished with the ONERA elsA platform software, allow new design concepts and shape optimization of the various elements of the aircraft (the rotor blades in particular). Thanks to these tests and the CFD results, the global architecture of a civil tilt-rotor aircraft has been validated.
This activity was achieved with the involvement of Agusta-Westland and Airbus Helicopters.