Tests on a convertible aircraft model, that is to say, the aerodynamic configuration of an aircraft where the rotors can tilt, have just been completed in ONERA?s large wind tunnel S1MA in Modane.
These tests, performed on a large scale model, are part of the European project NICETRIP, of which the purpose is to study the technological feasibility of a civilian convertible aircraft. Future projects should allow a flight demonstrator to be made in Europe.
Nicetrip model in the S1MA test section
The wind tunnel testing stage was essential for the complicated architecture of this tilting half-wing configuration and especially to assess the behaviour at high speeds and in the rotor tilting phases. Due to its size and power, the S1MA wind tunnel was particularly well suited for these tests. ONERA’s measurement methods were made full use of. The tests supplement the numerical simulation activities in aerodynamics. These calculations, performed using Onera’s software platform elsA, make it possible to achieve new designs and to optimise the shapes of the various components (the rotor blades in particular). The overall architecture has been able to be validated thanks to the tests and calculations.
This activity involved the companies AgustaWestland and Airbus Helicopters.
Nicetrip model in aircraft configuration, mounted on a pylon and tripod in Cart No. 2 of the S1Ma wind tunnel