(翻译)自然的启发:创新的C-17飞行测试为空军节省数百万美元


偶然看到的,挺有意思的消息

自然的启发:创新的C-17飞行测试为空军节省数百万美元

美国空军司令部的首席科学家认为鸟类、海豚和冲浪者成就了最近具有开拓性的C-17环球霸王III飞行测试,预期在每年的燃料成本上可以为空军节省数百万美元。

唐纳德艾博斯博士参与了测试飞行,包括“涡流冲浪”,从加州的爱德华兹空军基地到夏威夷珍珠港——希卡姆联合基地,并且在7月9到11日返回。他后来解释了怎样受自然启发,使一架C-17运输机尾随另一架飞机,从而减少能量的损耗。这能使尾随飞机在长机燃料成本剧增的同时可以使用较少的燃料。测试中的数据保证了每年高达1000万美元的成本节约。

艾博斯说:“自然界的动物一直都这么做——开发可以使它们精力充沛的优势条件——正是那种微小的优势”,“海豚和冲浪者乘着船只泛起的波浪,鹰在热流中盘旋上升来获取高度和力量,大雁在长途迁徙中以V字形飞行来减少它们的消耗。”

在华盛顿州最近的一次渡船乘坐中,他看到了海鸥是如何使用这种办法的。“我看到了海鸥乘着气浪离船远去,”艾博斯说,“正当我们开始横渡时,一只海鸥停在船上并且滑到了。在整整20分钟的航渡中,它从未展开翅膀一次。只有当船减速并且靠近码头时,它才开始飞起来。”

美国空中机动司令部空勤人员和第412测试联队人员,连同波音公司的研究人员,将两架C-17飞机以“涡流冲浪”飞行方式配置。在去年10月的测试飞行后,7月航次的航班又在爱德华兹空军基地进行,以证实此概念背后的科学性。测试结果足以令人信服,确保了后续实验的进行,同时包括夜间飞行。

“我们非常满意这次远程演示的结果。我们演示了空中交会,全天候飞行,和每个方向都以‘涡流冲浪’形式飞行数小时,”美国空军研究实验室“涡流冲浪”项目经理,比尔•布雷克说,“只需很小的变化,我们就能获得两位数的节油量,这远超过了我们在2012年‘概念证明’测试中做的估量。”

艾博斯说过去几年的其他测试包括战斗机,必须有“指尖”间隔一样近距离飞行才好,这要求大量的飞行工作量,他形容为“惊悚”飞行。这完全于大型C-17运输机不同。

只要微小的软件改变,C-17的自动驾驶就可以保持“涡流冲浪”位置,领头飞机和尾随飞机之间保持3000到6000英尺的安全距离,所以机组人员的工作量就小了。他说除了证实燃料成本的节约之外,评估“涡流冲浪”对机组人员的影响也是最近这些测试的一个重要部分。

“以‘涡流冲浪’飞行方式保持队形对于机组人员来说,比起在其他全球飞行任务中的巡航飞行要轻松的多,”路易斯—麦考德联合基地的第六十二空运联队武器和战术主管,同时是在试验中驾驶尾随C-17飞行员之一的凯尔•克林顿少校说,“全体人员包括在内,我相信这一潜在利益对于航空界是非常有价值的——不仅仅针对C-17编队,还有混合型编队,比如空中加油机。”

试验完成后,这种概念也被验证了。接下来就要为美国国防部高级技术验证机构将筹集资金来精确计划项目和进程——将这种节约燃料的理念介绍给其他空军机种。艾博斯说这个2到3年的计划尽早在明年开始。

“涡流冲浪”测试将是持续性工作,参加成员包括美国空军机动司令部、美国空军研究实验室、第412测试联队、空军生命周期管理中心、美国国防部高级研究计划局、波音公司和美国航天局德莱顿飞行研究中心。

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

原文地址:

http://www.af.mil/News/ArticleDisplay/tabid/223/Article/466878/inspired-by-nature-innovative-c-17-flight-tests-to-save-af-millions.as

Inspired by nature: Innovative C-17 flight tests to save AF millions

SCOTT AIR FORCE BASE, Ill. (AFNS) --

Air Mobility Command's chief scientist credited birds, dolphins and surfers for the success of recent ground-breaking C-17 Globemaster III flight tests expected to save the Air Force millions in annual fuel costs.

Dr. Donald Erbschloe flew aboard the test flights involving surfing aircraft vortices for energy - or "$AVE" - from Edwards Air Force Base, Calif., to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, and back, July 9-11. Afterward, he explained how nature provided inspiration for one C-17 aircraft to trail behind another and recapture energy that would otherwise be lost. This allows the trailing aircraft to use less fuel in a time when aviation fuel costs are soaring. Data from the tests promise savings of up to $10 million a year.

"Creatures in the wild do this all the time - exploiting conditions which give them an energetic advantage - just that slight edge," Erbschloe said. "Dolphins and human surfers ride the 'bow waves' off ships, hawks circle in thermals to gain altitude and energy, and geese fly in V-shaped formations to reduce their exertion during long migrations."

He said during a recent ferry ride in Washington State, he mused at how seagulls employed the method.

"I observed seagulls riding the air bow wave off the top of a ferry" Erbschloe said. "Just as we were starting our crossing, a seagull positioned itself and established a sustained glide. It never flapped its wings once during the entire 20-minute transit. Only when the ship slowed and maneuvered to dock did the bird start to fly on its own."

AMC aircrews and 412th Test Wing personnel, along with Boeing researchers, were on the two C-17 aircraft in the $AVE configuration. The July flights followed previous test flights at Edwards AFB in October, which proved the science behind the concept. Results from those tests were compelling enough to warrant the follow-on tests on an actual operational mission, which also included flying at night.

"We were very pleased with the results of the long range demo. We demonstrated in-flight rendezvous, day and night operations, and flew several hours in each direction in our $AVE formation," said Bill Blake, the Air Force Research Laboratory $AVE program manager. "With only minor changes, we were able to attain double-digit fuel savings, which exceeded what we measured during our 2012 proof-of-concept test."

Erbschloe said other tests in years past involved fighter aircraft, which had to fly closely at "fingertip" intervals for any benefit, requiring a lot of pilot effort for what he described as "white-knuckle" flying; this is not the case with the larger C-17.

With minor software changes, the C-17's autopilot sustains the $AVE position at safe distances ranging from 3,000-6,000 feet between the lead and trailing aircraft, so the aircrew workload is minimal. He said in addition to confirming the fuel savings, assessing how $AVE affected the aircrew was an important part of these latest tests.

"Maintaining position in the $AVE formation is no more task- saturating for the aircrew than flying at cruise on any other worldwide mission," said Maj. Kyle Clinton, the director of 62nd Airlift Wing weapons and tactics from Joint Base Lewis-McChord and one of the pilots who flew the trailing C-17 during the tests. "Across the board, I believe the potential benefits could be worthwhile for the aviation community - not just for C-17 formations but also for mixed formations, such as tankers (accompanying) fighters."

The tests are done, and the concept is validated. The next step involves funding for a DOD Advanced Technology Demonstrator to figure out the exact procedures and processes needed to introduce this fuel-saving concept to other Air Force aircraft. The two- to three-year project could begin as early as next year, Erbschloe said.

$AVE is the culmination of an ongoing, combined effort between AMC, the AFRL, the 412th TW, the Air Force Life Cycle Management Center, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the Boeing Company, and NASA Dryden Flight Research Center.


猜你感兴趣

更多 >>

评论

评 论

更多精彩内容