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iSGTW Image of the week: Keep your seatbelt fastened.

Image of the week - Keep your seatbelt fastened


Computational flow simulation of wind tunnel model of aircraft at very high angle of attack.
Image courtesy of Shahyar Pirzadeh, NASA Langley Research Center

Security. Customs. Queues. Lack of leg room. There is little researchers can do to allieviate these banes of air travel.

However, thanks to NASA research, the spectre of turbulence may soon be diluted.

As part of their Aviation Safety Program, NASA is working to improve the safety of current and next-generation jet transport, using computer simulations to research aircraft control during "extreme upset events."

Such events-including aircraft damage, wind gusts and human error-can upset flight conditions and can quickly lead to loss of control.

Enter the Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control project, which aims to advance the state of the art in aircraft flight control to ensure a safe flight in the presence of such adverse conditions.

Under the Integrated Dynamics and Flight Control sub-project, advanced computational fluid dynamics tools are used along with other multidisciplinary approaches to explore the losses of stability and control that occur when an aircraft encounters an extreme upset condition-for example, very large angles of attack, rolls or sideslips.

Under these conditions, the airflows become disorganized and unpredictable. Researchers hope that computational fluid dynamics will provide a better understanding of the behavior and aerodynamics of such flows, leading to the development of improved concepts and techniques to restore control to an out-of-control airplane before it becomes catastrophic.

Larger simulations are being run on up to 128 processors on the NASA Columbia machine, which is a large system comprising 10,000 Altix processors.

The Integrated Resilient Aircraft Control project is sponsored by the NASA Aviation Safety Program and is dedicated to improving the safety of current and future aircraft operating in the National Airspace System. Their research focus is on the way vehicles are designed, built, operated and maintained.

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