Project Description

Basler BT-67

Aerodynamic & Structural Analyses

A set of Ultra-WideBand (UWB) ice radar installations are integrated on a Basler BT-67 (turboprop DC-3) aircraft to measure bed topography, accumulation rates and basal conditions in the Arctic and Antarctic ice sheets. This work is performed by a team of researchers at The University of Kansas (KU) and engineers at Design, Analysis and Research Corporation (DARcorporation). This team performed analyses on aerodynamics, structures, stability & control and performance. This team also fabricated all components and integrated the assembly onto the BT-67 aircraft. This work is supported in part by the National Science Foundation (NSF) through a major research instrumentation grant 1229716, as well as matching support from the State of Kansas.

DARcorporation engineers, as a subcontractor to the University of Kansas, participated in the analyses of aerodynamic characteristics and the structural configuration. Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) cases are analyzed to generate aerodynamic loads, check for turbulence in the vicinity of the installation and optimize the aerodynamic shape. Performance studies are also conducted to investigate the implications of the installation on drag and hence range and endurance. Finite element models of the fairing are developed and various load cases are simulated. The attached structure is sized to not only survive the extreme load conditions by itself, but also to not introduce unacceptable additional loads to the airframe. Structural stability, dynamic modes, fatigue and aeroelasticity (flutter and divergence) are also inspected to ensure safe flights.

DARcorporation engineers are also involved in supporting the manufacturing and Ground Vibration Testing (GVT) of the installations.

The installation meets or exceeds safety requirements set forth by Transport Canada Civil Aviation. First flights of the fuselage array occurred in May 2015 and first flights of all three subarrays occurred in August 2015. The latter testing included take-off, cruise and landing for both wheel and ski configurations.