Community Research and Development Information Service - CORDIS


PALAST — Result In Brief

Project ID: 287020
Funded under: FP7-JTI

Minimising the impact of large gusts of wind on aircraft

EU-funded scientists investigated ways to alleviate wing load during gusts. In addition to successful control of flight dynamics and enhanced safety, results highlight the potential for important savings in weight and emissions.
Minimising the impact of large gusts of wind on aircraft
The aerospace sector is committed to reduction of carbon dioxide emissions and is actively pursuing programmes to do so. Among the potential areas with important impact are design improvements of wing structures for minimized weight and increased efficiency. Scientists initiated the EU-funded project ‘Assessment of the interaction of a passive and an active load alleviation scheme’ (PALAST), focusing on flight load reduction techniques for wings of larger passenger aircraft.

Aeroelastic tailoring, a structural design methodology to adjust wing stiffness, so that its deformations change expected aerodynamic load, successfully reduced gust load and enabled a notable weight savings compared to a conventional wing. For a larger transport aircraft this would mean a reduction of even more than 10% of the wing structural mass.

Active gust load alleviation (GLA) employing sensors, actuators and an active feed-back, as well as feed-forward control system was also successful and contributed to significant reduction of dynamic gust loads. Scientists also studied factors that affect active GLA and found that aeroelastic tailoring could actually contribute to active load control performance with further possible mass savings. In addition, high efficiency of the aileron or trailing wing flap that controls roll is important for the effectiveness of the active GLA system.

PALAST demonstrated that GLA techniques successfully controlled the highly dynamic responses in gust incidents. The techniques also have important impact on wing weight such that comfort is maintained with lower fuel consumption and fewer emissions. In addition, the interaction between passive techniques that control stiffness and active ones highlights the potential for fuller exploitation of the lightweight composites that are often used by the aerospace sector by adjusting stiffness to their interaction with flight loads.

Overall, PALAST results are expected to have important impact on future aircraft design for lighter-weight, safer and more efficient planes with lower environmental impact.

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