The design of new aircraft involves understanding the flow physics around the configurations as well as their stability and control characteristics over the entire flight envelope. Such a coverage is extremely expensive if wind tunnel and flight tests are the primary means of understanding the aerodynamic characteristics. Hence, there has been a push towards use of simulations for understanding aerodynamics of airframes early in the design process. However, high-fidelity simulations can quickly become very expensive, so there is a need to create multi-fidelity databases for aerodynamic data. For this purpose, IAI is developing probabilistic aerodynamic databases that not only provide confidence on the fit, but also characterize the sources of uncertainty. Morever, adaptive design of experiments are performed for maximum efficiency in database creation. The proposed ProForMA tool can fill in a critical gap in design optimization and certification tools used by NASA and the industry.
ProForMA addresses a critical need in NASA’s repository of tools and techniques to develop unconventional aircraft. Several T&E efforts at NASA, have to bear exorbitant costs for fully testing new concepts. The proposed approach contributes to the state-of-the-art in T&E taking advantage of latest advances in HPC to alleviate costs. Benefits of this tool can be leveraged by all programs concerned with unconventional aircraft, such as AAVP, TACP, MUTT and ASE. There is particular interest in certification by analysis and high lift CRM projects.
Other government agencies, interested in unconventional aircraft, such as the AF, may use this tool for programs such as N-MAS and AAW or to reduce costs of T&E. Navy’s UCLASS program also stands to benefit from this. Boeing is already quite interested in this research and envisions a huge potential for ProForMA in understanding stability and control characteristics of new aircraft.