Atmospheric turbulence impacts aircraft safety, costs and utility. From 1988 to 2001, turbulence cost the airline Industry $31 billion, as a result of injuries, grounded aircraft, diversions, delays and cancellations due to reduced airspeed and increased fuel usage.
General Aviation aircraft have fewer options than airliners to avoid turbulence and consequently face greater hazards. As a result, many small aircraft may find themselves encountering unable to fly for many days each year. This limitation is a definite factor in the lack of acceptance, by the general public, of personal aircraft.
Turbulence hurts... the bottom line.
The application of an effective Active Ride Improvement System to both commercial airliners and small airplanes would improve safety, reduce costs, and lead to better utilization of general aviation airports around the country. While the system is applicable to all classes of aircraft, imagine the impact on market share of the first "little airplane" to have an effective Active Ride Improvement System.
System concept and design
Gust alleviation systems have been tried many times, but the results have been unacceptable on small airplanes due to their complexity and inability to move conventional controls fast enough to offset the gust lift as it happens. ViGYAN's Active Ride Improvement System is an open loop system with 'leading' sensing and small chord flaps that are more efficient aerodynamically than the large chord flaps, and can be moved fast enough (due to 1000 times less inertia) to practically kill the gust lift as it happens.
For typical high-cruise general aviation aircraft, our analysis indicates that 90% of the gust lift can be alleviated with the Active Ride Improvement system.
Currently, ViGYAN is developing a wind-tunnel demonstration of these principles with a 1/12-scale wing-body model.
ViGYAN has discussed the program with several General Aviation companies about forming a partnership that will take the project to the next level.
ViGYAN, Inc, provides aerospace research and development services to a wide range of corporate, government clients and non-profit clients. Business areas include: wind tunnel testing in ViGYAN's low speed wind tunnel, scientific, engineering, software development, and computer technology support.
ViGYAN is located in Hampton, VA.