UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Air-to-air refuelling aerodynamic interaction Landry, Patrick F.


With the advent of the CC-130(H)T (Hercules) aircraft in the role of air tanker in support of the CF-18A fighter aircraft, a flight testing programme was initiated in order to establish the compatibility of the two aircraft for Air-to-Air Refuelling (AAR). Concurrently, scale testing was conducted in a low speed wind tunnel at the University of British Columbia to investigate the effect of the CC-130H(T)'s wing-tip vortex on the CF-18A aircraft in the AAR pre-contact position. The scale testing was accomplished by subjecting a 1/12 scale model of the CF-18A to the tip vortex of a generating wing placed upstream in a wind tunnel. Custom-designed mounts allowed for variation of the model's vertical position and of the generating wing's lateral position inside the wind tunnel. Force and pressure sensors installed on the model served to measure the positional effects of the vortex for three AAR conditions defined by tanker vortex strength and CF-18A angle-of-attack. The present study has shown that, when considering the wing-tip vortex exclusively, the optimal AAR pre-contact region is far inboard of and below the tanker wing tip, while the most unstable region of the tip vortex is just outboard of and roughly level with the tanker's wing tip. Furthermore, the magnitude of the aerodynamic forces on the model was observed to be proportional to the strength of the generated vortex, and insignificant Reynolds number effects were observed between half-speed and full-speed tests.

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