On 2 December 2010, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) opened the world's most powerful aero-acoustic wind tunnel in collaboration with German-Dutch Wind Tunnels (Deutsch-Niederländische Windkanäle; DNW). Scientists use wind tunnels to investigate the aero-acoustic properties of objects such as aircraft engines and wings. Not only is the Braunschweig wind tunnel one of the most powerful of its kind, but also it is so versatile that it can be used for cars as well as planes. This presents new possibilities in which to record and reduce sources of noise pollution.
The new steering wheel control for helicopters makes flying much easier. It can be used not only to fly a PAV, but also to improve other aircraft.
With special aircraft, known as Personal Aerial Vehicles (PAV), it will be possible for anyone to carry out daily journeys through the air in the future.
Gareth Padfield, Flight Stability and Control.
The simulation center is home to a moving and a stationary simulator with an interchangeable cockpit.
DLR (CC-BY 3.0).
The cyclic stick – responsible for movements about the longitudinal axis (roll) and the transverse axis (pitch) – is missing from the myCopter steering wheel system. One stick remains, exclusively responsible for altitude. Alternatively, this aspect could be controlled using a paddle fitted to the steering wheel. Just as with the accelerator and brake in a car, the pedals control speed and can even cause the vehicle to hover. An eight-way switch on the myCopter steering wheel controls reverse and lateral flight. The steering wheel has already completed its maiden flight in the virtual environment of the Air Vehicle Simulator (AVES) operated by DLR in Braunschweig.
Bianca Gursky and test pilot Uwe Göhmann discuss the cockpit of the helicopter research ACT / FHS the first flight test with the myCopter- steering wheel. His baptism of fire in the simulator has already passed it. Now Uwe Göhmann want to use the helicopter to fly with the steering wheel through the air.
The ACT/FHS 'Flying Helicopter Simulator' of the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) is based on a standard Eurocopter EC 135 type helicopter, which has been extensively modified for use as a research and test aircraft.
Sixty-three mannequins took the place of passengers on board DLR’s Advanced Technology Research Aircraft (ATRA).
The ACRIDICON measurement flights lasted about seven hours. Among other things, the analyses included how clouds in clean rainforest air differ from those found over polluted and deforested regions. The image shows the nose boom of the HALO (High Altitude and LOng Range) research aircraft as it approaches a disintegrating storm.
The HALO (High Altitude and LOng Range) research aircraft is based on the ultra-long-range G 550 business jet produced by Gulfstream Aerospace. With a range of more than 8000 kilometres, measurements on the scale of continents are possible; the research aircraft can reach all regions, from the poles to the tropics, and remote areas of the Pacific Ocean.
It is not standard practice for DLR test pilots to fly so close to large storm cells, sometimes even penetrating larger cloud formations. The HALO pilots performed five different scientific flight patterns, ranging from low altitude flights above the Brazilian rainforest to altitudes in excess of 15 kilometres.
The HALO (High Altitude and LOng Range) research aircraft is based on the ultra-long-range G 550 business jet produced by Gulfstream Aerospace. With a range of more than 8000 kilometres, measurements on the scale of continents are possible; the research aircraft can reach all regions, from the poles to the tropics and remote areas of the Pacific Ocean. Its maximum flight altitude of about 15 kilometres also allows for measurements in the lower stratosphere, outside the tropics.
The Falcon is the only research aircraft in Europe that is legally able to fly at high altitudes and over long distances in volcanic ash clouds.
The Eyjafjallajökull volcano in Iceland emitted large quantities of ash and sulphur dioxide into the atmosphere during its eruptions in March and April 2010. This photograph was acquired on 1 May 2010 during a measurement flight by the DLR Falcon research aircraft.
Researchers around the world are working on the development of laminar flow wings. Among other features, these are substantially smoother than current wings and therefore produce less drag. The largely undisturbed, turbulence-free airflow is what gives these high-tech wings their name. In future, they may substantially reduce carbon dioxide emissions from air transport. However, insect contamination disturbing the laminar flow would eliminate these reductions.
DLR/Marek Kruszewski (CC-BY 3.0).
The DLR ATRA research aircraft flies at around 15 metres above the airport grounds with its landing gear retracted.
Flight test engineer Adrian Müller monitored the flight trial from the ATRA measuring system.
The initial flight with a rotating propeller camera took place in Kunovice in the Czech Republic, on a single-engine Evektor VUT 100 Cobra.
Not just the camera and its housing have been developed by the DLR researchers in Göttingen – so too has the measurement technology employed. This involves using two cameras with different angles of view (stereoscopy) to take images of the object under investigation. A computer identifies the equivalent points in the images – the dot pattern helps with this. Knowing the position and attitude of the cameras enables the entire surface being observed to be represented in 3D.
The camera is aligned with the propeller blade and rotates in synchrony with it. The images are transferred to a computer via a wireless network.
Behind the DC-8, the scientists on board the DLR Falcon measured the exhaust gas composition.
In the morning, the DLR Falcon is towed onto the apron at the Armstrong Flight Research Center in Palmdale, California, before a research flight. The Falcon was housed in the same hangar as the SOFIA airborne observatory during the research mission with NASA.
DLR researchers focus on measurements of the biofuel exhaust emissions of soot and sulphur particles, as well as the size and shape of the ice crystals in the condensation trails.
After a research flight, the Falcon is towed past the SOFIA airborne observatory on the way to its parking position.
The DLR Falcon flies with its measuring inlets in the upper part of an engine exhaust gas plume.
DLR already supported the construction of the first Solar Impulse prototype, HB-SIA, in 2008 and 2010 during its development stage, performing component tests and a stationary vibration test. In 2010, the Solar Impulse solar aeroplane succeeded in, for the first time ever, flying non-stop for one whole day and night. In 2013, the first Solar Impulse prototype flew across the United States of America. Here, a view of the solar-powered aircraft as it flies over San Francisco.
The extremely lightweight structure of the solar-powered aeroplane, combined with its 72-metre wingspan was a particular challenge for the DLR researchers – the wings are comparable in size with those of a modern airliner, but they vibrate much more slowly.
Despite its wingspan of 72 metres, the lightweight aircraft, with the identification HB-SIB, weighs only about 2.5 tons. Almost half of the weight is accounted for by the cockpit and the four engine nacelles, which have integrated batteries to provide the aircraft with power at night.
The Airbus A320-232 'D-ATRA' (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) is the largest member of the DLR research fleet.
DLR/Evi Blink (CC-BY 3.0).
The DLR research aircraft ATRA (Advanced Technology Research Aircraft) and Falcon started their joint flight tests from the Braunschweig research airport.
The DLR Falcon can fly higher than most commercial aircraft and is extremely robust and agile.
As part of the ML-CIRRUS mission, HALO will complete a total of 12 measurement flights by the end of April 2014. Between now and 2018, a further eight major scientific missions are scheduled for HALO, and these will either be funded by the DLR or supported by them as a partner.
On the first test flight with the 3D special camera, the scientists flew in the vicinity of the 8,091-metre-high Annapurna ( visible in the background).
Two motor gliders type Stemme S10 are available to the research team on site. The pod containing the DLR special camera system is fitted on a Stemme S10-VTX, which is provided by the FH Aachen.
This is the first time that an airborne camera system has been used in flights over this challenging region.
The Modular Aerial Camera System (MACS), a specialised apparatus developed and built by DLR, is fitted in an unpressurised instrument container mounted beneath the wing.
Blade tip vortices are visible as dark lines during a full rotation of the main rotor. The engine exhaust flows are perceptible as a noisy area trailing the helicopter. The tail rotor's vortex system is also visible (black, circular lines on the tail rotor). The helicopter is currently performing a rocking manoeuvre.
The Göttingen-based researchers employed a novel technique to visualise the rotor blade vortices, using the loose scree littering the quarry as a background for their measurement method.
DLR BO 105 research helicopter in flight above the lake at the base of the quarry.
The helicopter was in vertical ascent just as the images were shot. The vortices are seen as dark lines, with a maximum of one full rotation being visible. The helicopter engine exhaust flow is also visible as a noisy region behind the helicopter.
The HALO high-altitude research aircraft (High Altitude and Long Range Research Aircraft): starting in late 2008, this modified business jet, a Gulfstream G 550, will join the DLR aircraft fleet in data-gathering flights around the globe.
The Airbus A320-232 D-ATRA, DLR's largest fleet member, has been in operation since the end of 2008.
The European Proba-V satellite is also carrying a German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) payload. The receiver will locate the ADS–B (Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast) signals that flights transmit with a special antenna, while the satellite orbits Earth at an altitude of 820 kilometres.
On board the European Proba-V satellite is a dedicated receiver to pick up aircraft ADS-B signals (Automatic Dependant Surveillance Broadcast). An A320 overflying Scotland was the first aircraft 'seen' from space by the DLR receiver, proving that tracking aircraft from space is possible.
Using the receiver on board the Proba-V satellite, researchers from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) were able to detect over 100 aircraft during the first pass over the British Isles, East Asia and Australia when the receiver was switched on. ADS-B signals are broadcast by aircraft every second; they include aircraft position and velocity information. The aircraft identification is transmitted as well. 'ADS-B over satellite' is a joint project of the DLR Institute of Space Systems and the DLR institute of Flight Guidance, in cooperation with the Luxembourg partner SES TechCom Services.
HALO fly-over: At 22 metres high, HALO flies over the experiment. In the smoke, the two wake vortices are visible.
These powerful vortices can disrupt sensitive equipment close to the aircraft's path along a runway and also damage buildings. Smaller aircraft are especially sensitive to the wake vortices created by larger 'jumbo' jets, so they must maintain a greater safety separation.
Less than a year after its construction began, the engineers from DLR and its partners were ready to perform gas turbine combustion chamber testing.
"The expansion of facilities for flight propulsion and power plant research continues at DLR. In April 2013, two facilities were inaugurated – a hydrogen supply system and a modern high pressure compressor that will support the development of new, more economical gas turbines for aviation and energy technology. There is currently no comparable test centre anywhere in the world with such outstanding possibilities as we and our customers now have here in North Rhine-Westphalia," says Reinhard Mönig, Head of the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology.
The DLR Do 228-212 research aircraft in front of the DLR flight operations hangar in Oberpfaffenhofen.
The quantum key transmission experiment took place in Oberpfaffenhofen, using the optical ground station at the DLR Institute of Communications and Navigation and the Dornier Do 228-212 research aircraft. The laser beam sent from the aircraft was received by the ground station, recorded with specially developed measuring equipment and analysed.
For the measurement campaign, a series of microphones were positioned at various places inside the engine and around the exhaust area and recording their signals simultaneously. These signals formed the basis for the acoustic field analysis.
Helicopters like the FHS at DLR owe their unique manoeuvrability to the rotor. However, aerodynamic phenomena prevent their performance from being fully exploited.
Model of a helicopter rotor blade in the transonic wind tunnel. Air is blown through openings near the leading edge in order to improve the aerodynamics.
The scientists want to predict the maximum lift of aircraft more accurately; future aircraft configurations and high lift devices should provide further aerodynamic improvements.
Unmanned aerial vehicles could support the coastguard and emergency relief services. In a first simulation campaign, DLR considered an aircraft type Heron-1, which will be tested in the summer by the Spanish company Indra SA.
Aerodynamic analysis of a blended wing body; the colours indicate the pressure distribution.
Air traffic increases in volume by up to six percent every year. To make air travel more environment-friendly and quieter, researchers at the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), together with partners Airbus, EADS Innovation Works and Cassidian Air Systems, have been carrying out research to reduce the aerodynamic drag of aircraft and have developed an alternative to the traditional leading-edge slat. A morphing leading edge is expected to replace slats to create an innovative high-lift system. This construction significantly reduces air resistance and noise during landing.
Normally, the flaps and slats are lowered during take-off and landing to provide the necessary lift at low speeds. This creates a gap between the wings and slats, which can be seen on the right on the front edge of the wing. Air can flow through the gap from the underside of the wing to the top – generating noise. With the development of the smart droop nose (morphing wing leading edge), the researchers have solved this problem. The smart droop nose morphs in such a way during take-off and landing that the leading-edge slat is no longer needed. The leading edge can be lowered by up to 20 degrees with virtually no loss of lift.
The fan blades on the Ultra High Bypass Ratio (UHBR) test system at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology.
The PowerWall display allows designers and researchers to see future systems and components in unprecedented detail, and from all directions. With special glasses, the projections are seen in three dimensions on the screen. The projectors are located inside the PowerWall.
The rotor test facility at the Institute of Flight Systems.
The world's largest research autoclave is located at the DLR site in Stade.
C²A²S²E-Cluster: Europe's fastest computer for aeronautics research
Since they constitute an appropriate technique for visualising the two individual components of a wake, good visibility of contrails in the cruise range above 10,000 metres is a prerequisite for carrying out the experiments. Experts from the DLR Institute of Atmospheric Physics predicted condensation trail formation using the Schmidt-Appleman criterion.
After arrival at the DLR Center for Lightweight Production Technology (Zentrum für Leichtbauproduktionstechnologie; ZLP) in Stade, the 16-ton lid was mounted on the research autoclave.
What looks like a wind tunnel is actually an air intake chamber. Engine researchers use the 16-metre-long, eight metre- diameter enclosure to remove turbulence from air before it reaches the compressor of an engine during testing. This allows them to achieve optimal and repeatable conditions for their experiments.Fans and compressors are important research topics at the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology by reason of the great influence they exert on the performance of engines and their noise emissions. The researchers are working on new designs for axial and radial compressors, and verifying their multidisciplinary development techniques using prototypes. The multi-shaft compressor test facility, shown in this image being prepared for a test, is essential for this process.
DAAD / Lannert.
Reduced pressure on the top of the blade draws air upwards; this produces a vortex – the blade tip vortex – that is then directed downwards. When other rotor blades subsequently come into contact with these vortices, the 'chopping' or throbbing noise characteristic of helicopters is produced.
The GRoFi, or Large Scale Parts in Fiber Placement Technology, is based on independent robotic units for automated production of components made of composite materials.
Air flows around a rectangular wing in the 50-metre-long transonic wind tunnel at Göttingen. The wing is then caused to oscillate, as can happen during flight. This leads to turbulence in the airflow, which impacts another, smaller aerofoil that also begins to oscillate.
Computer simulation of the turbulence around models of a wing and horizontal stabiliser, as would occur during a gust of wind. The red areas show strong vortices, the blue shows areas with opposite rotation.
GroFi - Large-Scale Parts in Fiber Placement Technology is based on independent robotic units for automated production of components made of composite materials
In the Turbine Department of the DLR Institute of Propulsion Technology, the flow over the Rolls Royce rotor is made visible through the injection of dye.
The HALO research aircraft is unique in the world and is opening up new dimensions in the study of the atmosphere. The combination of range, cruising altitude, payload and comprehensive instrumentation make the aircraft a globally unique research platform.
These investigations are being conducted in the one-metre wind tunnel at DLR Göttingen. "DLR and LaVision have a leading position in optical metrology, and we are bringing some extraordinary investigation subjects with us," explains Richard Bomphrey from the Zoology Department at the University of Oxford as he describes this Anglo-German collaboration. Oxford is one of the leading research centres for the study of insects. The insects are fixed to small rods with a drop of glue, which can be removed upon completion of the tests without harming them.
The key to understanding the flying characteristics of insects lies in precise calculation of the airflow velocities behind their wings. To establish this, these creatures are placed in a wind tunnel to enable them to exhibit the most natural flying characteristics possible. To do this, researchers exploit a reflex action; as soon as locusts cease to feel ground under their feet and find themselves facing a headwind, they begin to fly. The locusts and the moths are fixed to small rods with a drop of glue and are then blown at 11 and seven kilometres per hour respectively. This glue is removed from the insects after completion of the tests, without harming them.
A test candidate from the Germany Armed Forces during the first trial of the new helmet mounted display in the generic cockpit simulator at the DLR Institute of Flight Guidance.
Together with its partners Airbus and Lufthansa Technik, DLR has developed an electrically driven nose wheel powered by a fuel cell. This enables aircraft to move to the runway – or to taxi to their stand – without using their engines. This development can help to significantly reduce pollutant and noise emission. Studies have shown that about 20 percent of the emission of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides and carbon dioxide produced during ground operations at an airport can be avoided. In an initial test conducted in 2011 using the DLR A320 ATRA research aircraft, this nose wheel proved that the electric drive is capable of moving transport aircraft of this size.
The DLR Falcon on a measurement flight. The nose boom is fitted with a five-hole sensor to measure such things as the static and dynamic pressures in the atmosphere. Through intakes on the fuselage exterior of the Falcon, scientists collected data relating to atmospheric trace gases during the SHIVA flights, which enabled them to demonstrate that biogenic halogen compounds can be transported into the higher layers of the atmosphere by tropical storms.
The laser sensor of ALLFlight (Assisted Low Level Flight and Landing on Unprepared Landing Sites) is integrated into the small box below the helicopter. In the framework of DLR's ALLFlight research project, scientists are developing a system to generate a digital map for the cockpit and assist the pilots in difficult situations - up to a fully automated landing.
DLR researchers Gerrit Lauenroth (front) and Felix Werner adjust the laser. This makes the airflow visible.
Seldom do you find a group of travellers as quiet as these 63 mannequins.
At DLR Göttingen, the air flow in the aircraft cabin is made visible with laser and fog particles. The main obejctive of these studies are to increase passenger comfort.
DLR's FHS research helicopter during a test flight in wind conditions. Helicopters can rescue people in danger as well as transport particularly bulky and heavy loads. For this reason, it is important that the helicopter and its external load remain stable and under control during flight. DLR has developed a pilot assistance system (project HALAS - helicopter external load assist system), to stabilise and precisely position the external loads on the helicopter automatically, without intervention of the pilot. This is the purpose of DLR's research helicopter FHS (Flying Helicopter Simulator), a converted Eurocopter EC 135, equipped with the necessary hardware.
What will the aircraft of the future look like? Researchers at the German Aerospace Center are trying to answer this question. One possible option is known as a Blended Wing Body (BWB), an aircraft whose fuselage merges with the aerofoil section of its wings. These aircraft will be lighter, use less fuel and provide more space for passengers. For the first time, DLR researchers have generated computer-based designs for both the fuselage and cabin, establishing a theoretical basis for an enhanced and integrated aircraft design.
Visitors to DLR's German Aerospace Day will be able to take a look at the HBK-1 high-pressure combustor test bench. Scientists here are researching low-emission combustion chambers for aircraft engines.
The DLR Falcon 20E research aircraft was selected as the most appropriate aircraft for measurement flights. The Falcon has a full range of instruments to record flight dynamics and a nose boom that records the local incidence angle at the front of the aircraft in an undisturbed airflow.
Claus Wahl, a DLR scientist in the Chemical Analysis Department, working on a mobile measuring device to analyse exhaust emissions and measure particulates generated by 'Gas to Liquid' (GtL) fuels. In modern combustion research, chemical and instrument analyses are indispensible in analysing the emissions from combustion processes and deriving measurements to reduce pollutants.
On 18 September 2011, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) is holding its Aerospace Day in Cologne-Porz. On this date, DLR and the European Space Agency (ESA) – alongside other partners, will be showcasing their research projects from the aerospace, energy and transport sectors.
Tests have already been carried out on models of the Airbus A380 in the Cologne Cryo-Tunnel (Kryo-Kanal-Köln) – and on German Aerospace Day visitors will get to see an Alpha Jet model. Here, complete models, half models or wing profiles are exposed to wind speeds of up to Mach 0.42 (over 500 kilometres per hour).
DLR researcher Martin Frassl controls a DLR unmanned vehicle to assess the situation at the power plant. People were unable to access the site du eto a risk of collapse. In July 2011, 98 ammunition containers exploded in a Cypriot marine base, severely damaging a power station nearby. 13 people were killed. A nearby 793 megawatt power plant, providing 50 percent of Cyprus’ energy supply, was badly damaged. As part of a European relief campaign, on 22 July 2011, three members of the DLR Institute of Communication and Navigation flew to the site of the disaster.
The flight of birds is still largely unexplored; in particular, the movements performed during the beat of a wing and the airflow around the wing remain a puzzle to scientists. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), in collaboration with RWTH Aachen University (Rheinisch-Westfälische Technische Hochschule Aachen) and the German Armed Forces University in Munich (Universität der Bundeswehr München) is addressing this question. Starting on 26 April 2011, the scientists will be photographing the wings of an owl while in flight inside a closed room at RTWH Aachen University to obtain information about the how the shape of the bird’s wing changes during flight. This calls for basic research. Since the launch of the project in 2008, the team of scientists has succeeded in studying owl wings during gliding flight; the forthcoming measurements will be focussing on the wing beat phase.
The flight of birds is still largely unexplored; in particular, the movements performed during the beat of a wing and the airflow around the wing remain a puzzle to scientists. The German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum fuer Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR), in collaboration with RWTH Aachen University (Rheinisch-Westfaelische Technische Hochschule Aachen) and the German Armed Forces University in Munich (Universitaet der Bundeswehr Muenchen) is addressing this question. Starting on 26 April 2011, the scientists will be photographing the wings of an owl while in flight inside a closed room at RTWH Aachen University to obtain information about the how the shape of the bird's wing changes during flight. This calls for basic research. Since the launch of the project in 2008, the team of scientists has succeeded in studying owl wings during gliding flight; the forthcoming measurements will be focussing on the wing beat phase.
On 1 May 2010, the Falcon took off at 13:00 CEST for another measurement flight over Iceland and its plume of volcanic ash. Despite light cloud cover, measurement conditions were almost perfect. The flight took the Falcon directly over the Eyjafjallajökull volcano. At a distance of approximately 200 kilometres from the volcano, the Falcon flew several times over the volcanic ash cloud at an altitude of six kilometres.
Karen Mulleners from DLR Göttingen adjusts the model of a helicopter rotor in preparation for taking measurements.
Contrails are formed from water vapor together with the soot particles ejected from aircraft. After a short time, ice crystals form in the cold atmosphere. Cirrus clouds can later develop from these contrails.
A fuel cell system delivers electrical energy capable of powering the nose wheel of a 70-ton aircraft.
The nose wheel drive system has already undergone successful tests in the laboratory, and comprises two highly efficient electric motors that are built into the rims of the aircraft's nose wheel.
Thanks to its optical and electronic control system, the FHS can simulate the flight behaviour of other helicopters.
Numerical simulation: Simulated pressure distribution for an airliner in landing approach.