Discus-2c DLR

DLR measurement glider
DLR measurement glider
Image 1/2, Image: IDAFLIEG.

DLR measurement glider

The new measurement glider Discus-2C DLR (top) with its predecessor, the DG 300 17, during comparative flight.

Discus-2C DLR behind the DLR tow plane
Discus-2C DLR behind the DLR tow plane
Image 2/2, Image: IDAFLIEG.

Discus-2C DLR behind the DLR tow plane

The sensor systems in the new DLR glider permit variable installation. So, for example, questions of aeroelasticity can also be addressed.

The Discus-2c DLR heralds the start of a new generation of research gliders in almost every respect, coming in gradually to replace the reference glider DG 300 17. Its structural design demonstrates progress; while the DG is made of glass-reinforced plastic (GRP), the Discus is constructed using the current industry standard, carbon-fibre-reinforced polymer (CFRP).

The flight performance of the Discus has been precisely analysed to make it suitable for use as reference aircraft to benchmark the performance of new glider designs. The polar curves this has revealed are substantially flatter, especially in the high-speed flight regime, and are therefore ideally suited to comparing cutting-edge, high-performance gliders.

A special feature of the Discus 2c-DLR is its generous storage space for measurement electronics. To achieve this, the fuselage accommodates a large box, accessible from outside and offering space for sensors, GPS receivers and measurement systems. The sensor systems fitted to the Discus were planned in cooperation with the Technical University of Braunschweig during the aircraft procurement phase and then bonded into the exposed structural components during construction. For instance, the fuselage and the wings are fitted with over a dozen strain gauges, designed to measure the load exerted during various flight conditions. The starboard wing also houses a fibre Bragg grating with glass fibre running along the spar. This system is used to make extremely precise measurements of wing deflection.

The most visible alteration compared with the standard aircraft is the nose boom. It is fitted with what is known as a five-hole probe, which is used for very accurate measurements of the angle of attack. Additional modifications such as external load points, the cockpit display, differential GPS system and data logger ensure that the aircraft is ideally prepared as a modular measurement platform for various research projects. Future analysis will focus on aeroelasticity, in-flight parameter identification and questions relating to human-machine interfaces in addition to measuring flight performance.

Technical dataDiscus-2c DLR
Length:6.8 metres (plus nose boom)
Height:1.3 metres
Wingspan:18 metres
Total weight:565 kilograms
Water ballast:208 litres
Wing loading:maximum 52 kilograms per square metre
Best glide ratio:(yet to be measured)
Landing gear:retractable, spring-loaded undercarriage
Maximum speed:280 kilometres per hour
Minimum speed:75 kilometres per hour
DLR Flight Operations:Braunschweig

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