Published in Journal of Aerospace Engineering, Volume 223, Issue 4, January 1, 2009, pages 323-340. Copyright © 2009 Institution of Mechanical Engineers. The definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.1243/09544100JAERO411.
NOTE: At the time of publication, the author Russell M. Cummings was not yet affiliated with Cal Poly.
As the capabilities of computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to model full aircraft configurations improve, and the speeds of massively parallel machines increase, it is expected that CFD simulations will be used more and more to steer or in some cases even replace traditional flight test analyses. The mission of the US Air Force SEEK EAGLE office is to clear any new weapon configurations and loadings for operational use. As more complex weapons are developed and highly asymmetric loadings are requested, the SEEK EAGLE office is tasked with providing operational clearances for literally thousands of different flight configurations. High-fidelity CFD simulations employing the turbulent Navier–Stokes equations are in a prime position to help reduce some of the required wind-tunnel and/or flight test workload. However, these types of CFD simulations are still too time consuming to populate a full stability and control parameter database in a brute-force manner. This article reviews results previously published by the authors, which validate the ability of high-fidelity CFD techniques to compute static force and moment characteristics of aircraft configurations. A methodology to generate efficient but non-linear reduced-order aerodynamic loads models from dynamic CFD solutions, which in-turn may be used to quickly analyse various stability and control characteristics at a particular flight condition, is introduced, and the results based on the US Air Force F-16C fighter aircraft that exemplify the process are discussed.