August 1, 2016.
A number of smaller projects at the Armstrong Flight Research Center fly on or close to the ground and are subject to ground-level winds. Many of these are new prototype models, such as PRANDTL-D (Preliminary Research Aerodynamic Design to Lower Drag). Waiting for the right conditions on a day of variable winds can sometimes mean that teams fail to complete testing. A strategic analysis of wind behavior at a locations where winds can vary greatly due to terrain could lend insight into the best times to test for near-ground aircraft. The purpose of this project was to data mine historical observations and analyze if certain times of the year or day were more suited to these projects. Data were run through several software analysis programs to determine the optimal times for near-ground flights. The two main variables were wind speed and wind direction. It was found that while late autumn and winter months had the calmest winds, it was the late spring and summer months that had the most consistent winds (coming from the southwest). This presents a potential problem, as some slower-flying aircraft test flights require low wind speeds with consistent wind direction for optimal performance.
Applied Statistics | Atmospheric Sciences | Climate | Meteorology
NASA Armstrong (Formerly Dryden) Flight Research Center
*This material is based upon work supported by the National Science Foundation through the Robert Noyce Teacher Scholarship Program under grant# 1240040. Any opinions, finding, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the National Science Foundation. The research was made possible by the California State University STEM Teacher Researcher Program