Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI wins competition of R&D projects promoting the development of the Arctic and continental shelf

20 November 2017

This fall, scientists of the Zhukovsky Central AeroHydrodynamic Institute (TsAGI, a member of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”) won the third prize in the International Competition of Scientific, Technical and Innovative Projects Aimed at the Development and Exploration of the Arctic and the Continental Shelf. The jury praised the project “Development of air cushion undercarriage to be used in aircraft for take-off and landing on basic runways and in vehicles to improve cross-country capacity in the Arctic zone.”

These results became possible thanks to R&D activities carried out by the team of Hydrodynamics and Industrial Aerodynamics of TsAGI during the last six years. TsAGI’s engineers developed a fundamentally new air cushion undercarriage design, which will enable all year-round safe take-off and landing of aircraft. With that, high operational performance is maintained on water and unprepared flat terrain surfaces, even with significant irregularities.

“In Arctic, tundra, taiga environments the possibility of stationing without an airfield is extremely critical,” said Yuri Merzlikin, the chief engineer of TsAGI’s Hydrodynamics and Industrial Aerodynamics Department. “The use of an air cushion undercarriage makes it possible to drastically improve operational performance of aircraft, ram wing platforms and special-purpose vehicles in terms of terrain crossing capacity, stability and amphibiousness. The advantage of the air cushion undercarriage integrated with the air frame, in comparison with all-terrain wheeled undercarriage is lower weight and lower loads during movement (due to distributed loading). This can improve fuel efficiency by 2–3 %. In addition, air cushion undercarriages can be used for boats and tractor-based vehicles for transportation of goods or laying gas pipelines in hard-to-reach areas. This is the unique feature of our project.”

In the course of development, TsAGI’s engineers created mathematical models of undercarriages and radio-controlled models of a light transport aircraft with an air cushion undercarriage, tested in the hydrochannel and the Institute’s subsonic wind tunnel. The authors of the project also produced a mobile test bench with a combined air cushion undercarriage and conducted field experiments on water, ground and snow surfaces. An additional challenge was to study the elements of flexible chassis enclosures in TsAGI’s wind tunnel. For this purpose, a “flat compartment” test bench was created, enabling to further refine the undercarriage extension system.

The main objectives of the competition include promotion of sustainable social and economic development and exploration of the Arctic and the continental shelf, encouragement of R&D and innovative activities, support of talented youth, practical implementation of projects of young scientists, inventors, corporate rationalizers and students. The Competition is organized by TEKHNOLOGII RAZVITIYA LLC. The Competition is supported by the Government of the Russian Federation, the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation, federal executive bodies and regional government bodies of the Russian Federation, and the Russian Academy of Sciences. The Ministry of Energy of the Russian Federation oversees preparation of the competition by federal executive bodies.

TsAGI Press Service
+7 (495) 556-40-38

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