TsAGI engineers research the creation of a “more electric aircraft”
11 January 2018
Improved cost-effectiveness and environmental friendliness of future passenger aircraft due to reduced weight of onboard equipment and lower maintenance costs are the main advantages of the so-called “more electric aircraft” (MEA) being developed today.
Currently, the staff of TsAGI (a member of the National Research Center “Zhukovsky Institute”) is testing MEA control system actuators.
Another pilot unit testing campaign was completed in December. At that time a dual-mode electrohydraulic drive with combined speed control for passenger aircraft elevation rudder was tested. TsAGI’s engineers experimentally determined static and dynamic performance of the unit, including under load.
Among other results, the tests showed mechanical impedance of the drive, i.e., its ability to maintain a given position under dynamic loading. This was the first time that such data for devices of this type were obtained in Russia.
“The main issues associated with such drives include excessive heat generation,” explained the chief project officer and engineer of TsAGI’s Flight Dynamics Department Anton Steblinkin. “We minimized this phenomenon by adjusting the algorithms. During the tests no critical heating occurred in any part of the unit.”
In addition, TsAGI’s engineers carried out semi-realistic simulation: passenger aircraft flight was simulated using a full-scale drive and mathematical aircraft model. During the virtual flight the most challenging operating scenario for the unit under test was simulated, involving a high level of long-acting turbulence.
The tests generally confirmed the results of computational studies: weight, power and dynamic performance of the unit supports the potential for successful use of the equipment in transport aircraft control systems.
The next stage of the experiments is scheduled for the first half of 2018. TsAGI’s engineers will test the combined drive, designed to use an improved hydraulic circuit, and carry out additional studies of its fail-safety.