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Towards an Aircraft with Reduced Lateral Static Stability Using Differential Thrust

Abstract : In the context of aircraft drag reduction, we study the possibility of reducing the area of the vertical tail using Distributed Electric Propulsion (DEP) while maintaining lateral stability with active Differential Thrust (DT). Distributed Electric Propulsion is usually thought of as a mean to increase aerodynamic efficiency by exploiting the benefic effects of accelerating air around key parts of the aircraft. However, it can also be seen as a collection of actuation devices generating additional moments through Differential Thrust. When the engines are distributed along the lateral axis, the aircraft designer may take advantage of the increase of control authority on yaw to reduce the static stability or the control authority provided by the Vertical Tail (VT). This in turn would allow a reduction of vertical tail surface area. In order to explore and assess this idea, we suggest a framework to compare flight qualities of a traditional configuration versus a configuration using Distributed Electric Propulsion and Differential Thrust. The framework provides information on the flight envelop and stability of the aircraft by computing a map of the equilibriums. Thanks to a global approach, it allows to study any aircraft or DEP configurations in any flight phase. In addition, a key feature of the framework is the inclusion of the VeDSC[1] method to compute analytically the contribution of the vertical tail to lateral stability. It allows to study effects of a 30% reduction of VT surface area. Here are presented the first results and potential of using differential thrust to reduce the area of the vertical tail and the reasons for us to continue developing this framework.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02167345
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Eric Nguyen Van, Daniel Alazard, Philippe Pastor, Carsten Döll. Towards an Aircraft with Reduced Lateral Static Stability Using Differential Thrust. 2018 Aviation Technology, Integration, and Operations Conference, Jun 2018, Atlanta, United States. pp.AIAA-2018-3209, ⟨10.2514/6.2018-3209⟩. ⟨hal-02167345⟩

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