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“Next-generation civil tiltrotor project “ begins new windtunnel trials

By Chris Stonor

The T-Wing consortium led by the Italian aerospace research centre CIRA, in partnership with Leonardo Helicopters, has began fresh windtunnel trials for its next-generation Civil Tiltrotor project, reports The aircraft is due to make its maiden flight in 2023.

This  second round of windtunnel testing is now under way as it trials a composite wing to equip a high-speed tiltrotor demonstrator being developed as part of the EU’s Clean Sky 2 programme.

In June 2019, an initial assessment of the NGCTR-TD’s aerodynamic performance was conducted by Leonardo Helicopters with the support of T-Wing, Clean Sky 2’s LIFT project and other partners.

During this new round of trials due to last for two weeks, a 1.2 metre long model, developed by IBK Innovation, is to be used, based on the wing’s aerofoil and complete with a moveable flaperon.

CIRA’s R&D manager and T-WING project coordinator, Luigi Di Palma, explained, “The model will be integrated into a complex experimental set-up called DEMOS. This allows pitch rotation according to user-defined laws”.

He added, “The machine is a dynamic one, able to rotate the wing model at high speed during the windtunnel runs.”

Meanwhile, the T-Wing partners “have completed the critical design review for the structure and have begun initial manufacturing activities to support the production of full-scale ground- and flight-test wings for the project.”

The T-Wing consortium is led by Naples (an Italy-based MA Group), Italian machining expert OMI, crash-test specialist SSM, German engineering consultancy IBK Innovation (specialises in loading and aeroelasticity), and University of Naples Federico II for experimental dynamics.

The Windtunnel

Di Palma continued, “At present, MA Group is finalising the industrial manufacturing process of the wing based on the tooling being constructed by OMI. This wing is a very unconventional design and is based on a highly integrated wingbox concept developed by MA Group on an in-service CS-25 [category aircraft] programme.

He concludes, “Before manufacturing the test articles, the consortium is perfecting the process through several full-scale manufacturing trials that are currently in progress.”

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