An evaluation was made of laminar flow control (LFC) system concepts for subsonic commercial transport aircraft. Configuration design studies, performance analyses, fabrication development, structural testing, wind tunnel testing, and contamination-avoidance techniques were included. As a result of trade studies, a configuration with LFC on the upper wing surface only, utilizing an electron beam-perforated suction surface, and employing a retractable high-lift shield for contamination avoidance, was selected as the most practical LFC system. The LFC aircraft was then compared with an advanced turbulent aircraft designed for the same mission. This comparison indicated significant fuel savings and reduced direct operating cost benefits would result from using LFC.
AIRCRAFT DESIGN, TESTING AND PERFORMANCE