Results from an investigation to determine the low-speed tumbling characteristics of twelve generic flying-wing models are summarized. There is a concern that airplanes with flying-wing planforms could inadvertently enter an out-of-control tumbling motion under certain conditions. The objectives of this investigation were to: 1) identify the geometric and mass-related parameters that cause flying wings to be capable of sustained tumbling, 2) analyze some of the driving mechanisms that cause tumbling, and 3) determine the feasibility of using computer simulations to predict the tumbling characteristics of flying wings. Free-tumble and free-to-pitch tests were conducted with dynamically-scaled, generic flying wing models. The use of computer simulations as a predictive tool for tumbling was explored. Results indicated that center-of-gravity location, mass distribution, and geometric aspect ratio strongly affected the tumbling characteristics of the models tested and that positive static stability did not necessarily preclude tumbling. The magnitude of dynamic effects were found to be of the same order as static effects for the models undergoing autorotation-in-pitch. The simulations indicated that the dynamic terms in the equations of motion used to predict tumbling must be obtained using experimental methods that account for the large amplitude/high pitch-rate environment that characterizes tumbling.
AIRCRAFT STABILITY AND CONTROL
AIAA PAPER 93-3615
In: AIAA Atmospheric Flight Mechanics Conference, Monterey, CA, Aug. 9-11, 1993, Technical Papers (A93-48301 20-08); p. 1-11.