Aviation Academy

902-B Bland Boulevard    Newport News, VA 23602    Phone: (757) 886-2745    Fax: (757) 877-5647

 

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WIND TUNNEL AT AVIATION ACADEMY: PROJECT HISTORY

Wind Tunnel Design

The wind tunnel was designed by Mr. Arthur Phelps, aeronautical engineer, retired from NASA. Several considerations were required for the design. First, it had to be built in sections in order that the wind tunnel could be relocated at a later date should we acquire a better facility. Second, it had to fit within the available space, 9'x11'x30'. Third, safety was paramount. The drive system had the drive shaft enclosed. The test section was 1/2" lexan to prevent negative pressure collapse. The containment ring around the propeller was 1/2" thick steel to prevent escape of flying parts should the propeller break. A cage was installed around the motor in order that no one had access to the moving parts of the motor.

Key Components

Inlet: Built by Dynamic Engineering, Inc.

The double-curved laminate structure was built in five sections - honeycomb w/frame, two sides, top and bottom. The composite materials were custom constructed under the guidance of Dave Copeland.

Test Section: Built by Bill Reed

The Lexan material was purchased and the section built in Bill's garage. Custom crafting of the door and the model entry disk w/extras for preparation of future model testing. An important element is the smooth finish of the interior to reduce drag on the walls which drops the size of the boundary layer.

Diffuser: Built by students

Starting in the summer of 1999, students volunteered to help construct the Mitsubishi panels. Mitsubishi Chemical Division donated this Apolitic composite layered material. Apolitic is fabricated in the Chesapeake, VA facility and is extremely strong, generally used for building exterior finishes which require strength and polish. Besides strength, replacing plywood, the interior is very smooth which reduces the boundary layer. The students placed 850 pop rivets and 850 screws to attach the sides to corner supports.

Transition Section: Built by Advex

The transition pieces were bent by Peninsula Sheet metal. The angles were rolled by Cushing Manufacturing of Richmond, VA. Then Advex assembled and Mig welded the pieces into one piece. The painting was done by Coxton's Auto Body.

Containment Ring: Built by Advex

The 1/2" thick 4 ft. diameter ring was rolled by Machine Service of Richmond, VA. Then Advex mig welded the piece together. The painting was done by Coxton's Auto Body.

Drive System: Built by Eagle Aviation

Drive Support: Built by Plant Services of NNPS

Data Acquisition: Built by VigYan, Inc

Model Movement Mechanism: ATI

Balance/sting: NASA

Pitot and Alpha (Angle of Attach Mechanism) by ViGYAN - 2013

 

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