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An optical-scan method for measuring the as installed surface port incidence angles for flush air data sensing (FADS) systems


The Flush Air Data Sensing (FADS) System, where air data are inferred from nonintrusive surface pressure measurements, uses natural contours of the vehicle forebody, wing leading edge, or probe. Although multiple methods have been developed to derive airdata from the sensed pressure matrix, all methods rely on accurate knowledge of local surface contours at the port locations. One of the most well-developed solution methods curve-fits the surface pressure distribution against the associated surface incidence angles using a quasi-Newtonian model. The well-known “Triples” algorithm extracts airdata from the curve-fit model. This solution method requires precise knowledge of as-installed incidence angles, i.e. the angles between the surface normal and the longitudinal axis of the vehicle. This study investigates the feasibility and accuracy of using an inexpensive opticalscanning system to measure the in-situ FADS pressure ports surface incidence angles. Here, two legacy 3-D printed probe shapes, as previously tested during a series of very lowspeed wind tunnel tests, were used to develop and evaluate this method. The shapes 1) a hemispherical head cylindrical forebody, and 2) a Rankine-Body, were scanned along the longitudinal axis and the resulting point-cloud was edited using open-source software to generate three concentric “loops” surrounding each surface port. Each annular loop was assumed as co-planar with the surface port, and the singular-value decomposition (SVD) was used calculate the local surface gradient vector from the null-space solution. From the resulting gradient vector, geometric relationships calculate the port’s polar coordinates including the surface incidence angle. For both body contours the resulting calculations are compared to the “known” design surface angles as prescribed for the 3-D prints. Error plots are presented for each individual ring-set, and for the collected set using all three ring together. For the collected data sets, the incidence angle calculations are accurate to within a quarter-degree.


FADS, airdata, Rankine-body, hemispherical head, incidence angle, opticalscan, singular value decomposition