QUANTITATIVE EVALUATION OF A THRUST VECTOR CONTROLLED TRANSPORT AT THE CONCEPTUAL DESIGN PHASE
Ricketts, Vincent Patrick
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The impetus to innovate, to push the bounds and break the molds of evolutionary design trends, often comes from competition but sometimes requires catalytic political legislature. For this research endeavor, the ‘catalyzing legislation’ comes in response to the rise in cost of fossil fuels and the request put forth by NASA on aircraft manufacturers to show reduced aircraft fuel consumption of +60% within 30 years. This necessitates that novel technologies be considered to achieve these values of improved performance. One such technology is thrust vector control (TVC). The beneficial characteristic of thrust vector control technology applied to the traditional tail-aft configuration (TAC) commercial transport is its ability to retain the operational advantage of this highly evolved aircraft type like cabin evacuation, ground operation, safety, and certification. This study explores if the TVC transport concept offers improved flight performance due to synergistically reducing the traditional empennage size, overall resulting in reduced weight and drag, and therefore reduced aircraft fuel consumption. In particular, this study explores if the TVC technology in combination with the reduced empennage methodology enables the TAC aircraft to synergistically evolve while complying with current safety and certification regulation. This research utilizes the multi-disciplinary parametric sizing software, AVD Sizing, developed by the Aerospace Vehicle Design (AVD) Laboratory. The sizing software is responsible for visualizing the total system solution space via parametric trades and is capable of determining if the TVC technology can enable the TAC aircraft to synergistically evolve, showing marked improvements in performance and cost. This study indicates that the TVC plus reduced empennage methodology shows marked improvements in performance and cost.