CCIE Funded By NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission
Aeronautics researchers at NASA's Dryden Flight Research Center
recently completed flight tests of a unique experimental jet engine
inlet design in the Channeled Center-body Inlet Experiment, or
The experimental inlet was checked out on NASA Dryden's F-15B
aeronautics research test bed aircraft, which continues to be an
innovative and cost-effective tool for flight test of advanced
propulsion concepts. The CCIE project's primary research objective
was to define the airflow through the experimental jet engine
inlet, then compare it to the airflow through a standard inlet.
Inside, airflow around two interchangeable center bodies installed
in an air inlet tube was measured. The structures are designed to
direct and compress airflow internally through the engine.
One center body is channeled; the other has a conventional,
smooth shape. The slots cut along the length of the channeled
center body simulate a simple device that in an actual inlet would
allow optimization of the amount of air flowing into the engine,
resulting in improved airflow efficiency at a wide variety of
speeds. This would improve fuel efficiency as well.
Six flights were flown, three with each center body installed.
Flight tests were made incrementally at speeds up to Mach 1.74, or
about 1.7 times the speed of sound. Flight data from the smooth
center body were used to benchmark performance data for the
channeled center body. Data points that NASA Dryden engineers
collected during the experiment included inlet mass airflow
information, internal surface pressure distribution numbers, and
airflow distortion, or turbulence, data at the exit end of the
Dryden propulsion engineers are now performing post-flight data
analysis on the two inlet configurations and will report on the
results. The resulting data will also be compared with
computational fluid dynamics, or CFD, predictions. Potential future
applications for the simplified inlet design include its use on a
new generation of supersonic cruise aircraft, reducing the
complexity and weight of this important component of supersonic
The CCIE inlet was developed by TechLand Research, Inc., of
North Olmsted, Ohio, through a NASA Small Business Innovation
Research contract. The CCIE project is funded by NASA's Aeronautics
Research Mission Directorate and managed by the Supersonics Project
in the directorate's Fundamental Aeronautics Program.