NIAR Conducts Subsonic Testing On ScanEagle
The Beech Wind Tunnel at Wichita State University's National
Institute for Aviation Research recently performed subsonic wind
tunnel tests for a full-scale model of Boeing Integrated Defense
Systems' ScanEagle Compressed Carriage, a long-endurance autonomous
Boeing engineers, including Program Manager David Langness,
spent two weeks in the tunnel facilities while the ScanEagle
Compressed Carriage model underwent aerodynamic tests to determine
the impact of thrust and drag.
A portion of the test involved power-testing. The ScanEagle team
provided an electric motor and propeller to replicate the actual
heavy fuel propulsion system of the UAV.
"The pre-test preparation and communication by the ScanEagle
team for this unique test allowed us to obtain data very early in
the testing schedule," said Aerodynamics Lab director John
Langness said his group traditionally performs wind tunnel tests
in Boeing Technology Services wind tunnel or the wind tunnel at St.
Louis University, but the former was too large and the latter was
Chris Tavares, an engineer for the ScanEagle Compressed Carriage
program and 2004 graduate of WSU's College of Engineering,
recommended the Beech Wind Tunnel for the tests because the tunnel
was the perfect size for the ScanEagle's full-scale model.
"It became a perfect fit from that standpoint," said Langness.
"The tunnel has worked out really well, and the staff has been
"The ScanEagle team was great to work with and we enjoyed the
challenges presented by the unique nature of the test," said
Laffen. "We look forward to working with the team again in the
The Beech Wind Tunnel is a 7-foot by 10-foot by 12-foot subsonic
wind tunnel capable of reaching speeds of 240 mph. The tunnel is
equipped with external and internal balances, a sting mount system,
real-time data acquisition and flow visualization.