Full flight envelope direct thrust measurement on a supersonic aircraft / Timothy R. Conners and Robert L. Sims Conners, Timothy R

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Conners, Timothy R
F-15 aircraft.; Strain gages.; Supersonic aircraft.
Direct thrust measurement using strain gages offers advantages over analytically-based thrust calculation methods. For flight test applications, the direct measurement method typically uses a simpler sensor arrangement and minimal data processing compared to analytical techniques, which normally require costly engine modeling and multisensor arrangements throughout the engine. Conversely, direct thrust measurement has historically produced less than desirable accuracy because of difficulty in mounting and calibrating the strain gages and the inability to account for secondary forces that influence the thrust reading at the engine mounts. Consequently, the strain-gage technique has normally been used for simple engine arrangements and primarily in the subsonic speed range. This paper presents the results of a strain gage-based direct thrust-measurement technique developed by the NASA Dryden Flight Research Center and successfully applied to the full flight envelope of an F-15 aircraft powered by two F100-PW-229 turbofan engines. Measurements have been obtained at quasi-steady-state operating conditions at maximum nonaugmented and maximum augmented power throughout the altitude range of the vehicle and to a maximum speed of Mach 2.0, and are compared against results from two analytically-based thrust calculation methods. The strain-gage installation and calibration processes are also described.
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