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NASA Technical Memorandum 4722

. Jt-2-

Design and Development of

an F/A-18 Inlet Distortion
Rake: A Cost and Time
Saving Solution

Andrew J. Yuhas, Ronald J. Ray, Richard R. Burley,

William G. Steenken, Leon Lechtenberg, and Don Thornton

October 1995

(NASA-TM-4722) DESIGN AND N96-14003

F l i q h t Research Center) 22 p

HI/02 0075098
NASA Technical Memorandum 4722

Design and Development of

an F/A-18 Inlet Distortion
Rake: A Cost and Time
Saving Solution

Andrew J. Yuhas
PRC Inc.
Edwards, California

Ronald J. Ray
Dryden Flight Research Center
Edwards, California

Richard R. Burley
NASA Lewis Research Center
Cleveland, Ohio
William G. Steenken, Leon Lechtenberg
and Don Thornton
General Electric Aircraft Engines
Evendale, Ohio

National Aeronautics and

Space Administration
Office of Management
Scientific and Technical
Information Program
Andrew J. Yuhas"
PRC Inc.
Edwards, California

Ronald J. Ray"
NASA Dryden Flight Research Center
Edwards, California

Richard R. Burley T
NASA Lewis Research Center
Cleveland, Ohio

William G. Steenken,^ Leon LechtenbergS and Don Thornton^

General Electric Aircraft Engines
Evendale, Ohio

ABSTRACT ARP Aerospace Recommended Practice

ac alternating current
An innovative inlet total-pressure-distortion mea-
surement rake has been designed and developed for the CFD computational fluid dynamics
F/A-18 A/B/C/D aircraft inlet. The design was con- DFRC Dryden Flight Research Center,
ceived by NASA and General Electric Aircraft Engines Edwards, California
personnel. This rake has been flight qualified and flown
in the F/A-18 High Alpha Research Vehicle at NASA F/A fighter-attack aircraft
Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, California. FOD foreign object damage
The eight-legged, one-piece, wagon wheel design of GE General Electric
the rake was developed at a reduced cost and offered
reduced installation time compared to traditional GEAE General Electric Aircraft Engines,
designs. The rake features 40 dual-measurement ports Evendale, Ohio
for low- and high-frequency pressure measurements g inertial force expressed in multiples of
with the high-frequency transducer mounted at the gravity
port. This high-frequency transducer offers direct
absolute pressure measurements from low to high fre- HARV High Alpha Research Vehicle
quencies of interest, thereby allowing the rake to be HATP High Alpha Technology Program
used during highly dynamic aircraft maneuvers. Out-
ID inside diameter
standing structural characteristics are inherent to the
design through its construction and use of lightweight LeRC Lewis Research Center, Cleveland,
materials. Ohio
M Mach number
NASA National Aeronautics and Space
Acronyms Administration
NASTRAN NASA Structural Analysis, a finite
AIP aerodynamic interface plane element modeling program
AIR Aerospace Information Report OD outside diameter
ALF aft looking forward PSI Pressure Systems Incorporated,
AOA angle of attack, deg Hampton, Virginia
PSIPP pounds force per square inch, peak to stabilized and highly dynamic maneuvers at high
peak angles of attack.
RTV room temperature vulcanizing Traditional inlet rake systems typically use eight-
legged, duct-mounted cantilevered designs, such as
SAE Society of Automotive Engineers those used on the developmental F/A-18A1 or inlet
X experimental aircraft guide vane leading-edge designs.2 These designs have
commonly required extensive modifications to the air-
Symbols craft or the engine. In particular, the cantilevered sys-
tem, with its individual rake leg designs and
a standard deviation installations, can be costly, because of separate rake leg
development and testing. In addition, this system can
INTRODUCTION be time consuming because of increased structural
modifications of the aircraft and flight qualification
Designing, developing, and installing an inlet testing.
total-pressure-distortion rake can be expensive and Figure 2 shows an inlet rake which was developed by
time consuming. Figure 1 shows the F/A-18 High the NASA Lewis Research Center (LeRC), Cleveland,
Alpha Research Vehicle (HARV) being flown at NASA Ohio, and DFRC. This rake was based on an innovative
Dryden Flight Research Center (DFRC), Edwards, Cal- design concept conceived by NASA and General Elec-
ifornia. The HARV inlet research program goals tric Aircraft Engines (GEAE), (Evendale, Ohio). This
required a low-cost, short-installation-time, and low- approach connects all of the rake legs together at the
maintenance solution to meet the need for a total- hub to form a one-piece, wagon wheel design. This
pressure inlet-distortion measurement system. The design simplifies rake installation and aircraft modifi-
HARV inlet research program evaluates the inlet cation requirements, thus greatly reducing cost and
characteristics of high-performance aircraft during weight. The rake, designed and fabricated by GEAE,

EC 91 495-15
Figure 1. NASA F/A-18 HARV aircraft (preproduction aircraft number 6 modified with multiaxis thrust vectoring
has passed the needed flight qualification requirements but were not limited to instrumentation setup, rake
and has been flown on the HARV. positioning, and probe configuration. The design also
This paper describes the design, fabrication, installa- had to allow accurate data measurements to be gath-
tion, and qualification testing of the HARV inlet rake ered to meet all of the HARV inlet research objectives.
system. Comparisons of cost and installation time This requirement primarily concerned instrumentation
between this design and a previous design are made. selection. In addition, following established industry
The paper also details the design requirements and guidelines wherever possible was desired. Consider-
pressure transducer selection. All stages of flight quali- ations of cost and installation time are always impor-
fication testing, from laboratory to flight test, are tant factors that ultimately constrained the design
described. requirements.
Use of tradenames or names of manufacturers in this
paper does not constitute an official endorsement of Commonality
such products or manufacturers, either expressed or
implied, by the National Aeronautics and Space Inlet instrumentation was required on the HARV to
Administration. correlate flight data with and verify test results from the
planned 9- by 15-ft wind tunnel tests scheduled at the
INLET RAKE SYSTEM REQUIREMENTS LeRC as part of the High Alpha Technology Program
(HATP) inlet research program. In that aspect, the
When considering an inlet rake design for use on the HARV instrumentation was developed to emulate the
F/A-18 HARV flight program, the basic requirements wind tunnel set, limited primarily by the cost and com-
were first established. The most important requirement plexity of modifying the full-scale vehicle.
was to provide as much commonality as practical with Having commonality between the current flight test
the planned HARV inlet wind tunnel test at the LeRC rake and previous F/A-18 flight test rakes was also
and with previous F/A-18 inlet testing. Commonality desirable. In the mid-1970's, the U.S. Navy along with
considerations with past and present testing included industry partners, McDonnell Douglas Aerospace

EC 93 41084-7
Figure 2. NASA and GEAE inlet pressure distortion rake mounted in HARV right inlet.
(St. Louis, Missouri), Northrop Aircraft Division Engineers (SAE) in 1978 to ensure a consistent
(Newbury Park, California), and GEAE conducted an approach to the development of the inlet instrumenta-
inlet evaluation on the second preproduction F/A-18A. tion configuration and to provide a proven and consis-
The original inlet rake design consisted of eight inde- tent method of data analysis.3 The SAE document
pendent, cantilevered rakes, each spaced equiangularly, recommends that the instrumentation and analysis
having five measurement ports per rake located on the methods be agreed upon among the involved parties
centroids of five equal areas.1 Each rake was mounted and remain invariant throughout the propulsion system
to various structural members behind the inlet duct life cycle for all testing. This general approach was fol-
wall. Because of the forces and moments acting on lowed for the design and manufacture of the HARV
each cantilevered rake, special attention was given to inlet rake described here. In 1983, SAE issued a more
the structural design and buildup. To meet the complex comprehensive report, Inlet Total-Pressure-Distortion
inlet rake structural requirements, the bulkhead on air- Considerations for Gas-Turbine Engines, AIR 1419,
craft number 2 was specifically designed to accommo- that provides more detailed information.2
date the inlet rake-mounting requirements. The cost The SAE established the "aerodynamic interface
and time required for this modification was obviously plane" (AIP) as the location of the instrumentation
significant. Figure 3 shows the original rake installed in plane used to define inlet distortion and performance.
aircraft number 2. This original inlet rake design gener- In general, the guide recommended that the AIP should
ally followed the instrumentation guidelines estab- be located in a circular duct as close to the engine face
lished by industry.2-3 as practical. The engine face is defined by the leading
edge of the most upstream engine strut, vane, or blade
Technical Guidelines row. To be consistent with past F/A-18 testing, the
HARV AIP was required to be 4 in. in front of the
An Aerospace Recommended Practice titled Gas engine bullet nose. The standard also established a typ-
Turbine Engine Inlet Flow Distortion Guidelines, ARP ical 40-port rake array for distribution of the total pres-
1420, was established by the Society of Automotive sure ports at the AIP. This array consists of eight

EC 91220-2
Figure 3. Preproduction F/A-18A aircraft number 2 cantilevered inlet rake system.
equiangularly spaced rakes with five ports per rake transducer can either be absolute or differential (with
located at the centroids of equal areas. The original an accurate reference source). This response system
F/A-18 rake (fig. 3) followed this configuration and measures an accurate absolute pressure level. The
was clocked (rotated clockwise aft looking forward high-frequency response probe typically consists of a
(ALF)) approximately 9°. Clocking the rake is often miniature transducer mounted at the AIR This response
required because of structure installation consider- system measures the time-dependent component of the
ations. The HARV inlet flight test program goal was to pressure but, normally, not an accurate absolute pres-
meet this arrangement. Because the original F/A-18A sure level.
rake was installed in the left inlet, the HARV rake, to The HARV research objectives required instrumenta-
be installed in the right inlet, was required to be tion to measure stabilized and dynamic maneuvers.
clocked counterclockwise ALF approximately 9°. This The typical instrumentation setup described in the pre-
configuration would make the installation equivalent vious paragraph would not be adequate to meet the
because of symmetry. demanding requirement of measuring inlet characteris-
tics during dynamic maneuvers without introducing a
HARV Inlet Research Objectives large amount of measurement uncertainty. The HARV
requires a system which would minimize the effects of
Another consideration necessary for the design of the two known drawbacks of the typical instrumentation
inlet rake was its intended use during the HARV inlet setup that affect the ability to measure an accurate pres-
research flight test. The primary objectives of the sure level during a dynamic maneuver: pneumatic lag
research were as follows: and thermal zero shift. Pneumatic lag describes the
1. Determine whether highly dynamic aircraft condition where the pressure signal at the AIP is
maneuvers result in a significant increase in inlet delayed in reference to time to the transducer at the end
pressure distortion levels compared to correspond- of the tubing and, therefore, affects low-frequency
ing steady-flight conditions. response accuracy. Thermal zero shift affects the abil-
ity of the low- and, especially, the high-frequency
2. Determine whether sources other than spatial time- response transducer to accurately measure the pressure
variant distortion lead to engine aerodynamic level at varying inlet temperature conditions. Thermal
instabilities during aircraft departures. zero shift describes the calibration shift of the zero
3. Assess predicted inlet distortion from computa- voltage condition experienced as a pressure-sensing
tional fluid dynamics (CFD) as compared to flight element of the transducer varies with temperature.
test measured levels. Thus, the requirement was to develop an instrumenta-
tion setup that would allow for accurate measurement
These objectives have the dual requirement for gath- of the pressure level and the time-dependent compo-
ering accurate inlet measurements during stabilized nent of the pressure during highly dynamic maneuvers.
and dynamic maneuvers, including aircraft departures. The requirements for pressure and temperature
The instrumentation setup for dynamic maneuvers ranges were determined by the flight conditions where
would require more attention than the setup for stabi- research testing would take place. The HARV research
lized maneuvers. occurred between an altitude from 15,000 to 40,000 ft
and below Mach 0.9 (fig. 4). The necessary instrumen-
Instrumentation tation pressure range was determined to be 2 to 16 psia.
The temperature was from 395 to 618 °R.
Inlet pressure distortion instrumentation typically has Other instrumentation considerations outlined by
the requirement for accurately measuring pressure lev- industry through the SAE include that "the frequency
els at high frequencies. This requirement is typically response characteristic of the probe and transducer
achieved by measuring the inlet characteristics with a combination should be determined with reference to
dual-probe configuration using low- and high- system accuracy requirements." GEAE determined that
frequency response sensors. The low-frequency the highest frequency of interest for the F404-GE-400
response probe usually consists of pneumatic tubing engine was 105 Hz. NASA chose to increase the high-
routed through and beyond the rake where it is con- est frequency of interest to 250 Hz. Industry require-
nected to a highly accurate transducer. This pressure ments for the highest frequency of interest vary. NASA
required the higher range to allow the HARV inlet the freestream total pressure was 20.4 psia. and the hot
research database to be used by all interested industry day total temperature was 618 °R.
customers. The instrumentation accuracy requirement Requirements for the inlet rake design included addi-
needed to meet or exceed the original F/A-18A flight tional aerodynamic and structural considerations.
test. This testing called for the following system accu- Designing the rake legs and center hub with an aerody-
racy as a percent of reading (2o): 3.2 percent at 2 psia, namic shape that minimized airflow disturbance and
1.3 percent at 5 psia, and 1 percent at 32 psia.1 with a blockage factor as small as possible was desir-
A final requirement stated for the instrumentation able. The HARV blockage goal was to be equal to or
was ease of maintainability. Transducers needed to be less than the previous F/A-18A inlet rake design,
accessible without engine removal. The ability to which had a flow blockage of less than 8 percent. 1
replace the transducer without removing the engine Structural requirements included meeting the worse-
was also desirable. Additionally, the transducer or case pressure loads. These loads include an inlet ham-
probe configuration should provide the sensing element mershock overpressure of 20 psi maximum caused by
of the transducer with protection from foreign object an engine surge. The HARV structural load limits with
damage (FOD). the thrust vectoring vanes installed are 5.4 normal g
loads and 2.0 lateral g loads. Of particular concern was
Aerodynamic and Structural Requirements the requirement to meet dynamic structural require-
ments as outlined in DFRC document "Process Specifi-
cation 21-2, Environmental Testing Electronic and
Figure 4 shows the aerodynamic design flight enve-
Electromechanical Equipment."* In particular, the rake
lope. This envelope coincides with the normal operat-
had to be designed stiff enough so that it did not exceed
ing envelope of the HARV aircraft and was chosen to
stress limits at its predominant structural frequencies
allow unrestricted flight with the inlet rake installed.
Inlet research test points were primarily focused at the
*NASA Dryden internal document. "Process Specification 21-2,
low-speed portion of the envelope between Mach 0.3 Environmental Testing Electronic and Electromechanical Equip-
and Mach 0.4. The worse-case dynamic pressure con- ment." Original released on May, 1968 with current updates until
dition was at a Mach 0.7 at sea level conditions where Apr. 1989.

50x10 J


450 kts


.4 .6 .8 1.0
Mach number 940086

Figure 4. HARV inlet rake design flight envelope.

within the airframe and engine operating range. NASA HARV Inlet Rake System and Flight Qualification
also wanted a number of structural materials consid- Testing sections.
ered for the rake including composite materials. Use of One significant advantage of the new rake design
composites could translate into a lighter, more aerody- includes its transportability to other aircraft which use
namic design along with structural tailoring of the rake F404-GE-400 engines, such as other F/A-18, X-29, and
arms as compared to traditional designs. X-31 aircraft. GEAE is currently under contract to
determine the feasibility of extending the current
Cost and Time Considerations design to supersonic flight conditions and to scale this
design to larger inlet diameters.
Two of the critical requirements that had to be met
for the HARV inlet rake design were low cost and min- HARV INLET RAKE SYSTEM
imal installation time. An evaluation of the rake used in
the original F/A-18 inlet compatibility program indi- This section describes the HARV Inlet Rake System.
cated costs in excess of SI.5 million and installation The design and development of the HARV inlet rake
time on the order of 1 year or more. Driving both these system are detailed in the Rake Description, Pressure
factors were the complexity of using eight cantilever Transducer Selection, and Rake Fabrication subsec-
rakes. Those designs had to be developed, tested, and tions. Placement of the rake into the HARV is
installed independently. Installation would require the described in the Rake Installation subsection. A sum-
aft portion of the inlet duct to be extensively rein- mary description of the rake system is described in the
forced. Thus, this evaluation quickly revealed that this Operating Principles subsection.
approach was not viable for the HARV project. A liter-
ature search of past rake designs did not provide a via- Rake Description
ble alternative approach.4'5
During an early design conception meeting, NASA The HARV rake is similar to a wagon wheel with the
and GEAE personnel conceived an alternative streamlined centerbody acting as the hub, the eight
approach in which the eight rake legs would be joined aerodynamic rake bodies being the spokes, and the
at the center of the inlet with a hub similar to that of a inlet duct being the rim. The load-bearing structure is a
wagon wheel. The rake would thus be one piece and welded Inconel 625* unit that joins the rake bodies and
would only have to consider shear loads (no moments) the central hub into a single piece that is supported by
at its attachment points. This alternative would greatly integral footpads and bolted to the aircraft inlet duct
simplify the structural installation requirements. Also, flange (fig. 5). Each of the eight rake legs contain five
it was envisioned that the rake would slip up the back ports located on the centroids of five equal areas of the
of the inlet ahead of the engine and attach to the main flow area. The ports are aligned within 2° of the antici-
bulkhead near this location. pated steady-flow streamlines. The innermost port is
Similar wagon wheel rake designs of the past differ the only one that had to be angled (5.5°) with respect to
from the NASA and GEAE approach. Previous designs the rake body. All others were already within 2° of the
typically used a modified engine bullet nose which flow angle.
acted as the hub. The NASA and GEAE concept would The central hub also contains an isolated metal
be self-supported with no physical contact with the damper ring potted in the polyurethane centerbody
engine. This design would minimize vibrational and (fig. 6). This configuration allows the damping material
force transfer from the engine. The NASA and GEAE to dissipate vibration energy more effectively than an
design would greatly simplify installation and aircraft all-metal body. The same polyurethane material also
modifications and significantly reduce aircraft forms the streamlining of both the centerbody and the
down time. GEAE has successfully designed, devel- trailing edges of the rake bodies. The rake bodies
oped and built one prototype and two flight-worthy (or spokes) of the structure are made by forming sheet
rakes for less than $500,000. One flight-worthy rake metal into the leading edge and sides of the airfoil
had an entire set of high-frequency response transduc-
ers included in the cost. The design details and specifi- 'inconel 625 is a registered trademark of Huntington Alloy Prod-
cations associated with the delivered rake along with ucts Division, International Nickel Company, Huntington Beach,
its flight qualification testing are described in the West Virginia.
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