Conference paper Open Access

Flexible Structures Response to Ditching Loads

Viana Lozoya, J.T.; Pastor García, G.; Climent Máñez, H.

This paper addresses local structural flexibility aspects on the impact of an aircraft against water during a ditching event (aircraft emergency condition that ends with the planned landing of the aircraft in water). This impact of the sliding aircraft with water is an extreme case of fluid-structure coupling were high pressures may develop, causing cracks and/or ruptures of the structure of, mainly, the lower rear fuselage, and jeopardizing the required safe evacuation of crew and passengers.

For completeness, the paper recalls a description of the ditching tests performed within the European funded research project SMAES and describes the future ditching tests to be performed within the European funded research project SARAH on flexible structures. SMAES tests were first used to derive a synthetic expression of the ditching loads based on rigid plates measurements.

For flexible plates, these synthetic pressures are in turn corrected using local deformation (in terms of local delta-pitch and local delta-z deformation) in an iterative process. When comparing the deformations obtained using Finite Element Method simulation and the corrected synthetic pressures versus SMAES deformation measurements, the results show very good comparison of deformation shape time histories, good comparison of time of occurrence of peak deformation in each pick-up and only fair comparison in terms of deformation levels.

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