AEDC and Edwards teams, UTSI Professor win Tennessee AIAA section awards

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The local Tennessee American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) section recently held its 2008 awards ceremony at the Arnold Lakeside Club.
Awards presented included the Hap Arnold award, two Billy J. Griffith awards, a special award and the AIAA Booster award.

The General Henry H "Hap" Arnold Award, the most prestigious award offered by the section, was given to Prof. Gary Flandro of University of Tennessee Space Institute (UTSI) for his work in combustion instability. After 40 years of research, he is credited with creating a revolutionary engineering tool, the Universal Combustion Device Stability (UCDS) process.

During early 2008, Dr. Flandro and the Gloyer Taylor Labs team applied the UCDS tool to solve a critical issue with NASA's Ares I booster. As has been widely publicized, there is a serious thrust oscillation issue with the Ares I vehicle, which would produce vibration loads in the crew capsule sufficient to injure the crew.

Dr. Flandro and his team performed a sensitivity analysis on the Reusable Solid Rocket Motor-Five design, which identified the motor parameter that was most effective at reducing the amplitude of the thrust oscillations and identified an unexpected and relatively simple means to eliminate the thrust oscillations.

Based on this collective effort, NASA has altered their plans to address the thrust oscillation issue. The agency is now considering the recommended modification to the motor design as a potential solution for the thrust oscillation issue.

The first Billy J. Griffith award was presented to a team made up of propulsion integration experts and system modelers from Arnold Engineering Development Center (AEDC) and the Air Force Flight Test Center (AFFTC) at Edwards AFB for their integration of historical J85 engine ground test results with flight test results, cycle deck and in-flight thrust predictions, and computational fluid dynamics (CFD) predictions. The J85 powers the T-38 military trainer aircraft.

Through their work scaling CFD results using engine bay measurements, the team was able to predict engine stability effects due to temperature distortions induced by the aircraft.

The awardees included Eric Hansen and Ben Tomlinson from Edwards Air Force Flight Test Center; Brett Ables, Brian Binkley, Paul Burns, Dr. Pete Cento, Mark Chappell and Dr. Don Malloy from AEDC; and Jeffrey Monaco from Spire Innovations. The AEDC award recipients are all ATA employees except Burns, who is a coop student with the University of Alabama at Huntsville.

The second Billy J. Griffith award was given to a team comprised of AEDC's Keely Beale, Mark Chappell, Ruth Clowers, Woody Dorrell, Andy Escue, Tommie Heard and Stephen Savelle for their work developing the Engine Cycle Model Integration Software (ECMIS) suite, a set of tools which supports engine health management evaluations for the entire USAF fleet. With the exception of Escue, all of the team members are Aerospace Testing Alliance (ATA) employees. Escue is employed by Dynetics, an ATA subcontractor.

The ECMIS recently entered software acceptance testing for F110-100, F110-129, and F108-100 engines, powering F-16, E-3, E-6, KC-135R and RC-135 aircraft. Application to three other engine lines is underway.

The Billy J. Griffith Engineering Analysis Award is given to an individual or group who performs outstanding work, which integrates modeling and simulation with testing under the Integrated Test and Evaluation paradigm.