Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute
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TsAGI discusses the all-electric aircraft research progress

6 March 2014

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A joint meeting of the working groups of the Expert Council of the Federal Target Program “Development of Civil Aviation” was held at the Central Aerohydrodynamic Institute named after Prof. N.E. Zhukovsky (TsAGI), which discussed the progress of research on the all-electric aircraft and the prospects for further development in this area.

“The next generation aircraft face increased requirements in terms of operating costs, environmental impact and fuel & energy efficiency, which poses a number of challenges to aviation experts, requiring a search for fundamentally new approaches to the appearance of prospective aircraft,” Deputy Director General of FSUE TsAGI Igor Kovalyov said in his welcoming speech.

One of the most important areas of aviation development today is to move towards the concept of an aircraft with all-electric equipment. The common conditional name for such a promising aircraft is all-electric aircraft, or AEA. It’s an aircraft with a single centralized power supply system, supplying all of its energy needs.

In Russia in 2008-2010, the United Aircraft Corporation in cooperation with the state research centers (SRC) and other aviation enterprises completed a comprehensive R&D work, entitled “Electric Aircraft” under the Order of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade.

“The studies resulted in the development of the basic design principles of AEA power supply system; alternative implementation options were offered,” noted the director of Scientific and Technical of the United Aircraft Corporation Vladimir Kargopoltsev. “Also, experts assessed the effectiveness of these technologies on upcoming long-haul aircraft and developed some experimental samples of AEA equipment. As a part of comprehensive R&D, an efficient cooperation has been organized, involving UAC, research organizations from the aerospace industry, enterprises and organizations of the ‘Aviatsionnoye Oborudovanie’ Holding and a number of leading developers of aircraft electrical systems, and a comprehensive AEA work program was developed.”

The main task of the Russian aviation scientific community is to create long-term competitive Russian aircraft. “We can achieve drastic improvements of aircraft by improving reliability and service life, reducing the cost of development and operation, improving aircraft performance and environmental characteristics,” explained Director and Chief Designer of Tests, Bench Equipment and AEA program of the Avionics Research Institute Vitaly Suchkov. “Implementing the concept of all-electric aircraft would eliminate hydraulic and pneumatic power systems, will allow the building of an aircraft engine without the gearbox, resulting in reduction of takeoff weight, fuel economy and the reduction of operation costs of the aircraft.”

Taking part in the AEA program, TsAGI is working on electrification of aircraft actuators. Going forward, this just will allow abandoning hydraulic systems and hydraulic actuators on the aircraft. “Scientists of the Institute have completed research work on the development and optimization of structures of redundant steering actuator systems including drives with electric power supply, complying with specified reliability and fail-safety characteristics,” said the deputy chief of the Aircraft Dynamics and Control Systems Department of FSUE TsAGI Vladimir Kuvshinov. “Performance requirements to such drives have been developed, and comparative analysis of different types of electric actuators has been performed. TsAGI also participated in the development of experimental models of electric wires and tested them on its own unique benches using proprietary methods.”

TsAGI is actively involved in the development of an electrical chassis, allowing for aircraft taxiing without turning on the engine and without the use of special tow trucks. It is assumed that the experimental model of the chassis will be demonstrated at MAKS-2015.

In order to prepare proposals aimed at speeding up the work on AEA, an expert group was set up by order of the Director General of TsAGI B.S. Aleshin.

Group Leader, Deputy General Director of FSUE TsAGI, Chief of Flight Safety Complex Valery Sukhanov noted that the main objective of the proposed activities is coordination of the work performed by various enterprises and achievement of the level of the technology development that enables its use in retrofitting and in future aircraft.

Participants of the meeting held at TsAGI identified key areas of the comprehensive program for the creation of an all-electric aircraft and decided to take the developed draft program as a basis and after revision seek to include it in the Federal Target Program “Development of Russian Civil Aviation.”

TsAGI Press Service
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