Aerodynamic characteristics of helicopter engine side air intakes are investigated. The experimental data set is obtained by wind tunnel testing of a full-scale helicopter fuselage section model. For the simulation of realistic engine operation, engine mass flow rates are reproduced. Five-hole pressure probe data of the aerodynamic interface plane as well as local surface pressure distributions are compared for different geometries and operation conditions. Previous investigations indicate that unshielded, sideways-facing air intakes yield lowest distortion and highest total pressure levels in low speed conditions. In fast forward flight condition, however, forward-facing intake shapes are more beneficial. On this basis, the current research assesses the optimization potential of retrofit modifications such as a rear spoiler (small scoop) and an intake guide vane. Two optimal configurations of retrofit modifications are identified, combining benefits of the various basic intake and plenum chamber shapes.
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