In the framework of fast rotorcraft, smoothness and flushness of external aerodynamic surfaces present challenges for high-speed conditions, where aerodynamics is the driver of helicopter performance. For AIRBUS-RACER helicopter the main landing gear trap doors are parts of the lower wing skins (in retracted configuration) affecting helicopter performance by minimizing the drag. Flushness requirements must not be in contrast with the functionally of the Landing gear system that must open and close the doors during the landing gear retraction-extension phases at moderately low velocity. To manage these goals, a novel design logic has been identified to support the trap doors development phase. The identified way to proceed needs of relevant numerical method and tool as well. This method is aimed at identifying the main landing gear composite compartment doors in pre-shaped configuration to match the smoothness and door-stopper engagements over each aerodynamic conditions. The authors propose a detailed non-linear Finite Element method, based on MSC Nastran (MSC Software, Newport Beach, US) SOL-400 solver in which the structure is modelled with deformable contact bodies in a multiple load step sequence, open door condition and pre-shaped, deformed under actuator pre-load, under flight load conditions. The method includes the entire pre-stressed field due to the preload and the actual door stiffness, considering the achieved large displacement to verify the most representative strain field during loads application. The paper defines a robust methodology to predict the deformation and ensure the most appropriate door “pre-bow” and pre-load, in order to achieve the desiderated structural shape that matches aerodynamic requirements. The main result is the identification of a pre-shaped doors configuration for the Airbus RACER Fast Rotorcraft.
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