The ARM flights were flown at NASA’s Subsonic Research Aircraft Testbed G-III aircraft, or SCRAT, at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. NASA combination of three technologies, including the landing gear, noise reduction, landing gear cavity treatments, and the Adaptive Compliant Trailing Edge flexible wing flap, to show a reduction in airframe noise in more than 70 percent. This can reduce aircraft noise for the communities living in the vicinity of airports. Credits: NASA/Ken Ulbrich
Commercial aircraft are big, heavy and noisy as they fly through the air, but much of that sound as they come in for the landing is generated by the airframe rather than the engine. NASA decided to try and make aircraft quieter, use of new technology, and the end result is up to 70 percent reduction in airframe noise.
As NASA explains, the majority of complaints to the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) receives from the public about aircraft noise. NASA’s Langley Research Center in Virginia launched an investigation into the situation and identified three main areas where the noise reduction can be achieved: the landing gear, cavities, and butterfly valves.
When an aircraft a trajectory of approach for landing, the landing gear down. This creates two noise problems. The first is the extra noise produced by the landing gear itself as the air rushes into and around it. The second is the open cavity left by the landing gear when it is turned off. The air trapped in this cavity produces a lot of extra noise.
NASA to significantly reduce the sound made by the landing gear through the cockpit porous along the front. So instead of air is deflected and forced to use the gear, it can travel through the porous frame. For the cavity noise, it was discovered that the arrows on the front of the cavity, sound-absorbing foam on the back, and a net was stretched across the opening changed airflow and a reduction of the generated noise significantly.
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To reduce the wing flap noise, NASA replaced standard wing flap with a new flexible flap. It is a seamless flap with no gaps between the cover and the main body. This not only increases efficiency, but also reduces the noise level.
The different technologies are tested as a part of a series of Acoustic Research Measurement (ARM) flights performed in May at NASA’s Armstrong Flight Research Center in California. A modified Gulfstream III research aircraft flew 350 meters above the 185-sensor, microphone to measure noise. The end result was an airframe noise reduction of more than 70 percent.
This is fantastic news for the ears of anyone who lives near an airport and suffer daily with planes landing and taking off every few minutes. It is also encouraging to note that none of these tech looks to difficult to install on existing aircraft. Combine this with NASA’s folding wings, and you have quieter flying, which is also much more efficient.
This article originally appeared on PCMag.com.