Mitigating the Wake of Very Large Air Tankers for Retardant Capture Concerns
The firefighting air tanker family comprises many aircrafts and associated delivery systems. During the airdrop of the firefighting liquid, a significant part of it is captured in the vortical wake generated by the aft fuselage of the aircraft (the socalled upsweep vortices) and does not contribute to the ground footprint. The aft fuselage and control surfaces are then covered by an extremely corrosive product. The present study aims to optimize a wake mitigation system, previously patented for tactical military airdrop operations. The latter should be adaptable to large aircrafts such as airliners or tactical military transport aircrafts, to eventually transform them into firefighting aircrafts while allowing for reduced capture of the released fluid by the upsweep vortices. In this context, the multi-parametric optimization process of the system composed of adaptive ramps of vortex generators relies on a genetic algorithm coupled with high-fidelity numerical flow simulations. The configurations thus determined as optimal are then tested in a wind tunnel to validate the approach.