Study of external air flow for an AURORA

Alves Ribeiro (University of Trás‐os‐Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Vishveshwar R. Mantha (University of Trás‐os‐Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)
Abel I. Rouboa (University of Trás‐os‐Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA)
Daniel A. Marinho (University of Beira Interior, Covilhã, Portugal)
António J. Silva (University of Trás‐os‐Montes and Alto Douro, Vila Real, Portugal)

Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology

ISSN: 0002-2667

Publication date: 6 September 2011



The purpose of this current study is to identify the optimal stable position of airship, with reference to spatial variation of atmospheric wind flow, so as to reduce the vibrations and thus aid in the development of control mechanism of airship dynamics.


Study of uniform flow under steady‐state conditions was carried out through the measurements of pressure and velocity in a wind tunnel at low Mach numbers on airship model (in order of size, 1:13) inclined to the uniform air stream at various angles. The measurements have been made for a range of angles of incidence, in both vertical and horizontal planes, with a Reynolds number, based on the free stream velocity and a body cross‐sectional dimension, of order of four and six, respectively. Steady‐state numerical simulations were performed, serving comparative investigation with experimental data for the specific case of the model inclined to the free stream, with orientation of side‐slip (yaw) angle β=0 and angle of attack (pitch) α=0.


The numerical results showed similar trend as found by experimental analysis. In this study, several factors such as the pressure (Cp), lift (CL), drag (CD) coefficients, pressure and air velocity were taken into account for comparative analysis. The analysis paved the way in identification of constructively stable position of airship model with orientation of β=0 and α=0, with respect to air flow direction.

Practical implications

The current findings aid in the development of control mechanism of airship dynamics.


The experimental analysis of the airship model is presented along with computational fluid dynamics analysis of optimised shape of airship model in different orientations with respect to direction of airflow.



Ribeiro, A., Mantha, V., Rouboa, A., Marinho, D. and Silva, A. (2011), "Study of external air flow for an AURORA", Aircraft Engineering and Aerospace Technology, Vol. 83 No. 5, pp. 255-265.

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