Improving the Propulsion Aerodynamics of Turboprop Aircraft

Increased fuel costs and environmental pressures have highlighted the need for more efficient, cleaner and quieter aircraft. Turboprops offer up to 30% savings in fuel burn compared to an equivalent turbofan powered aircraft. Dowty Propellers is currently one of only two global manufacturers of large composite propeller blades and the associated systems for these aircraft.

The large commuter turboprop market is expected to expand with new 80-100 passenger aircraft being launched in the next 2-5 years. Improved performance and passenger comfort will be key factors in the selection of propellers. Dowty Propellers is a recognised world leader in large propeller systems and has identified a number of aerodynamic and acoustic innovations to improve the noise and efficiency of turboprop aircraft – thereby increasing market potential and future UK exports.

In collaboration with the Aircraft Research Association (ARA) and the University of Liverpool, Dowty Propellers has researched these aerodynamic and acoustic designs, developed advanced analysis tools and performed wind tunnel tests to develop these technologies into practical solutions.

The intellectual property (IP) generated by IMPACTA has given Dowty Propellers a significant competitive advantage in this area. The establishment of a large scale installed propeller wind tunnel test rig will also be beneficial in new programmes.

An overseas sub-contractor, Netherlands National Aerospace Laboratory (NLR), has been involved to lend expertise in the processing of acoustic signals and related passenger perception experimental techniques, to help development of a cabin simulator at the University of Liverpool. The flexibility to work with a European partner within the project provides a unique capability, which otherwise would not have been available to the project group.

Download the Improving the Propulsion Aerodynamics of Turboprop Aircraft case study
Short Title: IMPACTA
Project Number: 110110
Project Cost: £3,887,400
End Date: 31st Mar 2016
Time Horizon: Exploit
Lead Partner: GE Aviation Systems Limited
Attributes: Fuel Efficiency, Environment, Passenger Experience
ATI Value Stream: Propulsion of the future