PRODIGE is aimed at producing experimentally accurate loads and hinge moment data at high Mach and flight Reynolds numbers, as a result of an experimental test campaign to be performed in the European Transonic Wind (ETW) tunnel.

At this aim, the consortium PRODIGE has to perform the design of the experimental setup, that is to design and manufacture a 1/16 scale model of a business jet including all the instrumentation necessary for the experiments. The developed model will be tested at several Reynolds and Mach numbers (flight conditions) and at several aileron deflection angles inside ETW.

Nowadays aircraft design processes are strongly challenged. The design process needs to be more efficient, meaning faster and more accurate. One approach is to deliver high-fidelity data earlier than before, so that the iterative design process can benefit from them and less design loops are needed. Moreover, in the early design phase of an aircraft, the conservatism in the estimation of loads and of hinge moments of the control surfaces needs to be reduced especially (but not only) in transonic flow conditions where the effects on the loads uncertainty becomes more relevant.

Panel code analysis, low fidelity CFD investigations, existing wind tunnel and aircraft flight test data are usually used during the aircraft design process allowing the estimation of the control surface loads. Most of these methods are mainly based on statistical data of other aircrafts and scaling/ tuning with the drawback of an overestimation of aerodynamic forces and thus of required control surface actuator power and size, increasing weight and thus cost of aircraft development and operation.

However, wind tunnel tests are very time consuming, costly and too risky for a preliminary design phase. As a consequence, there is a strong need for a relatively inexpensive, more accurate and reliable method to predict control surface hinge moments and loads in general.

The aim of PRODIGE is to generate a database of local and global loads measurements in a high-speed high-Re environment (cryogenic and pressurized Wind Tunnel), to feed the development of such new methodologies and tool. In order to achieve accurate and reliable loads and hinge moment data, PRODIGE will improve the measurement tools to locally measure forces/ moments such as hinge moments on balances or forces acting on specific components. Different technologies are investigated, namely internal sensors (local balances) either realised using strain gauges as the traditional and most reliable way of measuring or using COTS-force-cells; and external sensors measuring distributions/ deformations or other structural responses usually using optical/ non-contact methods allowing to post-process data (e.g. by integrating a pressure distribution, deformations subjected to a model to analyse local loads/ moments)

PRODIGE pursues the developed of internal sensors/ solutions for the measurement of local control surface loads (Hinge moments), due to the fact that external sensors do not measure directly what is needed (pressure distributions that have to be integrated and post-processed to derive loads), and the presence of a post-processing chain makes the whole process more complex and less accurate. Furthermore, the advantage of the internal solutions is clearly the higher precision that can be achieved with state-of-the-art strain-gauge technology even with the challenge of the high implementation effort due to local thermo-elastic effects.

IBK coordinates the Consortium, is the WT model design leader, and manage the WT test campaign from a technical and contractual point of view.

PRODIGE started 03/2018 and has a duration of 30 months. The consortium consists (apart from IBK) of the following partners:

  • TU Darmstadt: Balance design, balance instrumentation, calibration and test
  • DEHARDE: Model manufacturing and instrumentation
  • DREAM Innovation: Design support by performing CFD-calculations to support local/ global loads and deformations for balance design, analysis of aeroelastic effects.
  • IBK


Publishable data in Prodige is listed as follows, please use the linkt open the data:

Name Description Link License
Desing concept Figure showing the concept of the PRODIGE-model design Link to figure CreativeCommons
Balance Adaptor Figure showing the concept for the balance adaptor Link to Figure CreativeCommons

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