As of 8 Sep 99 MV-22 AND KC-10 TEAM UP FOR WAKE SURVEY TESTS by Gidge Dady V-22 Public Affairs
Naval Air Station PATUXENT RIVER, MD --V-22 pilots and engineers recently conducted follow-on dry-plug aerial refueling tests to gather data that will enable them to evaluate the MV-22’s flying qualities in the wake of a 490,000 lb. refueling tanker. Using Engineering and Manufacturing, Development (EMD) aircraft number 8 and a KC-10 Air Force tanker, these “dry” in-flight refueling tests will reveal what wake conditions are created when the V-22 approaches the KC-10’s refueling drogue at various speeds and distances.
Before any actual in-flight refueling is done, wake surveys must be conducted to ensure that the airflow behind the tanker is calm enough for the Osprey to fly in and get refueled from the trailing drogue. For these tests, the airflow was measured with the long orange probe that sits ahead of the Osprey’s nose. This probe, an instrumented boom containing sensors that react to aerodynamic forces and pressures, measures the flow of air before it hits the aircraft.
In one of the tests conducted to measure air turbulence and flight stability, the pilots positioned the V-22 at varying distances behind the tanker and began to “box” the refueling drogue. In this maneuver, the pilots would move the aircraft an equal number of feet from the drogue in four directions, left, right, up, and down, in order to collect data and assess how the aircraft handles. In a similar test, the KC-10 made slow right and left 15 degree bank turns and the same boxing technique was performed to survey the wake.
According to Diego Mera, the V-22 Integrated Test Team fuel systems engineer, “the V-22 reached an airspeed of 200 knots behind the KC-10 during some of these tests and successfully flew behind the drogue. The aircraft was stable and maneuvered well.”
Although this is the first time the V-22 has done a wake survey test behind the KC-10, Mera said that previous tests showed that the Osprey is stable behind other big tankers, such as the KC-130, as well.