Apparatuses and methods for aerodynamic window assemblies
U.S. PATENT: 10,293,915
INVENTORS: RANDAL H. SMITH, PHILIPPE R. SPALART, STEPHEN T. LEDOUX, HUGH POLING, JERALD C. BAILLE
Window assemblies are used to surround or enclose the cockpit of an aircraft. Such structures, however, depending on their exact shape, can have issues related to flow separation. Flow separation creates turbulence and may increase noise, which can disturb the comfort and concentration of the pilot and flight crew. Moreover, flow separation may also increase drag, which may reduce aircraft performance.
This recent Boeing patent describes apparatuses and methods that both reduce flow separation and improve airflow around the window assemblies. The window assembly includes a windshield, a side window, a post between the windows and an airflow surface. The airflow surface is on the exterior of the windows and post and has a first radius of curvature proximate the leading edge and a second radius of curvature proximate the trailing edge, wherein the first radius of curvature is less than the second radius of curvature. The contour of the airflow surface reduces the peak Mach number and the shock-wave strength, thus significantly reducing flow separation.
Reducing flow separation reduces flight deck noise by weakening the pressure fluctuations on the side window, which improves pilot and crew comfort while potentially benefitting aircraft performance.