Nimbler. Faster. Better. These are requirements for the engineers, who’re working on the racers in the back of the famous Red Bull Air Race.
But how could you reach a better racer, if standardized engines and propellers don’t leave any space for optimization?
The answer can be found in bionic surfaces and the potential optimization of individual components through previous CFD-simulation.
In summer 2015 bionic surface technologies worked together with the team of hungarian pilot Peter Besenyei and projectpartners like Red Bull, Zivko Aeronautics and FACC to create a perfect optimized racer. It made it’s debut on 4th July 2015 at the Red Bull Air Race in Budapest.
The beginning of the three months lasting development was marked by choosing the right aircraft: two models, Corvus Racer 540 and ZIVKO EDGE V3, are both in line for optimization.
Both aircrafts were analysed with the help of CFD-simulations to be able to make a decision which aircraft to take. Through the precise calculations a decision for the Zivko EDGE could be made, as it is the more aerodynamic model.
The whole aerodynamics of the aircraft and even hardly visible flows were made visible using CFD-simulations. Through the analysis different parts of the racer became apparent, which need aerodynamic optimizations.
Fundamental changes were made to the cowling. Several models of cooling inlets, which positions and sizes play an important role, were designed and tested in their specific operating points.
Another area of the aircraft, that was optimized, were wingtips. The wingtips play an extraordinary role in the aerodynamics of the racer.
The better the aerodynamics match with the outer conditions, the more advantage has the pilot in the race and the easier is the aircraft to handle in the race.
The cockpit, called canopy, was optimized for the special needs in racing condition. Together with the optimization of the fairings it increases the efficiency and velocity significantly.
The famous Riblet-technology from BST were also implemented. About 4% could had been added to the increase of 13% in efficiency, because of the implementation of shark skins.
Not only the opitimization of ZIVKO EDGE V3 helped Peter Besenyi to make the 6th place, but also to get new Know-How and Input following projects in wind power.
There is a difference between optimized wingtipsand winglets, which are both used in the Red Bull
Air Race. Optimizing wingtips means improving the aerodynamic performance of the standard plain wings while winglets are a complete remodeling of the wingtip in vertical direction. There are various different shapes aiming for a reduced lift-induced drag