A singular values approach in helicopter gas turbine engines flight testing analysis

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The process of empirical models evaluation is at the core business of experimental flight-testing data analysis. Accurate and convenient flight-testing of helicopter engine(s) available power is crucial for predicting the total helicopter performance. Common practice in estimation of in-flight helicopter gas turbine engine power consists of a reduction of flight-test data into simplistic single-variable analysis approach. While such an approach is convenient for practical use, it often results in unrealistic predictions of the available engine(s) power. A novel approach for the helicopter available power problem is the so-called Multivariable Polynomial Optimization under Constraints method. In this method, 18 regressors, constructed from the engine non-dimensional parameters, are used to define empirical polynomial models. This paper is intended to complement the Multivariable Polynomial Optimization under Constraints method and answer the question of which multivariable polynomial can be generally used in representing helicopter gas-turbine engine performance? In this sense, a variety of seven gas-turbine engines installed on different helicopters are analyzed, each one giving 512 possible polynomial models to be used for available-power calculations. While conventional statistical methods of hypothesis-testing failed in providing the answer to the question stated above of which the best general empirical model for representing engine performance is, an alternative approach based on the Singular-Value-Decomposition theorem, was proven successful in providing the answer. Moreover, this approach presented in the paper yielded a short list of 10 simple and convenient multivariable polynomials, best representing the performance of all seven engines analyzed as a group.