A study of the application of power-spectral methods of generalized harmonic analysis to gust loads on airplanes

Harry Press, Bernard Mazelsky

The applicability of some results from the theory of generalized harmonic analysis (or power-spectral analysis) to the analysis of gust loads on airplanes in continuous rough air is examined. The general relations for linear systems between power spectrums of a random input disturbance and an output response are used to relate the spectrum of airplane load in rough air to the spectrum of atmospheric gust velocity. The power spectrum of loads is shown to provide a measure of the load intensity in terms of the standard deviation (root mean square) of the load distribution for an airplane in flight through continuous rough air. For the case of a load output having a normal distribution, which appears from experimental evidence to apply to homogeneous rough air, the standard deviation is shown to describe the probability distribution of loads or the proportion of total time that the load has given values. Thus, for airplane in flight through homogeneous rough air, the probability distribution of loads may be determined from a power-spectral analysis. In order to illustrate the application of power-spectral analysis to gust-load analysis and to obtain an insight into the relations between loads and airplane gust-response characteristics, two selected series of calculations are presented. The results indicate that both methods of analysis yield results that are consistent to a first approximation.

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