Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Aviation Systems

Major Professor

Fred Stellar

Committee Members

Ralph Kimberlin


The preliminary design of a flow diverter and flow visualization system was accomplished based on earlier water tunnel testing concluded in December 1997 at the University of Tennessee Space Institute. The purpose of this thesis was to demonstrate rapid prototyping of model test results The rapid prototyping included design, fabrication, and installation of an airworthy air flow diverting device for full scale helicopter flight evaluations The preliminary design was completed in effort to provide the US Army and civilian operators a low cost, effective production flow diverter for flights with the doors removed This device was tested on an OH-58A helicopter for handling qualities, level flight performance, fuselage airflow changes, and operational utility.

Utilizing the systems engineering process to segment a large project into small, workable pieces, the design and fabrication of the flow diverter and flow visualization tools were completed in August 2000. The six and eight inch flow diverter of the sawtooth design and flat plate design with vortex generator tab patterns were successfully integrated and flight tested the same month of fabrication completion. The flow visualization system, consisting of a tuft screen, tuft measuring probe, and Smoke Generation System were used during flight operations to visualize the flow m and around the fuselage. Handheld video and still cameras were used to record flow data for aiding analysis.

The integration and flight testing of the flow diverter and flow visualization system were successful spanning twelve days of flight testing, totaling 11 hours. None of the installed equipment failed during the flight test program. The Smoke Generation System did not produce sufficient smoke volume to provide useful visual flow data for aiding flow analysis.

Files over 3MB may be slow to open. For best results, right-click and select "save as..."