Operational usage and flight loads analysis of three king air models used as lead planes
Flight data from three models of the Beechcraft King Air aircraft has been used to perform operational usage and flight loads analysis. These aircraft have been own mostly as lead planes during the 2009 through 2013 fire seasons accumulating 3094 useful flights from 4074 flight files. These flights account for nearly 5772 hours in flight time. The results have been presented in two forms; 1) for overall flights and 2) for six specific flight phases. The information in the overall section have been further split into Firefighting/Ferry and Extreme Attitude flights. The usage results presented include information about the maximum MSL altitudes, maximum indicated airspeeds, pitch and roll angles, and load factors presented in the form of V-n diagrams. In some cases, the maximum indicated airspeed is shown to be in excess of the published limits, but within 10% of the limit. In the case of one model, the vertical load factors have been shown to be larger than the operational limits. The flight loads, due to gust and maneuver, and discrete gust velocities, have been presented in the form of exceedance charts, normalized in per 1000 hours and per nautical mile. The flight loads and discrete gust velocities have been shown to correlate better with AGL than MSL altitudes. The loads and the discrete gust velocities from Firefighting and Extreme Attitude flights have been demonstrated to have higher frequencies of occurrence compared to Ferry flights. The highest frequencies of occurrences of gust and maneuver loads and discrete gust velocities have been shown to be associated with the Lead phase, and the lowest with the Entry phase. These aircraft were not designed for firefighting missions but now fly in a unique operating environment. Because of the mission-specific performance demands, the operators, manufacturers, and the regulators could use the statistical data from this investigation to understand their impact on the fatigue life of the aircraft.
Thesis (M.S.)--Wichita State University, College of Engineering, Dept. of Aerospace Engineering