Aerodynamics / CFD
Xavier Pol, Flight Control Actuation Group Engineer at Airbus, is bringing his expertise in flight control systems to the design of the new ORACLE TEAM USA vessel. “There are a lot of similarities between this boat and an aircraft. The foil on this boat is exactly like the wing of an aircraft. It allows the boat to go above the water exactly like a wing allows us to fly, says Pol. He adds that since accurate control systems are vital for a stable flight, similar controls are also required to sail the boat.
As ORACLE TEAM USA works to improve its yacht aerodynamics, Airbus has contributed significant expertise in Computational Fluid Dynamics. On aircraft, reducing drag leads to lower fuel burn and increased range, as well as improved overall performance. A sailing simulator, similar to a flight simulator, is used to test out the various options at the design stage. This means each element, from hulls and beams to the physical positioning of the crew, can be tested for optimal aerodynamics. Pressure Sensors (aka Micro Electronics Measurement Sensors) have also been used to provide information about airflow across the wing, vital data that can be used to optimize performance for a range of sailing conditions. Airbus 3D hi-tech printing support is also used, ensuring different key elements aremade accurately and quickly at much lighter weight.