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King Air airplane in background with King Air Research Aircraft: Atmospheric Science

Next Gen King Air Updates

NEXT GEN KING AIR UPDATES

Link to the Next Generation King Air page


January / February 2022 update

Installation of Nose Boom and Extended Nose Begins

Installation of the Nose Boom and Extended Nose Assembly began in January and continued into February, following completion of developing the tooling necessary for the build. The Nose Boom will be used to mount a Rosemount 858 Air Data Probe (for winds and turbulence measurements). The extended nose will provide several locations for mounting instruments. There will be a total of 5 instrument pads that are fully configurable with sufficient space inside the nose to mount additional instrument electronics.

Designs Finalized for Static Pressure Ports and Drop Sonde

With most of the big modification designs completed or near completion, attention is turning towards some of the smaller design projects. In November Avcon presented their conceptual design for the AVAPS dropsonde port (see images below) which will be located near the rear of the fuselage. The design is expected to be finalized in late December or January.

Work Continues on the Certification Plan

UW provided comments to Avcon regarding the selected ODA (Organization Delegation Authorization) who will be completing the certification for the research configuration. A kickoff meeting between all 3 groups was held in November, since then work has focused on the development of the Project-Specific Certification Plan (PSCP). We are targeting submission of the PSCP by the end of March.

 

View of extended nose assembly
View of extended nose assembly
View of extended nose assembly

 


November 2021 update

Fabrication of Extended Nose and Construction of Tooling

Avcon Industries has completed the tooling necessary to fabricate the extended nose for the new aircraft. The tooling is necessary to ensure the complex angles designed for the nose are repeatable. The tooling is based around a salvaged nose from a B300 aircraft (see pictures above). Nose fabrication is scheduled to be complete in late December with installation beginning in January.

Work Progresses on the Design of the Dropsonde Assembly

With most of the big modification designs completed or near completion, attention is turning towards some of the smaller design projects. In November Avcon presented their conceptual design for the AVAPS dropsonde port (see images above) which will be located near the rear of the fuselage. The design is expected to be finalized in late December or January.

Final Flight Testing for Wing Pylons & Baseline Testing for Extended Nose

Several flight tests were completed in November for the wing pylons to show compliance with noise requirements and any impact on different modes of flight. The flight test results are expected to be complete in December and will be used for baseline flight characteristics that are needed prior to the installation of the extended nose, to begin in January.

Tooling design for the UWKA-2's extended nose
Tooling build for the UWKA-2's extended nose
Concept drawing of the UWKA-2's dropsonde port
Concept drawing of the UWKA-2's dropsonde port


October 2021 update

Work Begins on Fabrication of Extended Nose and Nose Boom

Avcon Industries began work on fabrication of the extended nose and nose boom. Avcon acquired a nose section from another B300 and is using that nose section to develop tooling for the extended nose fabrication. Installation is expected to begin in early December, following the completion of baseline flight tests currently scheduled for mid-November

Project Familiarization Meeting Held for Research STC Project

A familiarization meeting was held at the UWYO flight facility in early October. In attendance were the Avcon engineering and management teams and administrators from AERO DC, the ODA that is under contract to Avcon to develop and certify the research STC. The research certification project officially began with the familiarization meeting, laying out the certification path and the initial development of the PSCP (Project Specific Certification Plan) that is targeted for FAA submission by the end of this year.

UWKA-2 Timeline Updated

Following the release of a new baseline schedule from Avcon that i


September 2021 update

Completion of Year 2 of Next-Gen UWKA

September 30 marked the completion of the second year of the NSF-funded MSRI project for the development of the Next Generation UWKA. Major accomplishments during the first two years include: acquisition of the low-hour 2013 King Air 350i that serves as the baseline aircraft; upgrade to larger PT-67A engines, upgrades to Garmin G1000 Avionics, upgrades to allow for larger takeoff weight, completion of major design work for extended nose with nose-boom and underwing pylons; installation of underwing pylons and two large nadir ports for radar and lidar, and completion of conceptual design for all other major fuselage modifications.

Site Visit to Avcon Industries

In early September, the UWYO team conducted a site visit to Avcon, the primary contractor for aircraft modifications and certification. The site visit included discussion on remaining major design work to be completed, acceptance of completed installations, and pathway towards full research certification.

Site visit to Avcon Industries
Site visit to Avcon Industries
Layout of all major modifications to the outside of the aircraft

 


July 2021 update

Under-wing Pylons Flight Testing

Flight testing was completed on the under-wing pylons in July. Pylons on each wing were loaded with weighted ‘PMS-style’ instrument canisters and flight tested for performance and flutter. These are expected the be the last tests needed for completion of the certification of the pylons.

Mission Electrical System Design

Initial design work on the mission electrical system is nearing completion. During this ‘conceptual design phase’, UW and Avcon engineers have been working towards a mission electrical system capable of delivering 400 Amps of 28 Volt DC power for the research electrical system on the new King Air. The Preliminary Design Review for this system is scheduled for early August.

Major and Minor Zenith Ports Design

Preliminary design work is nearing completion on the zenith ports for the new King Air. The ports consist of 5 small (3”X5”) ‘multi-use’ ports for various instrumentation and 2 large (14” diameter) ports for use with the Wyoming Cloud Radar. Preliminary Design Reviews for the zenith ports is expected in August.

PMS-style canisters mounted on wing pylons
PMS-style canisters mounted on wing pylons


June 2021 Update

Installation of nadir ports complete

The first major research modification was completed this month. The installation of the two major nadir ports were completed in June. These ports will be primarily used for the Wyoming Cloud Radar and the Raman and Doppler Lidars.

Manufacture and testing of under wing pylons

The under-wing pylons and wing wiring channels were completed and installed on the aircraft. In late June, ground vibration testing (GVT) was completed—the first step for the certification testing—with PMS-style canisters mounted on the pylons. Flight testing is scheduled for July.

Conceptual design of ‘upper crown’ layout continues

Work continues towards finalizing the upper crown layout, which includes the location of all ports and hardpoints on the top of the fuselage and the locations of antennas (with ‘keep out’ areas).

Plan view of Next Generation King Air model
Wing pylons and canisters
Interior view of nadir ports


May 2021 Update

Installation of nadir ports

Work continues on the installation of nadir ports.

Design of wing pylons finalized, manufacture of pylons begins

The design of the wing pylons has been finalized and approved by the UW. Each pylon will be capable of carrying 3 PMS-style canisters, increasing by 50% the capability compared to the current UWKA.

Wing hardpoints STC issued

The STC for underwing hardpoints, to which will be attached the instrument pylons, has been approved by the FAA. These hardpoints are located near the wingtip, which is a significant improvement over other STCs for wing hardpoints owned by other companies located more inboard, nearer the engines, on other King Air 350 aircraft.

Exterior view of nadir port opening
View of under-wing hardpoints
Model view of wing pylons

 


April 2021 Update

Design of nose extension/nose boom finalized

The design of the nose extension and nose boom has been finalized and approved by UW. The nose extension is significantly more capable (in terms of weight/volume) than the existing nose extension on the current UWKA. Manufacture of the nose extension will begin in June, with installation scheduled to begin in mid- to late-summer.

Conceptual design of ‘large’ zenith ports completed

The conceptual design for two large zenith ports that will be used by the Wyoming Cloud Radar is complete. Completion of the conceptual design is a critical milestone so that work may begin on the development of the WCR upgrade.

Installation of nadir ports begins

The first major research modification has begun with two large holes (~20”) cut in the bottom of the fuselage. The nadir ports are existing STCs (already certified); the ports will be used for the Wyoming Cloud Radar and the Raman and Doppler Lidars, and will also be available for other downward looking remote sensors.

Modification work in progress
Model view of nose boom extension
Model view of nadir ports

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