Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Department of Aeronautics and Astronautics

First Advisor

Mark F. Reeder, PhD.


Characterizing mission store trajectories as they separate from a weapons bay cavity is highly relevant to the Air Force mission. The flow around a weapons bay is unsteady. The unsteady flow can cause a mission store separation trajectory to be unpredictable, and such is the case for what some have termed a pitch bifurcation. Traditional wind tunnel testing is incapable of detecting a bifurcation because traditional wind tunnel testing records time-averaged data. In this study, an experimental testing system was developed and refined in order to support the time-accurate characterization of dynamic mission store separation events. A Motion Test Apparatus integrated with a low-speed wind tunnel maneuvers a model within the wind tunnel test section along a prescribed trajectory. A dedicated data acquisition system, along with sensors, record time-accurate force-and-moment measurements as well as model attitude. Two mission store geometries fabricated of two different materials were studied as they performed a one-off store separation trajectory from a weapons bay cavity. The mission store models separated, alternatively, from forward and aft positions from the weapons bay. Data confirmed that variability in pitch moment experienced by the models was higher for store separation from the aft position. Force-and-moment data also suggests a bifurcation was present for certain test cases.

AFIT Designator


DTIC Accession Number