Flight mechanics is the science of predicting and controlling aircraft motion. From Newton\u2019s second law we know that the motion of any body depends on the forces and moments acting on the body. The forces and moments exerted on an aircraft in flight are the aerodynamic forces and moments acting on the aircraft\u2019s skin, the propulsive forces and moments created by the aircraft\u2019s engine or engines, and the gravitational force between the aircraft and the Earth. Because aerodynamic forces and moments are central to the study of aircraft motion, an understanding of the fundamentals of aerodynamics is a prerequisite to the study of flight mechanics. In this text it will be assumed that the reader has gained this prerequisite knowledge, either through the completion of at least one engineering course on aerodynamics or through independent study. In this chapter we review briefly some of the more important concepts that the reader should understand before proceeding with the material in the remainder of the book.
are the net effects of the pressure and shear stress distributions integrated over the entire surface of the body. To express these two vectors in terms of components, we must define a coordinate system. While several different coordinate systems will be used in our study of flight mechanics, the coordinate system commonly used in the study of aerodynamics is referred to here as Cartesian aerodynamic coordinates. When considering flow over a body such as an airfoil, wing, or airplane, thex-axis of this particular coordinate system is aligned with the body axis or chord line, pointing in the general direction of relative air- flow. The origin is typically located at the front of the body or leading edge. They-axis is chosen normal to thex-axis in an upward direction. Choosing a conventional right- handed coordinate system requires thez-axis to be pointing in the spanwise direction from right to left, as shown in Fig. 1.1.1. Here, the components of the resultant aerodynamic force and moment, described in this particular coordinate system, are denoted as
The traditional definitions for the moments in roll, pitch, and yaw do not follow the right- hand rule in this coordinate system. It is often convenient to split the resultant aero- dynamic force into only two components,
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