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by J. Russell

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Length: 294 pages4 hours

The performance, stability, control and response of aircraft are key areas of aeronautical engineering. This book provides a comprehensive overview to the underlying theory and application of what are often perceived to be difficult topics.

Initially it introduces the reader to the fundamental concepts underlying performance and stability, including lift characteristics and estimation of drag, before moving on to a more detailed analysis of performance in both level and climbing flight. Pitching motion is then described followed by a detailed discussion of all aspects of both lateral and longitudinal stability and response. It finishes with an examination of inertial cross-coupling and automatic control and stabilization. The student is helped to think in three dimensions throughout the book by the use of illustrative examples. The progression from one degree of freedom to six degrees of freedom is gradually introduced. The result is an approach dealing specifically with all aspects of performance, stability and control that fills a gap in the current literature. It will be essential reading for all those embarking on degree level courses in aeronautical engineering and will be of interest to all with an interest in stability and dynamics, including those in commercial flying schools who require an insight into the performance of their aircraft.

Ideal for undergraduate aeronautical engineers Three-dimensional thinking introduced through worked examples and simple situationsPublisher: Elsevier ScienceReleased: Aug 2, 1996ISBN: 9780080538648Format: book

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chapter.

**1 **

**Introduction **

From the time of our emergence as a separate species *Homo sapiens *has been a traveller, firstly on foot, then using animals and finally developing vehicles. Originally the journey was a daily search simply for food; later it was for new pastures for his animals or better land to grow crops on. This has led to the spread of the species to almost every part of the globe and to the present situation where journeys are made for every imaginable purpose. In spite of the development of telecommunications it appears that every year more people travel greater and greater distances, mostly by air. The vehicles have developed from sledges and carts to aircraft and spacecraft. Two broad characteristics of the vehicles have concerned us from the beginning: how far and how fast they can go and their control and stability. The load a horse can be expected to pull in a cart and how far in a day was of interest; there must be a means to stop, start and steer, and even a cart can overturn if overloaded and a corner is taken too fast.

This book then is concerned with one of mankind’s most productive forms of transport and its performance, stability and control characteristics. The later sections of this chapter are intended to be an introduction to the characteristics of aircraft that determine the performance, to engine performance and to the relevant properties of the atmosphere. **Chapters 2 and 3 deal with aircraft performance, defined not only as how far and how fast it can fly, but also such things as the ability to climb, turn, take off and land. The performance of the aircraft is, of course, the reason for its existence and the most important starting point for design. The rest of the book is concerned with the stability and control of aircraft to which Chapter 4 forms an introduction. **

The safety of the occupants and of the aircraft is one basic driving force in what we choose to study. The design and operation of aircraft is highly circumscribed by government safety regulations and we shall make occasional references to various airworthiness requirements but in no way will they be covered in detail.

The feature which characterizes all the topics dealt with in this book is that we are dealing with the interaction between the dynamics of the aircraft and the aerodynamic forces and moments generated on its surfaces by the motion. Other factors such as gravity have also to be included. However, the real situation is far more complex than we can reasonably hope to analyze completely. The atmosphere is a variable mixture of gases and vapours; it is never completely at rest and its properties such as density, pressure and temperature vary with position and time. The acceleration due to gravity varies slightly with latitude and height. The aircraft is an elastic body, distorting with every load on it, and losing mass as it burns fuel and uses other consumables. We therefore have to make a number of general assumptions.

• The aircraft is flying in a stationary atmosphere having constant properties.

• The aircraft does not deflect due to the loads placed on it.

• The aircraft is of constant mass.

• The acceleration due to gravity is constant.

• Accelerations of the aircraft due to motion about a curved rotating Earth are negligible.

These assumptions will apply throughout unless it is specifically stated otherwise. Probably the least justifiable assumption is the second which can have serious consequences if its effects are totally ignored.

For the purposes of determining aerodynamic forces and moments it does not matter if we consider the aircraft or some component of it to be flying at velocity **V **(a vector) through stationary air, or the aircraft or component to be stationary in a uniform, unbounded airstream of steady velocity -**V **at a large distance ahead. We shall use whichever point of view is the more convenient at the time.

Throughout this book we will keep strictly to the use of consistent units (e.g. SI) for simplicity. The practising aeronautical engineer, however, uses the most convenient units (such as dN, hours and knots) correcting the equations with suitable numerical constants.

Before we begin to discuss the performance, stability and control of aircraft we need to have some general information on the components of the aircraft, a basic idea of their function and how their characteristics depend on such parameters as Mach number and geometry.

We must first be clear on the main functions of each component of the aircraft. These are summarized in **figure 1.1 which shows an aircraft in level flight. **

**Fig. 1.1 **Main components of an aircraft and primary forces

The primary function of the wings is to provide lift, which is defined as the aerodynamic force at right angles to both the direction of motion and the wing surface and therefore in this case vertically upwards. The lift at a constant speed and height can be varied in at least two ways. The usual method is to vary the attitude of the aircraft and therefore that of the wings to the direction of motion. A common secondary method, normally used only at low speeds, is to deploy what are known as high lift devices. The wings also carry the ailerons which can provide a moment about the direction of flight to provide control in roll. The function of the fuselage is to carry and protect the crew, much of the equipment and the payload; in the case of an airliner the latter are the passengers and freight. It also transmits loads from the tailplane and fin at its rear. The fin provides directional stability by generating sideways lift if it becomes inclined to the local airstream. The rudder is used to provide a moment about a vertical axis through the cg for control purposes; it is considered to be part of the fin. Similarly the tailplane provides stability about a spanwise axis and carries the elevator which provides control about that axis. The engine or engines, if present, are to provide a forward force to overcome the drag of the remainder of the aircraft and to enable the aircraft to climb and accelerate.

Collectively the wing, tailplane and fin are the ‘lifting surfaces’ of the aircraft and to discuss their characteristics we must first set out some definitions. A typical wing section is shown in **figure 1.2. **

**Fig. 1.2 **Definition of terms used in describing a wing section

The chord line is a straight line drawn through the centres of curvature of the leading and trailing edges, and the chord, c, is the length of the chord line between the leading and trailing edges. For the present we will define the wing section incidence angle, α,**¹ as the angle between the chord line and the direction of the oncoming airstream. Two ratios are frequently used to characterize the section. These are the ‘thickness chord ratio’ defined as τ = t/c and the ‘camber ratio’ defined as γ= h/c, where t and h are indicated in figure 1.2. **

We turn now to definitions relating to wing planforms; these are often trapezoidal or nearly so, as shown in **figure 1.3. **

**Fig. 1.3 **Definition of terms used in describing a wing planform

It is usual to define the planform by continuing the leading and trailing edges through the fuselage to the centreline. The ‘gross wing area’, *S*, is then the plan area of the wing including the part within the fuselage, which for a trapezoidal wing is

where *b *is the span. The gross wing area is used chiefly to define coefficients for the whole aircraft. The aspect ratio, *A*, is defined as (span)/(mean chord) and can be variously expressed as

The wing taper is described by the taper ratio λ, defined as λ = *c*1/*c*0, where *c*0 and *c*1 are the centreline and tip chords respectively. Sweepback is measured by the angle Λ between a line at a constant fraction, *k*, of the chord and a line perpendicular to the centreline in plan view as shown in **figure 1.3. The fraction of the chord used is indicated by using k as a subscript, thus the sweepback angle of the quarter chord line is written Λ1/4. These definitions can be applied equally to tailplanes and to fins but in the latter case the chord at the base of the fin is usually taken as c0. **

In this section we will describe the lifting characteristics of wings. Although modern computer based methods can calculate the complete flow around a wing directly and hence find all the forces on it, the simplest way to approach the lift characteristics of a wing is to first consider those of the wing section. The characteristics of a wing section are those found, for instance, using an accurate theory applied to a wing of infinite span having the same section. Alternatively the characteristics are those found in an experiment in which the wing spans the width of the windtunnel and accurate corrections have been made for the presence of the tunnel walls and their boundary layers. A real wing may have a spanwise variation in its section or be twisted; we can, however, ignore these complications for the present. The lift of a wing is best expressed in terms of the lift coefficient *C*L, defined as

**(1.3) **

where *L *is the lift and ρ the air density. A typical curve showing the dependence of the lift of a symmetrical section with incidence is shown in **figure 1.4(a). **

**Fig. 1.4 **Variation of *C*L with incidence: (a) symmetrical section, (b) cambered section

It can be seen that the variation is a linear one for moderate angles of incidence, but when the incidence is about 15° the flow separates from the upper surface and the magnitude of the lift decreases again. This flow separation is referred to as ‘stalling’. A symmetrical section is satisfactory for tailplanes or fins which are required to produce lift in both directions. Wings, however, are mostly required to produce positive lift and so we camber the section which has the effect of raising the curve as shown in **figure 1.4(b). This also raises the positive stalling value of the lift coefficient, C**

The lift curve slope depends on the thickness chord ratio, the Reynolds and Mach numbers and the angle between the upper and lower surfaces at the trailing edge. At low Mach numbers (**M **< 0.4) and typical Reynolds numbers for an aircraft, the lift curve slope is given approximately by the semi-empirical expression

**(1.4) **

is approximately 6.3. The effect of Mach number is to produce a distinct peak in the lift curve slope near to a Mach number of one as shown in **figure 1.5. **

**Fig. 1.5 **Variation of lift curve slope for a wing section with Mach number

The effects of Reynolds number and trailing edge angle are much smaller; the lift curve slope increasing with increase of both factors.

More accurate data can, of course, be obtained from careful experiment or from computational fluid-dynamics. When these are not available the ‘Data Items’ of the Engineering Sciences Data Unit (ESDU) will often provide the information. These are based on theory, where applicable, correlated with experimental data. In the rest of this book these will be referenced by quoting the number of the relevant Data Item in brackets without further explanation.**² Another similar source of information is reference (1.1). In the case of sectional lift curve slope much better data than (1.4) is available (Aero W.01.01.05). **

Turning to the lift curve slope of a finite wing, *a*, this depends on the aspect ratio, sweepback angle, taper ratio, Reynolds and Mach numbers and for subsonic wings the sectional lift curve slope. For unswept wings at low Mach numbers we can use the approximate relation

**(1.5) **

which is shown plotted in **figure 1.6. **

**Fig. 1.6 **Variation of lift curve slope for a wing section with aspect ratio

. The effect of Mach number is to produce a variation similar to **figure 1.5 but with lower values. Sweepback reduces the lift curve slope at all Mach numbers; a crude theory suggests that it is proportional to the cosine of the sweep angle. The effect of taper ratio is slight. Better values are available for subsonic speeds (70011) and for supersonic speeds (70012). **

The no lift angle of wing sections at subsonic speeds is given roughly by

**(1.6) **

where α0 is measured in radians and is the same for plane wings. For more accurate results the shape of the whole camber line must also be taken into account (72024); twisting a wing also changes the no lift angle (87031). At supersonic speeds the no lift angle is close to zero.

The maximum lift coefficient in two-dimensional flow depends on the aerofoil section geometry, the surface condition (rough or smooth) and the Reynolds and Mach numbers. There are basically two types of stall, those in which the separation starts predominantly from just behind the leading edge and those which start from the trailing edge. The boundary between the two depends on the leading edge radius, and the maximum lift for the first type varies with the same parameter. This parameter is often not easily available and it is usually substituted for by a parameter such as the section thickness or upper surface ordinate just behind the leading edge. The maximum lift of aerofoils which have rear separation depends on the geometry of the rear part of the section; the camber is also a significant parameter for both types as we saw in the previous section. Thin (τ < 0.08), smooth, symmetrical aerofoils, which inevitably have small leading edge radii, have *C*Lmax values of 0.9 or less. The highest values are achieved by aerofoils with fairly large thicknesses and leading edge radii and so have rear separations. Values of the order of 1.6 for conventional sections and up to about 2.0 for modern aerofoils which have been specifically designed for high lift can be achieved. Roughness of the surface causes a considerable reduction in these values. Increase of Reynolds number increases maximum lift rapidly up to Reynolds numbers of the order of 10⁷ for smooth aerofoils (84026). Compressibility effects reduce the maximum lift, starting in some cases at Mach numbers as low as 0.2; however, maximum lift recovers to some extent at around **M **= 1.

Finite wings generally have rather lower values of maximum lift as once the wing has stalled at one spanwise station the separated flow region spreads rapidly. Sweepback causes wings to stall earlier due to unfavourable effects on the boundary layer. Low aspect ratio delta wings and wings of similar planforms with thin sections are a special case and have higher than expected values of *C*Lmax due to the appearance of leading edge vortices. Stalling angles are also much increased, values of 30–35° being normal.

Buffeting is defined as the more or less regular oscillation of a part of an aircraft caused by the wake from some other part; often it is oscillation of the tailplane due to flow separation from the wing, aggravated by compressibility effects. A common cause is separation of flow in the wing–body junction. The effect of buffeting is to limit the usable *C*L to rather less than the true *C*Lmax and a ‘buffet boundary’ appears on a plot of *C*L against **M**. A typical buffet boundary is shown in **figure 1.7. **

**Fig. 1.7 **Typical buffet boundary

Flaps were originally front or rear parts of wing sections which were hinged and could move up or down; in doing so the effective camber of the section was changed, thus changing the lift. Leading edge flaps and control flaps such as the aileron, elevator and rudder are still basically of this form: see **figure **

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