P. 1
Aircraft Design

Aircraft Design

|Views: 3,575|Likes:
Published by subbuss

More info:

Published by: subbuss on Apr 30, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


Read on Scribd mobile: iPhone, iPad and Android.
download as PDF, TXT or read online from Scribd
See more
See less






Maneuver Diagram

This diagram illustrates the variation in load factor with airspeed for maneuvers. At low speeds the
maximum load factor is constrained by aircraft maximum CL. At higher speeds the maneuver load factor
may be restricted as specified by FAR Part 25.

The maximum maneuver load factor is usually +2.5 . If the airplane weighs less than 50,000 lbs.,
however, the load factor must be given by: n= 2.1 + 24,000 / (W+10,000)
n need not be greater than 3.8. This is the required maneuver load factor at all speeds up to Vc, unless the
maximum achievable load factor is limited by stall.

The negative value of n is -1.0 at speeds up to Vc decreasing linearly to 0 at VD .
Maximum elevator deflection at VA and pitch rates from VA to VD must also be considered.

Gust Diagram

Loads associated with vertical gusts must also be evaluated over the range of speeds.
The FAR's describe the calculation of these loads in some detail. Here is a summary of the method for
constructing the V-n diagram. Because some of the speeds (e.g. VB) are determined by the gust loads, the
process may be iterative. Be careful to consider the alternative specifications for speeds such as VB.

The gust load may be computed from the expression given in FAR Part 25. This formula is the result of

considering a vertical gust of specified speed and computing the resulting change in lift. The associated
incremental load factor is then multiplied by a load alleviation factor that accounts primarily for the
aircraft dynamics in a gust.

with: a = (dCL/dα)
Ue = equivalent gust velocity (in ft/sec)
Ve = equivalent airspeed (in knots)
Kg = gust alleviation factor

Note that c is the mean geometric chord here.

The FAA specifies the magnitude of the gusts to be used as a function of altitude and speed:
Gust velocities at 20,000 ft and below:
66 ft/sec at VB
50 ft/sec at VC
25 ft/sec at VD.

Gust velocities at 50,000 ft and above:
38 ft/sec at VB
25 ft/sec at VC
12.5 ft/sec at VD.

These velocities are specified as equivalent airspeeds and are linearly interpolated between 20000 and
50000 ft.

So, to construct the V-n diagram at a particular aircraft weight and altitude, we start with the maximum
achievable load factor curve from the maneuver diagram. We then vary the airspeed and compute the
gust load factor associated with the VB gust intensity. The intersection of these two lines defines the
velocity VB. Well, almost. As noted in the section on design airspeeds, if the product of the 1-g stall
speed, Vs1 and the square root of the gust load factor at VC (ng) is less than VB as computed above, we
can set VB = Vs1 sqrt(ng) and use the maximum achievable load at this lower airspeed.

Next we compute the gust load factor at VC and VD from the FAA formula, using the appropriate gust
velocities. A straight line is then drawn from the VB point to the points at VC and VD.

Additional Notes on Computations

1) The lift curve slope may be computed from the DATCOM expression:

where β is the Prandtl-Glauert factor: β = sqrt(1-M2


and κ is an empirical correction factor that accounts for section lift curve slopes different from 2π. In
practice κ is approximately 0.97. This expression provides a reasonably good low-speed lift curve slope
even for low aspect ratio wings. The effect is an important one as can be seen from the data for a DC-9
shown below. The maximum lift curve slope is about 50% greater than its value at low Mach numbers.

2) Recall CLmax may vary with Mach number as discussed in the high-lift section.

Details in FAR 25, not included here:

Check at all altitudes, weights, loading distributions.
Include pitching rates and pitch accelerations (dq/dt):
maximum elevator deflection at VA

Checked maneuver with dq/dt = 39 n (n-1.5) / V rad/sec2

or lower if not possible

For loads use this dq/dt at speeds from VA to VD combined with 1-g loads
also check: dq/dt = -29 n (n-1.5) / V combined with the positive maneuver load from VA - VD
Tail load due to gust can include full downwash and Kg-factor.

Continuous Gust Design Criteria

Appendix G to Part 25--Continuous Gust Design Criteria

The continuous gust design criteria in this appendix must be used in
establishing the dynamic response of the airplane to vertical and lateral
continuous turbulence unless a more rational criteria is used. The following
gust load requirements apply to mission analysis and design envelope

(a) The limit gust loads utilizing the continuous turbulence concept must
be determined in accordance with the provisions of either paragraph (b) or
paragraphs (c) and (d) of this appendix.
(b) Design envelope analysis. The limit loads must be determined in
accordance with the following:
(1) All critical altitudes, weights, and weight distributions, as specified
in Sec. 25.321(b), and all critical speeds within the ranges indicated in
paragraph (b)(3) of this appendix must be considered.
(2) Values of A (ratio of root-mean-square incremental load root-mean-
square gust velocity) must be determined by dynamic analysis. The power
spectral density of the atmospheric turbulence must be as given by the

1+8/3 (1.339 LV)2
f(V) = s2L/(Pi) --------------------
[1+(1.339 LV)2]11/6

f=power-spectral density (ft./sec.) 2/rad./ft.
s=root-mean-square gust velocity, ft./sec.
V=reduced frequency, radians per foot.
L=2,500 ft.

(3) The limit loads must be obtained by multiplying the A values determined
by the dynamic analysis by the following values of the gust velocity

(i) At speed Vc: U=85 fps true gust velocity in the interval 0 to
30,000 ft. altitude and is linearly decreased to 30 fps true gust velocity at
80,000 ft. altitude. Where the Administrator finds that a design is
comparable to a similar design with extensive satisfactory service
experience, it will be acceptable to select U at Vc less than 85 fps,
but not less than 75 fps, with linear decrease from that value at 20,000 feet
to 30 fps at 80,000 feet. The following factors will be taken into account
when assessing comparability to a similar design:
(1) The transfer function of the new design should exhibit no unusual
characteristics as compared to the similar design which will significantly
affect response to turbulence; e.g., coalescence of modal response in the
frequency regime which can result in a significant increase of loads.
(2) The typical mission of the new airplane is substantially equivalent to

that of the similar design.
(3) The similar design should demonstrate the adequacy of the U


(ii) At speed VB: U is equal to 1.32 times the values obtained under
paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this appendix.
(iii) At speed VD: U is equal to 1/2 the values obtained under
paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this appendix.
(iv) At speeds between VB and Vc and between Vc and VD: U is equal
to a value obtained by linear interpolation.
(4) When a stability augmentation system is included in the analysis, the
effect of system nonlinearities on loads at the limit load level must be
realistically or conservatively accounted for.
(c) Mission analysis. Limit loads must be determined in accordance with the


(1) The expected utilization of the airplane must be represented by one or
more flight profiles in which the load distribution and the variation with
time of speed, altitude, gross weight, and center of gravity position are
defined. These profiles must be divided into mission segments or blocks, for
analysis, and average or effective values of the pertinent parameters defined
for each segment.

(2) For each of the mission segments defined under paragraph (c)(1) of this
appendix, values of A and No must be determined by analysis. A is defined as
the ratio of root-mean-square incremental load to root-mean-square gust
velocity and No is the radius of gyration of the load power spectral density
function about zero frequency. The power spectral density of the atmospheric
turbulence must be given by the equation set forth in paragraph (b)(2) of
this appendix.

(3) For each of the load and stress quantities selected, the frequency of
exceedance must be determined as a function of load level by means of the

N(y) = SUM tNo [ P1 exp ( - ---------------------)


+ P2 exp (- ------------)]


t=selected time interval.
y=net value of the load or stress.
Yone=g=value of the load or stress in one-g level flight.
N(y)=average number of exceedances of the indicated value of the load or
stress in unit time.
SUM =symbol denoting summation over all mission segments.
No, A=parameters determined by dynamic analysis as defined in paragraph
(c)(2) of this appendix.

P1, P2, b1, b2=parameters defining the probability distributions of root-
mean-square gust velocity, to be read from Figures 1 and 2 of this

The limit gust loads must be read from the frequency of exceedance curves at
a frequency of exceedance of 2x10-5 exceedances per hour. Both positive and
negative load directions must be considered in determining the limit loads.
(4) If a stability augmentation system is utilized to reduce the gust
loads, consideration must be given to the fraction of flight time that the
system may be inoperative. The flight profiles of paragraph (c)(1) of this
appendix must include flight with the system inoperative for this fraction of
the flight time. When a stability augmentation system is included in the
analysis, the effect of system nonlinearities on loads at the limit load
level must be conservatively accounted for.
(d) Supplementary design envelope analysis. In addition to the limit loads
defined by paragraph (c) of this appendix, limit loads must also be
determined in accordance with paragraph (b) of this appendix, except that--
(1) In paragraph (b)(3)(i) of this appendix, the value of U=85 fps
true gust velocity is replaced by U=60 fps true gust velocity on the
interval 0 to 30,000 ft. altitude, and is linearly decreased to 25 fps true
gust velocity at 80,000 ft. altitude; and
(2) In paragraph (b) of this appendix, the reference to paragraphs
(b)(3)(i) through (b)(3)(iii) of this appendix is to be understood as
referring to the paragraph as modified by paragraph (d)(1).

[ ...Illustration appears here... ]

Figure 1 (graph)

[ ...Illustration appears here... ]

Figure 2 (graph)

FAR Structural Design Criteria

Subpart C--Structure


Sec. 25.301 Loads.

(a) Strength requirements are specified in terms of limit loads (the
maximum loads to be expected in service) and ultimate loads (limit loads
multiplied by prescribed factors of safety). Unless otherwise provided,
prescribed loads are limit loads.
(b) Unless otherwise provided, the specified air, ground, and water loads
must be placed in equilibrium with inertia forces, considering each item of
mass in the airplane. These loads must be distributed to conservatively
approximate or closely represent actual conditions. Methods used to determine
load intensities and distribution must be validated by flight load
measurement unless the methods used for determining those loading conditions
are shown to be reliable.
(c) If deflections under load would significantly change the distribution
of external or internal loads, this redistribution must be taken into

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970]

Sec. 25.303 Factor of safety.

Unless otherwise specified, a factor of safety of 1.5 must be applied to
the prescribed limit load which are considered external loads on the
structure. When a loading condition is prescribed in terms of ultimate loads,
a factor of safety need not be applied unless otherwise specified.

[Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR 5672, Apr. 8, 1970]

Sec. 25.305 Strength and deformation.

(a) The structure must be able to support limit loads without detrimental
permanent deformation. At any load up to limit loads, the deformation may not
interfere with safe operation.
(b) The structure must be able to support ultimate loads without failure
for at least 3 seconds. However, when proof of strength is shown by dynamic
tests simulating actual load conditions, the 3-second limit does not apply.
Static tests conducted to ultimate load must include the ultimate deflections
and ultimate deformation induced by the loading. When analytical methods are
used to show compliance with the ultimate load strength requirements, it must
be shown that--
(1) The effects of deformation are not significant;

(2) The deformations involved are fully accounted for in the analysis; or
(3) The methods and assumptions used are sufficient to cover the effects of

these deformations.
(c) Where structural flexibility is such that any rate of load application
likely to occur in the operating conditions might produce transient stresses
appreciably higher than those corresponding to static loads, the effects of
this rate of application must be considered.
(d) The dynamic response of the airplane to vertical and lateral continuous
turbulence must be taken into account. The continuous gust design criteria of
Appendix G of this part must be used to establish the dynamic response unless
more rational criteria are shown.
(e) The airplane must be designed to withstand any vibration and buffeting
that might occur in any likely operating condition up to VD/MD, including
stall and probable inadvertent excursions beyond the boundaries of the buffet
onset envelope. This must be shown by analysis, flight tests, or other tests
found necessary by the Administrator.
(f) Unless shown to be extremely improbable, the airplane must be designed
to withstand any forced structural vibration resulting from any failure,
malfunction or adverse condition in the flight control system. These must be
considered limit loads and must be investigated at airspeeds up to VC/MC.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970; Amdt. 25-54, 45 FR 60172, Sept. 11, 1980; Amdt. 25-77, 57
FR 28949, June 29, 1992]


57 FR 28946, No. 125, June 29, 1992

SUMMARY: This amendment revises the airworthiness standards of the Federal
Aviation Regulations (FAR) for type certification of transport category
airplanes concerning vibration, buffet, flutter and divergence. It clarifies
the requirement to consider flutter and divergence when treating certain
damage and failure conditions required by other sections of the FAR and
adjusts the safety margins related to aeroelastic stabiity to make them more
appropriate for the conditions to which they apply. These changes are made to
provide consistency with other sections of the FAR and to take into account
advances in technology and the evolution of the design of transport

EFFECTIVE DATE: July 29, 1992.


Sec. 25.307 Proof of structure.

(a) Compliance with the strength and deformation requirements of this
subpart must be shown for each critical loading condition. Structural
analysis may be used only if the structure conforms to that for which

experience has shown this method to be reliable. The Administrator may
require ultimate load tests in cases where limit load tests may be
(b) [Reserved]
(c) [Reserved]
(d) When static or dynamic tests are used to show compliance with the
requirements of Sec. 25.305(b) for flight structures, appropriate material
correction factors must be applied to the test results, unless the structure,
or part thereof, being tested has features such that a number of elements
contribute to the total strength of the structure and the failure of one
element results in the redistribution of the load through alternate load

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970; Amdt. 25-54, 45 FR 60172, Sept. 11, 1980; Amdt. 25-72, 55
FR 29775, July 20, 1990]

Flight Loads

Sec. 25.321 General.

(a) Flight load factors represent the ratio of the aerodynamic force
component (acting normal to the assumed longitudinal axis of the airplane) to
the weight of the airplane. A positive load factor is one in which the
aerodynamic force acts upward with respect to the airplane.
(b) Considering compressibility effects at each speed, compliance with the
flight load requirements of this subpart must be shown--
(1) At each critical altitude within the range of altitudes selected by the


(2) At each weight from the design minimum weight to the design maximum
weight appropriate to each particular flight load condition; and
(3) For each required altitude and weight, for any practicable distribution
of disposable load within the operating limitations recorded in the Airplane
Flight Manual.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970]

Flight Maneuver and Gust Conditions

Sec. 25.331 General.

(a) Procedure. The analysis of symmetrical flight must include at least the
conditions specified in paragraphs (b) through (d) of this section. The
following procedure must be used:
(1) Enough points on the maneuvering and gust envelopes must be
investigated to ensure that the maximum load for each part of the airplane

structure is obtained. A conservative combined envelope may be used.
(2) The significant forces acting on the airplane must be placed in
equilibrium in a rational or conservative manner. The linear inertia forces
must be considered in equilibrium with thrust and all aerodynamic loads,
while the angular (pitching) inertia forces must be considered in equilibrium
with thrust and all aerodynamic moments, including moments due to loads on
components such as tail surfaces and nacelles. Critical thrust values in the
range from zero to maximum continuous thrust must be considered.
(3) Where sudden displacement of a control is specified, the assumed rate
of control surface displacement may not be less than the rate that could be
applied by the pilot through the control system.
(4) In determining elevator angles and chordwise load distribution (in the
maneuvering conditions of paragraphs (b) and (c) of this section) in turns
and pull-ups, the effect of corresponding pitching velocities must be taken
into account. The in-trim and out-of-trim flight conditions specified in Sec.
25.255 must be considered.
(b) Maneuvering balanced conditions. Assuming the airplane to be in
equilibrium with zero pitching acceleration, the maneuvering conditions A
through I on the maneuvering envelope in Sec. 25.333(b) must be investigated.
(c) Maneuvering pitching conditions. The following conditions involving
pitching acceleration must be investigated:
(1) Maximum elevator displacement at VA. The airplane is assumed to be
flying in steady level flight (point A1, Sec. 25.333(b)) and, except as
limited by pilot effort in accordance with Sec. 25.397(b), the pitching
control is suddenly moved to obtain extreme positive pitching acceleration
(nose up). The dynamic response or, at the option of the applicant, the
transient rigid body response of the airplane, must be taken into account in
determining the tail load. Airplane loads which occur subsequent to the
normal acceleration at the center of gravity exceeding the maximum positive
limit maneuvering load factor, n, need not be considered.
(2) Specified control displacement. A checked maneuver, based on a rational
pitching control motion vs. time profile, must be established in which the
design limit load factor specified in Sec. 25.337 will not be exceeded.
Unless lesser values cannot be exceeded, the airplane response must result in
pitching accelerations not less than the following:
(i) A positive pitching acceleration (nose up) is assumed to be reached
concurrently with the airplane load factor of 1.0 (Points A1 to D1, Sec.
25.333(b)). The positive acceleration must be equal to at least


---- (n-1.5), (Radians/sec./2/ )



n is the positive load factor at the speed under consideration, and V is the
airplane equivalent speed in knots.

(ii) A negative pitching acceleration (nose down) is assumed to be reached
concurrently with the positive maneuvering load factor (Points A2 to D2,

Sec. 25.333(b)). This negative pitching acceleration must be equal to at

------ (n-1.5), (Radians/sec./2/ )


n is the positive load factor at the speed under consideration; and V is the
airplane equivalent speed in knots.

(d) Gust conditions. The gust conditions B' through J' Sec. 25.333(c), must
be investigated. The following provisions apply:
(1) The air load increment due to a specified gust must be added to the
initial balancing tail load corresponding to steady level flight.
(2) The alleviating effect of wing down-wash and of the airplane's motion
in response to the gust may be included in computing the tail gust load

(3) Instead of a rational investigation of the airplane response, the gust
alleviation factor Kg may be applied to the specified gust intensity for the
horizontal tail.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970; Amdt. 25-46, 43 FR 50594, Oct. 30, 1978; 43 FR 52495,
Nov. 13, 1978; 43 FR 54082, Nov. 20, 1978; Amdt. 25-72, 55 FR 29775, July 20,
1990; 55 FR 37607, Sept. 12, 1990]

Sec. 25.333 Flight envelope.

(a) General. The strength requirements must be met at each combination of
airspeed and load factor on and within the boundaries of the representative
maneuvering and gust envelopes (V-n diagrams) of paragraphs (b) and (c) of
this section. These envelopes must also be used in determining the airplane
structural operating limitations as specified in Sec. 25.1501.
(b) Maneuvering envelope.

[ ...Illustration appears here... ]

(c) Gust envelope.

[ ...Illustration appears here... ]

Sec. 25.335 Design airspeeds.

The selected design airspeeds are equivalent airspeeds (EAS). Estimated
values of VS0 and VS1 must be conservative.

(a) Design cruising speed, VC. For VC, the following apply:
(1) The minimum value of VC must be sufficiently greater than VB to provide
for inadvertent speed increases likely to occur as a result of severe
atmospheric turbulence.
(2) In the absence of a rational investigation substantiating the use of
other values, VC may not be less than VB+43 knots. However, it need not
exceed the maximum speed in level flight at maximum continuous power for the
corresponding altitude.
(3) At altitudes where VD is limited by Mach number, VC may be limited to a
selected Mach number.
(b) Design dive speed, VD. VD must be selected so that VC/MC is not greater
than 0.8 VD/MD, or so that the minimum speed margin between VC/MC and VD/MD
is the greater of the following values:
(1) From an initial condition of stabilized flight at VC/MC, the airplane
is upset, flown for 20 seconds along a flight path 7.5 deg. below the initial
path, and then pulled up at a load factor of 1.5 g (0.5 g acceleration
increment). The speed increase occurring in this maneuver may be calculated
if reliable or conservative aerodynamic data is used. Power as specified in
Sec. 25.175(b)(1)(iv) is assumed until the pull-up is initiated, at which time
power reduction and the use of pilot controlled drag devices may be assumed;
(2) The minimum speed margin must be enough to provide for atmospheric
variations (such as horizontal gusts, and penetration of jet streams and cold
fronts) and for instrument errors and airframe production variations. These
factors may be considered on a probability basis. However, the margin at
altitude where MC is limited by compressibility effects may not be less than
0.05 M.

(c) Design maneuvering speed VA. For VA, the following apply:
(1) VA may not be less than VS1 n where--
(i) n is the limit positive maneuvering load factor at VC; and
(ii) VS1 is the stalling speed with flaps retracted.
(2) VA and VS must be evaluated at the design weight and altitude under


(3) VA need not be more than VC or the speed at which the positive CN max
curve intersects the positive maneuver load factor line, whichever is less.
(d) Design speed for maximum gust intensity, VB. For VB, the following


(1) VB may not be less than the speed determined by the intersection of the
line representing the maximum position lift CN max and the line representing
the rough air gust velocity on the gust V-n diagram, or (ng) VS1,
whichever is less, where--
(i) ng is the positive airplane gust load factor due to gust, at speed VC
(in accordance with Sec. 25.341), and at the particular weight under
consideration; and

(ii) VS1 is the stalling speed with the flaps retracted at the particular
weight under consideration.
(2) VB need not be greater than VC.
(e) Design flap speeds, VF. For VF, the following apply:
(1) The design flap speed for each flap position (established in accordance
with Sec. 25.697(a)) must be sufficiently greater than the operating speed

recommended for the corresponding stage of flight (including balked landings)
to allow for probable variations in control of airspeed and for transition
from one flap position to another.
(2) If an automatic flap positioning or load limiting device is used, the
speeds and corresponding flap positions programmed or allowed by the device
may be used.
(3) VF may not be less than--
(i) 1.6 VS1 with the flaps in takeoff position at maximum takeoff weight;
(ii) 1.8 VS1 with the flaps in approach position at maximum landing weight,


(iii) 1.8 VS0 with the flaps in landing position at maximum landing weight.
(f) Design drag device speeds, VDD. The selected design speed for each drag
device must be sufficiently greater than the speed recommended for the
operation of the device to allow for probable variations in speed control.
For drag devices intended for use in high speed descents, VDD may not be less
than VD. When an automatic drag device positioning or load limiting means is
used, the speeds and corresponding drag device positions programmed or
allowed by the automatic means must be used for design.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970]

Sec. 25.337 Limit maneuvering load factors.

(a) Except where limited by maximum (static) lift coefficients, the
airplane is assumed to be subjected to symmetrical maneuvers resulting in the
limit maneuvering load factors prescribed in this section. Pitching
velocities appropriate to the corresponding pull-up and steady turn maneuvers
must be taken into account.
(b) The positive limit maneuvering load factor "n" for any speed up to Vn
may not be less than 2.1+24,000/ (W +10,000) except that "n" may not be less
than 2.5 and need not be greater than 3.8--where "W" is the design maximum
takeoff weight.
(c) The negative limit maneuvering load factor--
(1) May not be less than -1.0 at speeds up to VC; and
(2) Must vary linearly with speed from the value at VC to zero at VD.
(d) Maneuvering load factors lower than those specified in this section may
be used if the airplane has design features that make it impossible to exceed
these values in flight.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970]

Sec. 25.341 Gust loads.

(a) The airplane is assumed to be subjected to symmetrical vertical gusts
in level flight. The resulting limit load factors must correspond to the
conditions determined as follows:
(1) Positive (up) and negative (down) rough air gusts of 66 fps at VB must
be considered at altitudes between sea level and 20,000 feet. The gust
velocity may be reduced linearly from 66 fps at 20,000 feet to 38 fps at
50,000 feet.

(2) Positive and negative gusts of 50 fps at VC must be considered at
altitudes between sea level and 20,000 feet. The gust velocity may be reduced
linearly from 50 fps at 20,000 feet to 25 fps at 50,000 feet.
(3) Positive and negative gusts of 25 fps at VD must be considered at
altitudes between sea level and 20,000 feet. The gust velocity may be reduced
linearly from 25 fps at 20,000 feet to 12.5 fps at 50,000 feet.
(b) The following assumptions must be made:
(1) The shape of the gust is

Ude 2s
U = --- (1-cos ------ )
2 25C

s=distance penetrated into gust (ft);
C=mean geometric chord of wing (ft); and
Ude=derived gust velocity referred to in paragraph (a) (fps).
(2) Gust load factors vary linearly between the specified conditions B'
through G', as shown on the gust envelope in Sec. 25.333(c).
(c) In the absence of a more rational analysis, the gust load factors must
be computed as follows:

n=1 + ---------
498 (W/S)


Kg = ----------- = gust alleviation factor;

g = ------ = airplane mass ratio:

Ude=derived gust velocities referred to in paragraph (a) (fps);
r=density of air (slugs cu. ft.);
W/S=wing loading (psf);
C=mean geometric chord (ft);
g=acceleration due to gravity (ft/sec**2);
V=airplane equivalent speed (knots); and
a=slope of the airplane normal force coefficient curve CNA per radian if the

gust loads are applied to the wings and horizontal method. The wing lift
curve slope CAL per radian may be used when the gust load is applied to
the wings only and the horizontal tail gust loads are treated as a
separate condition.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-72, 55
FR 29775, July 20, 1990; 55 FR 37607, Sept. 12, 1990]

Sec. 25.343 Design fuel and oil loads.

(a) The disposable load combinations must include each fuel and oil load in
the range from zero fuel and oil to the selected maximum fuel and oil load. A
structural reserve fuel condition, not exceeding 45 minutes of fuel under the
operating conditions in Sec. 25.1001(e) and (f), as applicable, may be

(b) If a structural reserve fuel condition is selected, it must be used as
the minimum fuel weight condition for showing compliance with the flight load
requirements as prescribed in this subpart. In addition--
(1) The structure must be designed for a condition of zero fuel and oil in
the wing at limit loads corresponding to--
(i) A maneuvering load factor of +2.25; and
(ii) Gust intensities equal to 85 percent of the values prescribed in Sec.

25.341; and

(2) Fatigue evaluation of the structure must account for any increase in
operating stresses resulting from the design condition of paragraph (b)(1) of
this section; and

(3) The flutter, deformation, and vibration requirements must also be met

with zero fuel.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-18, 33 FR
12226, Aug. 30, 1968; Amdt. 25-72, 55 FR 29775, July 20, 1990; 55 FR 37607,
Sept. 12, 1990]

Sec. 25.345 High lift devices.

(a) If flaps are to be used during takeoff, approach, or landing, at the
design flap speeds established for these stages of flight under Sec.
25.335(e) and with the flaps in the corresponding positions, the airplane is
assumed to be subjected to symmetrical maneuvers and gusts within the range
determined by--

(1) Maneuvering to a positive limit load factor of 2.0; and
(2) Positive and negative 25 fps derived gusts acting normal to the flight
path in level flight.
(b) The airplane must be designed for the conditions prescribed in
paragraph (a) of this section, except that the airplane load factor need not
exceed 1.0, taking into account, as separate conditions, the effects of--

(1) Propeller slipstream corresponding to maximum continuous power at the
design flap speeds VF, and with takeoff power at not less than 1.4 times the
stalling speed for the particular flap position and associated maximum
weight; and

(2) A head-on gust of 25 feet per second velocity (EAS).
(c) If flaps or similar high lift devices are to be used in en route
conditions, and with flaps in the appropriate position at speeds up to the
flap design speed chosen for these conditions, the airplane is assumed to be
subjected to symmetrical maneuvers and gusts within the range determined by--
(1) Maneuvering to a positive limit load factor as prescribed in Sec.

25.337(b); and

(2) Positive and negative derived gusts as prescribed in Sec. 25.341 acting
normal to the flight path in level flight.
(d) The airplane must be designed for landing at the maximum takeoff weight
with a maneuvering load factor of 1.5g and the flaps and similar high lift
devices in the landing configuration.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-46, 43 FR
50595, Oct. 30, 1978; Amdt. 25-72, 55 FR 29775, July 20, 1990; 55 FR 37607,
Sept. 12, 1990]

Sec. 25.349 Rolling conditions.

The airplane must be designed for rolling loads resulting from the
conditions specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. Unbalanced
aerodynamic moments about the center of gravity must be reacted in a rational
or conservative manner, considering the principal masses furnishing the
reacting inertia forces.
(a) Maneuvering. The following conditions, speeds, and aileron deflections
(except as the deflections may be limited by pilot effort) must be considered
in combination with an airplane load factor of zero and of two-thirds of the
positive maneuvering factor used in design. In determining the required
aileron deflections, the torsional flexibility of the wing must be considered
in accordance with Sec. 25.301(b):
(1) Conditions corresponding to steady rolling velocities must be
investigated. In addition, conditions corresponding to maximum angular
acceleration must be investigated for airplanes with engines or other weight
concentrations outboard of the fuselage. For the angular acceleration
conditions, zero rolling velocity may be assumed in the absence of a rational
time history investigation of the maneuver.
(2) At VA, a sudden deflection of the aileron to the stop is assumed.
(3) At VC, the aileron deflection must be that required to produce a rate
of roll not less than that obtained in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
(4) At VD, the aileron deflection must be that required to produce a rate
of roll not less than one-third of that in paragraph (a)(2) of this section.
(b) Unsymmetrical gusts. The condition of unsymmetrical gusts must be
considered by modifying the symmetrical flight conditions B' or C' (in Sec.
25.333(c)) whichever produces the critical load. It is assumed that 100
percent of the wing air load acts on one side of the airplane and 80 percent

acts on the other side.

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970]

Sec. 25.351 Yawing conditions.

The airplane must be designed for loads resulting from the conditions
specified in paragraphs (a) and (b) of this section. Unbalanced aerodynamic
moments about the center of gravity must be reacted in a rational or
conservative manner considering the principal masses furnishing the reacting
inertia forces:

(a) Maneuvering. At speeds from VMC to VD, the following maneuvers must be
considered. In computing the tail loads, the yawing velocity may be assumed
to be zero:

(1) With the airplane in unaccelerated flight at zero yaw, it is assumed
that the rudder control is suddenly displaced to the maximum deflection, as
limited by the control surface stops, or by a 300-pound rudder pedal force,
whichever is less.

(2) With the rudder deflected as specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this
section, it is assumed that the airplane yaws to the resulting sideslip

(3) With the airplane yawed to the static sideslip angle corresponding to
the rudder deflection specified in paragraph (a)(1) of this section, it is
assumed that the rudder is returned to neutral.
(b) Lateral gusts. The airplane is assumed to encounter derived gusts
normal to the plane of symmetry while in unaccelerated flight. The derived
gusts and airplane speeds corresponding to conditions B' through J' (in Sec.
25.333(c)) (as determined by Secs. 25.341 and 25.345(a)(2) or Sec.
25.345(c)(2)) must be investigated. The shape of the gust must be as
specified in Sec. 25.341. In the absence of a rational investigation of the
airplane's response to a gust, the gust loading on the vertical tail surfaces
must be computed as follows:

Lt = -----------


Lt=vertical tail load (lbs.);

Kgt = ------------ = gust alleviation factor;

2W K
gt = -------- ( ----- )**2 =lateral mass ratio;
pCtgatSt lt

Ude=derived gust velocity (fps);
p=air density (slugs/cu. ft.);
W=airplane weight (lbs.);
St=area of vertical tail (ft.**2);
Ct=mean geometric chord of vertical surface (ft.);
at=lift curve slope of vertical tail (per radian);
K=radius of gyration in yaw (ft).;
lt=distance from airplane c.g., to lift center of vertical surface (ft.);
g=acceleration due to gravity (ft./sec.**2); and
V=airplane equivalent speed (knots).

[Doc. No. 5066, 29 FR 18291, Dec. 24, 1964, as amended by Amdt. 25-23, 35 FR
5672, Apr. 8, 1970; Amdt. 25-46, 43 FR 50595, Oct. 30, 1978; Amdt. 25-72, 55
FR 29775, July 20, 1990; 55 FR 37608, Sept. 12, 1990; 55 FR 41415, Oct. 11,

Aircraft Structural Design


Although the major focus of structural design in the early development of aircraft was on strength, now structural
designers also deal with fail-safety, fatigue, corrosion, maintenance and inspectability, and producability.

Structural Concepts

Modern aircraft structures are designed using a semi-monocoque concept- a basic load-carrying shell reinforced by
frames and longerons in the bodies, and a skin-stringer construction supported by spars and ribs in the surfaces.

Proper stress levels, a very complex problem in highly redundant structures, are calculated using versatile
computer matrix methods to solve for detailed internal loads. Modern finite element models of aircraft components
include tens-of-thousands of degrees-of-freedom and are used to determine the required skin thicknesses to avoid
excessive stress levels, deflections, strains, or buckling. The goals of detailed design are to reduce or eliminate
stress concentrations, residual stresses, fretting corrosion, hidden undetectable cracks, or single failure causing
component failure. Open sections, such as Z or J sections, are used to permit inspection of stringers and avoid
moisture accumulation.

Fail-safe design is achieved through material selection, proper stress levels, and multiple load path structural
arrangements which maintain high strength in the presence of a crack or damage. Examples of the latter are:
a)Use of tear-stoppers
b)Spanwise wing and stabilizer skin splices

Analyses introduce cyclic loads from ground-air-ground cycle and from power spectral density descriptions of
continuous turbulence. Component fatigue test results are fed into the program and the cumulative fatigue damage
is calculated. Stress levels are adjusted to achieve required structural fatigue design life.

Design Life Criteria -- Philosophy

Fatigue failure life of a structural member is usually defined as the time to initiate a crack which would tend to

reduce the ultimate strength of the member.

Fatigue design life implies the average life to be expected under average aircraft utilization and loads environment.
To this design life, application of a fatigue life scatter factor accounts for the typical variations from the average
utilization, loading environments, and basic fatigue strength allowables. This leads to a safe-life period during
which the probability of a structural crack occurring is very low. With fail-safe, inspectable design, the actual
structural life is much greater.

The overall fatigue life of the aircraft is the time at which the repair of the structure is no longer economically

Scatter factors of 2 to 4 have been used to account for statistical variation in component fatigue tests and unknowns
in loads. Load unknowns involve both methods of calculation and type of service actually experienced.

Primary structure for present transport aircraft is designed, based on average expected operational conditions and
average fatigue test results, for 120,000 hrs. For the best current methods of design, a scatter factor of 2 is typically
used, so that the expected crack-free structural life is 60,000 hrs, and the probability of attaining a crack-free
structural life of 60,000 hrs is 94 percent as shown in the following figure and table.

s.f. = N / Np

Probability of
Survival (%)

Np (Fligh Hours)
(N = 120,000 hrs)

Np (Years)
(3,000 flight hrs / year)





















With fail-safe design concepts, the usable structural life would be much greater, but in practice, each manufacturer
has different goals regarding aircraft structural life.


Choice of materials emphasizes not only strength/weight ratio but also:

q Fracture toughness

q Crack propagation rate

q Notch sensitivity

q Stress corrosion resistance

q Exfoliation corrosion resistance

Acoustic fatigue testing is important in affected portions of structure.

Doublers are used to reduce stress concentrations around splices, cut-outs, doors, windows, access panels, etc., and
to serve as tear-stoppers at frames and longerons.

Generally DC-10 uses 2024-T3 aluminum for tension structure such as lower wing skins, pressure critical fuselage
skins and minimum gage applications. This material has excellent fatigue strength, fracture toughness and notch
sensitivity. 7075-T6 aluminum has the highest strength with acceptable toughness. It is used for strength critical
structures such as fuselage floor beams, stabilizers and spar caps in control surfaces. It is also used for upper wing

For those parts in which residual stresses could possibly be present, 7075-T73 material is used. 7075-T73 material
has superior stress corrosion resistance and exfoliation corrosion resistance, and good fracture toughness. Typical
applications are fittings that can have detrimental preloads induced during assembly or that are subjected to
sustained operational loads. Thick-section forgings are 7075-T73, due to the possible residual stresses induced
during heat treatment. The integral ends of 7075-T6 stringers and spar caps are overaged to T73 locally. This
unique use of the T73 temper virtually eliminates possibility of stress corrosion cracking in critical joint areas.

Miscellaneous Numbers

Although the yield stress of 7075 or 2024 Aluminum is higher, a typical value for design stress at limit load is
54,000 psi. The density of aluminum is .101 lb / in3

Minimum usable material thickness is about 0.06 inches for high speed transport wings. This is set by lightning
strike requirements. (Minimum skin gauge on other portions of the aircraft, such as the fuselage, is about 0.05
inches to permit countersinking for flush rivets.

On the Cessna Citation, a small high speed airplane, 0.04 inches is the minimum gauge on the inner portion of the
wing, but 0.05 inches is preferred. Ribs may be as thin as 0.025 inches. Spar webs are about 0.06 inches at the tip.

For low speed aircraft where flush rivets are not a requirement and loads are low, minimum skin gauge is as low as
0.016 inches where little handling is likely, such as on outer wings and tail cones. Around fuel tanks (inboard
wings) 0.03 inches is minimum. On light aircraft, the spar or spars carry almost all of the bending and shear loads.
Wing skins are generally stiffened. Skins contribute to compression load only near the spars (which serve as
stiffeners in a limited area). Lower skins do contribute to tension capability but the main function of the skin in
these cases is to carry torsion loads and define the section shape.

In transport wings, skin thicknesses usually are large enough, when designed for bending, to handle torsion loads.

Fuel density is 6.7 lb/gallon.

Structural Optimization and Design

Structures are often analyzed using complex finite element analysis methods. These tools have evolved over the
past decades to be the basis of most structural design tasks. A candidate structure is analyzed subject to the
predicted loads and the finite element program predicts deflections, stresses, strains, and even buckling of the many
elements. The designed can then resize components to reduce weight or prevent failure. In recent years, structural
optimization has been combined with finite element analysis to determine component gauges that may minimize
weight subject to a number of constraints. Such tools are becoming very useful and there are many examples of
substantial weight reduction using these methods. Surprisingly, however, it appears that modern methods do not do
a better job of predicting failure of the resulting designs, as shown by the figure below, constructed from recent Air
Force data.


Aircraft Weight Estimation


The multitude of considerations affecting structural design, the complexity of the load distribution
through a redundant structure, and the large number of intricate systems required in an airplane, make
weight estimation a difficult and precarious career. When the detail design drawings are complete, the
weight engineer can calculate the weight of each and every part--thousands of them--and add them all
up...and indeed this is eventually done. But in the advanced design phase, this cannot be done because
there are no drawings of details. In the beginning, the advanced design engineer creates only a 3-view
and some approximate specifications. The rest of the design remains undefined.

One may start the design process with only very simple estimates of the overall empty weight of the
aircraft based purely on statistical results. Some of these correlations are not bad, such as the observation
that the ratio of empty weight to gross weight of most airplanes is about 50%. Of course, this is a very
rough estimate and does not apply at all to aircraft such as the Voyager or other special purpose designs.

One of the interesting aspects of this data is that it does not seem to follow the expected "square-cube"
law. We might expect that the stress in similar structures increases with the linear dimensions if the
imposed load is proportional to the structural weight because the latter grows as the cube of the linear
dimension while the material cross-section carrying the load grows as the square. There are several

reasons that the relationship is not so simple:
1. Some aircraft components are not affected very much by the square-cube law.
2. New and better materials and techniques have helped empty weight.
3. Higher wing loadings are used for larger aircraft.
4. Some portions of airplanes have material size fixed by minimum "handling" thickness.

The figures below show some of this effect. They are from a classic paper by F.A. Cleveland entitled,
"Size Effects in Conventional Aircraft Design" (J. of Aircraft, Nov. 1970).

" As might be expected there is a considerable diversity of scaling among components. This is
particularly apparent between the airframe components where the square-cube law has a strong influence,
as on the lifting surfaces, and those where it has little effect, as on the fuselage. The landing gear,
powerplant, and air-conditioning system, tend to increases gross weight, but the electrical system,
electronics, instruments ice-protection and furnishings are affected more by mission requirements than
by aircraft size. On balance, the overall factor of about 2.1 reflects the tendency of the square/cube law to
project a modestly increasing structural weight fraction with size."

The next step in weight estimation involves a component build-up, in much the same fashion as we
considered aircraft drag. This is the approach described here. It involves a combination of structural
analysis and statistical comparisons, with the complexity of the analysis dependent on the available
information and computational resources.

If the analysis is too simple or the statistical parameters are not chosen properly, these correlations have
dubious validity. In some cases such correlations can be expected to hold for a very restricted class of
aircraft, or to hold with accuracy sufficient for presentation only on log-log plots. It is very important that
the method be based on the fundamental physics of the design rather than on a ad-hoc correlation
parameter. One must also be cautious of the self-fulfilling nature of such correlations. If one expects,
based on historical precedent that a wing should weigh 20,000 lbs, one may work hard to reduce the
weight if the original design weighs 25,000 lbs. When the design is finally brought down to the initial
estimate the project leader may be satisfied, and the new design appears as a point on the next edition of
the plot.

The following sections provide methods for estimating the component weights for advanced design
purposes. Some of the sections (e.g. wing weight estimation) provide a more in-depth discussion of the
derivation of the method and comparisons with several aircraft. The correlations vary from fair to very
good, and provide a reasonable basis for estimating weights. They are based on a variety of sources, from
published methods of aircraft manufacturers to methods developed by NASA and some developed
originally here. We do not use Boeing's method or Douglas' method because these methods constitute
some of the most proprietary parts of the preliminary design systems in use at these companies.

Component Weight Methods

In the following sections, aircraft weights are divided into the following components. Each company
divides the weight into different categories, so it is sometime difficult to compare various components

from different manufacturers. Here we divide the system into the following categories:
Horizontal Tail
Vertical Tail
Landing Gear
Surface Controls
Propulsion System
Instruments and Navigation
Hydraulics and Pneumatics
Electrical System
Air Conditioning and Anti-Ice
Flight Attendants
Operating Items

Sample Weight Statements

Companies typically present a summary of these items in an airplane weight statement. Some examples
are available from this link.

Total Weights

The component weights are grouped together to form a number of total weights that are routinely used in
aircraft design. This section lists some of the typical weights and their definitions.

Component Weights

1. Wing

The wing weights index is related to the fully-stressed bending weight of the wing box. It includes the
effect of total wing load (at the ultimate load factor, Nult), span (b), average airfoil thickness (t/c), taper

(λ), sweep of the structural axis (Λea), and gross wing area (Swg). The total wing weight is based on this
bending index and actual data from 15 transport aircraft. Additional information on the wing weight
computation is provided from this link.

2. Horizontal Tail

The horizontal tail weight, including elevator, is determined similarly, but the weight index introduces
both exposed and gross horizontal tail areas as well as the tail length (distance from airplane c.g. to
aerodynamic center of the horizontal tail). The method assumes that the elevator is about 25% of the
horizontal tail area. Several sources suggest treating V-tails as conventional horizontal tails with the area
and span that would be obtained if the v-tail dihedral were removed.

3. Vertical Tail and Rudder

This graph shows the vertical fin (vertical tail less rudder) weight. The rudder itself may be assumed to
occupy about 25% of SV and weighs 60% more per unit area. The weight of the vertical portion of a T-
tail is about 25% greater than that of a conventional tail; a penalty of 5% to 35% is assessed for vertical
tails with center engines. (The formula below does not include the rudder weight, but Sv is the area of the
vertical tail with rudder.)

4. Fuselage

Fuselage weight is based on gross fuselage wetted area (without cutouts for fillets or surface intersections
and upon a pressure-bending load parameter.

The pressure index is: Ip = 1.5E-3 * P * B

The bending index is: Ib = 1.91E-4 N * W * L / H2
where: P = maximum pressure differential (lb / sq ft)
B = fuselage width (ft)
H = fuselage height (ft)
L = fuselage length (ft)
N = limit load factor at ZFW
W = ZFWmax - weight of wing and wing-mounted engines, nacelles and pylons.

The fuselage is pressure-dominated when: Ip > Ib.
When fuselage is pressure dominated: Ifuse = Ip

When fuselage is not pressure-dominated: Ifuse = (Ip2

+ Ib2

) / (2 Ib)
To better represent the distributed support provided by the wing, the effective fuselage length is taken to
be the actual fuselage length minus the wing root chord / 2.

The fuselage weight is then:
Wfuse = (1.051 + .102 * Ifuse) * Sfuse

Subtract 8.5% for all-cargo aircraft.

5. Landing Gear

Gear weight is about 4.0% of the take-off weight. This is the total landing gear weight including
structure, actuating system, and the rolling assembly consisting of wheels, brakes, and tires. The rolling
assembly is approximately 39% of the total gear weight:

Wgear = 0.04 TOW

6. Surface Controls

Surface controls are the systems associated with control surface actuation, not the control surfaces
themselves. This system weight depends primarily on the area of the horizontal and vertical tails.

Wsc = Isc * (SH + SV)

Isc = 3.5 (lb / sq ft) for fully-powered controls
2.5 for part-power systems
1.7 for full aerodynamic controls.

7. Propulsion System

The propulsion system weight is about 60% greater than that of the dry engine alone. The engine
structural section, or nacelle group, and the propulsion group which includes the engines, engine exhaust,
reverser, starting, controls, lubricating, and fuel systems are handled together as the total propulsion
weight. This weight, which includes nacelle and pylon weight, may be estimated as:

Wpropulsion = 1.6 Wengine dry weight
The correlation below may be used if engine dry weight is not available.

8. Auxiliary Power Unit (APU)

Smaller airplanes may not have an APU, but if it is there, its weight may be estimated by:

Wapu (lbs) = 7 * Nseats

We will assume that there is no APU for airplanes with fewer than 9 seats.

9. Instruments and Navigational Equipment

WInst&Nav = 100 lbs for business jet, 800 lb for domestic transport, 1200 lb for long range or overwater

10. Hydraulics and pneumatics

Whyd&pneu (lb)= .65 * Sref (ft2


11. Electrical

Welectrical (lb) = 13 * Nseats or use 1950. lbs for cargo aircraft. Note that this correlation does not work
well for smaller aircraft and should be replaced with a more representative value if known.

12. Electronics

Welectronics = 300 lbs for business jet, 900 lbs domestic transport, 1500 lbs long range

13. Furnishings

Furnishings are often divided into accommodations proportional to the number of actual passenger seats
installed, and furnishings-other, which is a function of the total cabin size and is found as a function of
the number of all-coach passengers that can be fit into the fuselage.

Here we will not distinguish between the actual number of seats and the maximum number. Similarly, a
more accurate furnishings weight is based on the actual division of seats between first class and coach,
and the maximum number of seats that can be installed on the aircraft. For our purposes we simply use:

Wfurnish (lbs) (43.7 -.037*Nseats)*Nseats + 46.*Nseats
When the number of seats exceeds 300, we use:
Wfurnish (43.7 -.037*300)*Nseats + 46.*Nseats
For overwater or long range aircraft, we add another 23 lbs per seat. For business jets, most anything is

14. Air conditioning and anti-ice

Data on these systems suggest a very large scatter. We use:

Waircond (lbs)= 15 * Nseats
although this is probably too high for very large aircraft.

15. Operating Items Less Crew

Woperitems (lbs) = 17 * Npax, Short range, austere
28 * Npax, medium range, coach or business jet
40 * Npax, long range, first class

16. Flight Crew

Wcrew = 180 + 25 lbs per flight-deck crew member

17. Flight attendants

There are typically 20-30 pax / attend, although the FAA rules do not require this many. Currently flight
attendant weights include just 130 lbs and 20 lbs of baggage, although this would probably be considered
low by todays standards.
Wattend = 130 + 20 lbs per attendant

18. Payload

Typically 205 lbs / passenger (165 per person + 40 lbs baggage) is used by major U.S. airlines. 210
lbs/passenger is sometimes assumed for international operations. One generally allocates 4.5 ft3


passenger for baggage volume or 5.2 ft3

for international operations.

The aircraft may also carry cargo as desired. An added cargo weight of 20lbs / pax is reasonable in the
determination of maximum zero fuel weight if no other guidelines are available. Typical passenger load
factors (actual / maximum) range from 60% to 70%.

For cargo aircraft 8.9 lbs/ft3

is typical of containerized cargo, while bulk cargo occupies about 7.7 lb /


. Typical cargo laod factors are 40% for containerized and 25% for bulk cargo.

Wing Weight

The wing weight is taken as the sum of two terms, a portion that varies directly with the wing area and a
part that varies in proportion to the amount of material required to resist the applied bending loads. This
estimate is done statistically, but is based on an index that is related to the weight of a fully-stressed
beam. A derivation is given here.

Wing Weight Breakdown



STOL Study

Wing Bending Material13,115



Wing Spars, Webs,




Bending, Spars, Webs,








Wing Box Weight




Total Wing Weight




Bending / Total




Box / Total




Detailed Wing Weight Buildup


Weight (lbs)

Bending Material
upper surface
lower surface


Shear Material


Ribs and Bulkheads


Leading Edge


Trailing Edge




Slats and Supports


Spoilers and Supports650

Ailerons and Supports1,305

Flaps and Supports


Wing/Fuselage Fairing960

Wing Fuselage Attach1,000

Main Gear Doors


Exterior Finish


Primer and Sealant




Derivation of the Wing Weight Index

Consider a section of a wing structural box assumed symmetrical about a neutral axis. If we consider
only the bending stress in the wing upper and lower skins, then, the bending moment is related to the
normal stress by:

Mb = 2 σ





= σA



where Mb is the bending moment at the spanwise section under consideration, t is the section thickness,
and A is the total cross sectional area of the stressed material. If the skins are carrying a given allowable
stress then:

σallow =

2 Mb(y)



A =

2 Mb(y)

t σallow

The weight of this material is then:

Wb = 2 ⌠



ρA dy =

4 ρ

σ[t/ c]






where an average value of t/c is used. If the wing has a linear chord distribution then:

c(y) =






) (1-η(1 - λ))

where η is the dimensionless span statio, 2y/b. The wing bending moment is related to the lift by:

Mb(y) = ⌠



l(y) y dy =







y dy

Combining these expressions leads to:

Wb =

4 ρ

σ[t/ c]






[l/( (L/b)avg)] y

/c dy dy


2 ρb3


σS [t/ c]



∫ η1

[l/( (L/b)avg)] [(η(1+λ))/( (1-η(1 - λ)))]dη dη

The double integral may be evaluated for a given shape of the lift distribution. When a simple shape is
assumed, the effect of sweep is added, and the total lift is set equal to the ultimate load factor times a sort
of average between zero fuel weight and maximum take-off weight, we obtain:

Wb ∝


nult [√(ZFW) (TOW)] (1+2λ)

σS [t/ c] (1+λ)cos2


The actual wing weight will be larger than this because the material is not fully-stressed and because
shear material is also needed. We correlate actual wing weights to this index to produce a wing weight

Sample Aircraft Weight Statements

Small Commercial Aircraft

Larger Commercial Aircraft

Military Aircraft

* Estimated

You're Reading a Free Preview

/*********** DO NOT ALTER ANYTHING BELOW THIS LINE ! ************/ var s_code=s.t();if(s_code)document.write(s_code)//-->