TakeOff and Landing

This section will present the theory of takeoff and landing for conventional aircraft. Conventional aircraft would be any aircraft with a main gear, a nose gear and a single source of thrust at some angle of incidence it. Therefore, "conventional" could include some aircraft that are considered STOL (Short Takeoff Or Landing). One could derive equations that are more complex for a VSTOL (Vertical or Short Takeoff Or Landing). Takeoff Parameters Let us define the following forces, distances, angles and coefficients as depicted in the following drawing. Dbw = Drag of the aircraft body and wing - along the aircraft flight path axis During the ground roll, the flight path will be parallel to the runway Dt = Drag of the aircraft tail - acts along the aircraft flight path {this term is often lumped into the body drag for aircraft without a T-tail}. L1 = Lift of the wing - acts perpendicular to the flight path L2 = Lift of the tail - also acts perpendicular to the flight path Wt = gross weight - acts through the center of gravity of the aircraft. Fn = net thrust acting parallel to the flight path. {We will however include a term perpendicular to the flight path} F1 = Load on the nose gear. F2 = Load on the main gear. X1 = Distance from the nose gear to the aircraft center of gravity. X2 = Distance from the main gear to the aircraft center of gravity. XL1 = Distance from the center of gravity to action point of the wing lift (Mean Aerodynamic Chord) XL2 = Distance from the wing lift point to the tail lift action point. Z1 = Height of the body axis of the aircraft above the ground plane.

Z2 = Height of the tail center of lift and drag above the aircraft body axis. = Aircraft pitch attitude. = Runway slope.

Not shown on the drawing (to avoid clutter) is gross thrust (Fg) and the engine inlet drag (Fe). Using the above diagram, we can formulate the equations of motion for the aircraft during the ground roll. The equations are the same for either a takeoff or a landing. Forces are in pounds; speeds in feet per seconds and angles are in degrees. 1. Requiring the summation of forces in the X-axis to be zero. ( note: Here the positive X-axis direction is along the runway to the left).

it = Thrust Incidence Angle D = Total Aerodynamic Drag Frw = Total Runway Resistance Fex = Excess Thrust

with: where: = Coefficient of friction associated with the nose wheels.) We will take moments about the main wheels. Also. Requiring the summation of forces in the Z-axis to be zero.) 2.174 feet/second2 Vg = Ground Speed Collecting terms: 1. since the aircraft will pitch about the main wheels during the takeoff or landing ground roll. Requiring the summation of moments about the Y-axis to be zero. We will ignore any pitch . ( note: The Yaxis in this case is perpendicular to the page and coming out of the page. where: Nx = Longitudinal Load Factor g0 = 32. = Coefficient of friction associated with the main wheels. ( note: The positive Z-axis direction is perpendicular to the runway and pointing towards the top right of the page.

We will ignore any moment caused by the vertical component of gross thrust. What we now have is three equations with three unknowns for purposes of simulating a takeoff or landing ground roll. A2 and A3. respectively. Of course. gross thrust.dynamics during the ground roll. Once we have the excess thrust. Then we can rewrite the three equations in matrix form as follows: . drag. Collecting the three equations: Rearranging the equations: We will define the terms in the square brackets in each one of the equations as A1. we can differentiate the ground speed derivative to obtain speed and distance versus time. the primary parameter of interest is the excess thrust from which we can compute the derivative of ground speed. and engine drag terms in the above equations. The three unknowns are the two normal forces on the wheels (F1 and F2) and the excess thrust (Fex). It is assumed that one has a thrust and drag model for the lift.

C. α is zero during the ground roll and that is why it was not included in the above general equations. However. a point mass model will be assumed with all the forces acting through the center of gravity of the aircraft. The thrust incidence angle. the three equations reduce to two equations. Therefore. where the bold letters represent vectors and C is the three-by-three matrix.015 is usually assumed for the rolling coefficient of friction (µ ). the designer will provide an initial estimated model for lift and drag as a function of angle of attack (α ). in many cases. namely: where µF=Frw. The above matrix relationship can be solved by multiplying both sides by the inverse of the square matrix.Here the matrix equation is of the form C F = A. With these assumption. Only the most precise simulations will typically account for a separate tail and body drag. so we can ignore Dt. or at least not known precisely. we measure excess thrust (Fex). namely C-1. In addition. For takeoff performance. During the course of flight test. the thrust and drag may be unknown. is always usually either zero or small. Accounting for tail lift and drag becomes more important when modeling braking performance to determine the load distribution on the main gear and the nose gear. it . . We need to solve for F. the drag of the tail. as long as the determinant of C is not zero. Thus Developing a Takeoff Simulation Usually. Normally. The A1 term is thrust minus drag minus the runway component of weight. a value of 0. we may need to iterate between the above equation and the solution of the above equation.

i. The drag and lift models would be in the form of drag and lift coefficients versus angle of attack.e. or. One would be provided models for net thrust drag and lift.Combining the above two equations by substituting for F leads to: The above equation can be used in two ways: (a) first... We know (or assume values for) the other variables.e. we can compute the excess thrust during the ground roll of the aircraft. From the first equation. to solve for thrust minus drag. Typical model formulations are as follows: where: M = Mach number H = Pressure altitude Ta = Ambient temperature α = angle of attack hAGL = Aircraft wing height above ground level . to solve for excess thrust. (b) second. i.

= reference wing area (feet2) b = 35. In addition. Ground Effect The following plot is typical of a relationship defining the decrease in drag due to lift in ground effect. They may also include Reynolds number terms. The parameter hAGL is needed to account for ground effect.0 = b2/S = Aspect Ratio hw = 5.The fuel flow is required in order to account for weight change during the takeoff. The above are just typical model forms. = wing span (feet) AR = 4. A very simplified model that approximates an F-16 in military thrust was created to illustrate takeoff simulation. The model constants and equations are as follows: S = 300. the engine is usually not at 100% thrust at brake release so a thrust spool up factor needs to be supplied.0 = height of wing above ground while aircraft on the ground (feet) .

05 = lift coefficient corresponding to minimum drag Cdmin = 0.0.0 . The percent of out of ground effect drag is computed from (see previous graph) under the condition that XGE =1. Clmin = 0. if XGE >1. With the following parameters defined. = thrust at zero Mach (pounds) Fnslope = 5.000. Mach (pounds) KFn0 = 0. = start gross weight (pounds) Fno = 10.Wts = 25. The equation for the net thrust for this model becomes: and the weight of the fuel can be related to the thrust by: where sfc = thrust specific fuel consumption.000. namely. then KFn = 1.0500 = minimum drag coefficient then the drag coefficient (Cd) is computed as follows: .65 = thrust factor at zero time τ = 2.000 = slope of thrust vs.0 = thrust time constant (seconds) We assume that the overall thrust factor increases from its zero time value via the formula and if KFn >1.

that angle of attack is held until the aircraft generates enough lift such that lift is greater than the weight and the aircraft lifts off the runway. then the lift coefficient (CL) is as follows: The angle of attack is held to zero during the ground roll until a rotation speed is reached. the typical takeoff will rotate to some given angle of attack.300 feet = initial pressure altitude then the ambient pressure ratio (δ ) is as follows: and we may relate it to the standard day value at sea level by where: Pa = ambient pressure. HC = 2.117 pounds/foot2 Using the aspect ratio and the angle of attack. for example. Then. The angle of attack profile used in this example simulation is as follows: where we assume that .With the definition of the initial pressure altitude for the runway. This rotation speed (in this simulation example) is at a calibrated airspeed of 100 knots. and PaSL = ambient pressure standard day sea level = 2116. Upon reaching the rotation speed.

the longitudinal load factor Nx was related to the excess thrust through the total gross weight by where . In the numerical integration. the last terms in our model are for the runway resistance. under the condition that Frw = 0. the equation (previously derived above): will reduce to Also. The aircraft (or the simulated aircraft) will lift off the ground when lift is greater than the weight. for L > Wt since the aircraft will become airborne. Now. The lift first exceeds weight at airspeed of 156 knots. We will assume zero runway slope and a runway coefficient of friction. Lift and drag are computed as follows using the mach number definition and ambient pressure ratio: Finally. µ = 0. 13 degrees angle of attack is reached at 143 knots calibrated airspeed. Then.The angle of attack (α ) is limited to a pre-determined value. In the example that value is 13 degrees.015.

i. During the air phase. to other parameters are given here for the sake of completeness. the normal load factor equation is used.. We will assume wind speed equals zero in the example.e. The following equations relating the aircraft's calibrated velocity. NZ and γ equations we can integrate to find ground speed (Vg) and geometric height (h). however. From the NX . but whose derivation may be found elsewhere: From the speed of sound and the mach number: . are functions of airspeed and pressure altitude. We have assumed a standard atmosphere for temperature (in degrees Kelvin) We can now find the true air speed using where: Vt = true airspeed Vw = wind speed if the wind speed were nonzero.During the ground roll. the h-dot term is zero. All of the forces. VC. where and γ = flight path angle.

where The compressible dynamic pressure. drag plus the runway resistance terms and excess thrust versus calibrated airspeed is shown in the following: . knowing the ambient pressure and the mach number. qC. may be calculated. by The calibrated velocity of the aircraft with respect to a standard sea level day is then given by A plot of thrust.

The following plot is a blow-up of just the drag from just before rotation to about 60 feet above the ground. We can numerically integrate the equations to provide a plot of distance versus calibrated airspeed or height versus calibrated airspeed. . one can present both the longitudinal and vertical distance on one plot as follows. This illustrates the changes in slope of drag versus speed as the fixed alpha is achieved and as the aircraft is no longer in ground effect. these are idealized computer simulations so one would not see such clearly defined effects in flight test data. Of course. By scaling the distance by a factor of 100.

0 3001 3131 22.6 11. seconds for time (purple) and feet for altitude (green) Effect of Runway Slope Using the pseudo-F-16 model. The average acceleration is computed as follows: where: t = time at liftoff (seconds) d = distance at liftoff (feet) distance Slope -1.Units for y axis: 100 feet for distance (blue). the values of time and distance as a function of runway slope (in degrees) is shown in the following table.6 23.75 11.52% 0% time acceleration % from zero .0 0. the effect of runway slope.24 4.

due to the much smaller thrust to weight ratio of the typical light aircraft. one must take into account the fact of having a negative absolute rate of climb at liftoff for a negative slope runway.5 1.0 24. For instance.73 10.6 25.99 10.0 2.0 degree slope runway.0.22 -2. The rate of climb (or descent) with respect to the horizontal plane is given by: Effect of Wind on Takeoff Distance Again using the same pseudo F-16 model.06% As can be seen. the effect of runway slope for this particular model is about 4. For a typical light aircraft. the absolute rate of descent is about three feet/second. Although the percentage change in acceleration is about the same for a positive or negative runway slope.29% -4.5% per degree of runway slope. for a liftoff at 100 knots ground speed with a negative 1.56% -9.8 10. the effect of runway slope is at least twice that amount. the following plot illustrates the effect of wind Y axis: percent change in liftoff distance .0 3164 3247 3403 24.

For the following plot. one can see the effect of braking coefficient upon stopping performance. One would accelerate the aircraft on the runway to some high airspeed. Minimum drag coefficient has been increased from 0. A more convenient form for the drag coefficient has been presented previously in the takeoff simulation portion of this section. representing idle thrust. Then. the coefficient of friction has been set to . The thrust has been set to a constant 600 pounds. where: and CD = drag coefficient q = incompressible dynamic pressure ρ = density Lift and drag coefficients are discussed in the lift and drag section.Idle Thrust Decelerations To assist in the development (or verification) of a Takeoff and Landing simulation.0500 to 0. namely: Landing Braking Performance Using the same model that was used for takeoff portion of this page.0700 to account for additional drag devices (such as spoilers) activated during braking. cut the throttle to idle and allow the aircraft to freely decelerate. idle thrust decelerations may be performed. We can solve for drag (D) in the above equation and then put D into coefficient form.

.50. For a dry runway. The gross weight has been reduced to 20. is typically on the order of between 0. the coefficient of friction. more representative of aircraft weight for landing speeds.35. µ. The initial ground speed was 130 knots for a calibrated airspeed of 126 knots.000 pounds.a constant 0. this is a typical dry runway value.25 and 0.

The following plot is of the braking coefficient computed from braking tests with the F-15C in 1977 at Edwards Air Force Base. The test was on a wet runway. The data points were average values of the actual data and the line was a 4th order polynomial curve fit of the data points. This is especially true at high speed where hydroplaning may occur. with the water applied using water tankers. the braking coefficient. . is much less than for a dry runway. Hydroplaning is where the wheels ride on a film of water and never contact the runway.For wet runway conditions. µ.

. Using the above curve fit (with its limits) for the µ model leads to the following graph. The limits that will be used in applying the curve fit will be the curve fit values at the extreme points. Invariably the data will not extend to the full range of the desired simulation. Using the curve fit beyond the range of its data should be avoided by use of limits. A limit would be where the curve fit value (y) would take on some pre-determined constant value if the x value exceeds the highest (or lowest) value used in the curve fit. These are as follows.A warning is appropriate for using curve fits in simulations.

The simulation for our wet runway model produces a total distance of 6718 feet. That's a factor of three times longer for a wet runway. "your results may vary". That's typical. This compares to a distance of 2241 for our dry runway model using a constant µ of 0. . but as the saying goes.35.

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