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Sail plane is a air borne vehicle which flies at low speeds and usually carries one or two fliers.
The sailplane is flown at very slow speeds hence motors are used having a propeller attached at
its nose.Aim of the sail plane is to fly for highest time without losing much of its height. This
requires careful aerodynamic consideration. The flight should be very efficient since the
propulsion from the motor is not much.The plane also needs to be structurally stable as huge lift
forces act on the wings. Any structural failure during flight would have huge detrimental effects.
Hence it is necessary to carefully design the sailplane body.This paper would concentrate on
aerodynamic analysis of a sail plane wing.
Design Procedure
Analysis of the aerofoil to be used

Design of plane wing according to the
load and aerodynamic constraints

Aerodynamic analysis of the wing
Lift of the wing
Drag of the wing
Induced drag of the wing

If the design is efficient No


Construct the wing

Aerofoil selection:

Fig 1 Aerofoil selected for analysis
Four types of airfoils are analyzed for the sail plane. One with high camber (E423), flat bottom aerofoil
(CLARK Y), another one with medium chamber (NACA 63-618).
Aerodynamic characteristics of these 4 airfoils are checked.
v/s analysis:

Graph 1 C
v/s C

From the aerodynamic analysis of the airfoil we can see that the C
values decrease rapidly once
the angle of attack reaches a certain value. This angle of attack is known as stalling angle .The
plane must fly at an angle of attack thats below this angle. Else the plane would suddenly lose
its lift and drag forces would increase on the wing. For a sail plane wing high stalling angle is
desirable.We can see that the stalling angle is highest for NACA 63-618.
Wing planform
Different planforms of wings were analysed and individually considered for their lift and drag
characterstics.The visual data was used to make subtle design changes.The prominenet shapes
are shown below.

Fig:Tapered wing planform

Fig:Rectangular planform wing.

Fig:Wing with dihedral at the end.
The plane wing should be designed such that it gives maximum lift and minimum value of drag.
More the drag the gliding time would reduce. For a sail plane this is detrimental.Weight the wing
needs to carry is 360 Kg that is its own weight plus the weight od the payload.

More the wing span more is the lift produced. Less fuel will be used. But as we increase the span
of the wing the weight of the plane increases. Also the wing needs to be strengthened at roots as
huge moment would be produced because of the wing at the root. This would need more nuts and
bolts which would again increase the weight of the plane. Hence we need to design our plane
The plane is given a taper so as to reduce the induced drag. Elliptical plan form gives the highest
efficiency. In an elliptical plan form the induced drag is very low but it is difficult to
manufacture. Hence we give a taper, which tends to an elliptical plan form. A taper of 2.95 is
Aspect ratio also helps in reducing drag. Sailplanes have very high aspect ratio. Because their
speed is low hence the bending moments at the root is less. But high speed planes have shorter
aspect ratio. The aspect ratio of the airplane is kept at 16.44.