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APPENDIX D: Geometry of Lifting Surfaces

This appendix is a part of the book General Aviation
Aircraft Design: Applied Methods and Procedures by
Snorri Gudmundsson, published by Elsevier, Inc. The book
is available through various bookstores and online
retailers, such as www.elsevier.com, www.amazon.com,
and many others.

D.1 Introduction
This appendix focuses on the geometry generally used for aircraft lifting surfaces; typically the wings, as well the
horizontal and vertical tails, but also specialty surfaces, such as winglets and ventral fins. Such geometry can range
from the simple constant chord lifting surface sometimes chosen for the wing and then referred to as a “Hershey
bar” wing, to the complicated ogee wing shape featured on the Concorde supersonic transport. Modern lifting
surfaces often feature breaks in the leading or trailing edges (called “cranks”), which breaks it into a number of
trapezoidal sections. The competent aircraft designer should know how to treat such lifting surfaces in the
aerodynamic analysis of aircraft.
We will study the simplest to the most complex of lifting surfaces and develop formulation that allows the designer
to evaluate important parameters that will be defined in the text, such as Mean Geometric Chord, Taper Ratio, and
Aspect Ratio. The appendix does not consider characteristics such as a geometric or aerodynamic wing twist
(washout). This discussion is limited to general analysis of flat, infinitely thin surfaces that resemble those that are
commonly (and not so commonly) used to generate lift in aircraft. No treatment of internal structure or flight
controls is considered here. This section is purely a mathematical treatment of 2-dimensional surface planforms
geometries that are typically used for lifting.
The first type of surfaces presented in the section is the trapezoidal, but these cover the bulk of planform shapes
used for aircraft. The discussion will be followed by a treatment of cranked surfaces, which are planform shapes of
relatively regular polygons that can be broken down into trapezoidal subsections. Finally, this section will consider
planform shapes, whose leading and trailing edges are best described with continuous curved functions.

GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN

APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES

©2013 Elsevier, Inc. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.

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D.2 Formulation for the Simple Trapezoidal Planform
During the early stages of the design process, there simply is not yet enough detail available to calculate the
surface areas and volumes with a high degree of accuracy. Often the design consists of nothing more than some
preliminary dimensions. For instance, we may have a reasonable idea about how long the fuselage might be, or its
average diameter. It is often convenient to estimate the geometric properties of the airplane using some generic
shapes that resemble the proposed form. This section will present a few such shapes and simple and handy
formulas to estimate the areas of the surface and volume. We will start with the geometry of a few fundamental
shapes that can be combined to form shapes that resemble that of a fuselage.
D.2.1 Approximation of an Airfoil Cross-Sectional Area
Often, the cross-sectional area (internal area) of an airfoil must be evaluated as it yields useful clues about the
internal volume of a wing available for fuel storage. In the absence of precise airfoil data, the following
approximation can be used to estimate the internal area of geometry resembling that of an airfoil:

Aairfoil 

Total area:

Where:

k  3C  t

(D-1)

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C = Airfoil chord, in ft or m
k = Location of the airfoil’s maximum thickness as a fraction of C.
t = Airfoil thickness, in ft or m.

Sometimes it is more convenient to present the thickness using the thickness-to-chord ratio, denoted by (t/c). This
way, the thickness is expressed using the product (t/c)∙C. This way, Equation (D-1) is written as follows:

Total area:

Aairfoil 

k  3  t C 2
6

 
c

(D-2)

Figure D-1: An approximation of an airfoil using elementary geometry.
DERVIATION OF EQUATION (D-1):
Consider Figure D-1, which shows an airfoil of chord C approximated by a parabolic D-cell and a triangular section.
It is assumed the two sections join at the chord station of maximum thickness, t, whose location is given by k∙C,
where k is the location of the airfoil’s maximum thickness as a fraction of C. The cross-sectional areas of the two
sections and the total area are given by the following expressions:

Parabolic section:
Triangular section:

2k  C  t
3
C  1  k t
A2 
2

A1 

GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN

(i)
(ii)

APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES

©2013 Elsevier, Inc. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.

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5% for a 25% thick airfoil and 0. the perimeter of the airfoil is written as follows: sairfoil  t c 2 sinh 1  4k   2 t c 2  41  k 2  C 2 2   t c  16 k     t c   2 8k    (D-4) An evaluation of the above equations reveals that the term involving the inverse hyperbolic sine contributes less than 1. DERIAVATION OF EQUATION (D-3) The perimeter along the upper and lower surface of the airfoil can be estimated by combining the length of the parabolic and triangular sections: Parabolic section: sp  Triangular section: st  2 t2 t2  4kC  2  4kC  sinh 1   4 16kC  t  t2 2 2  C 2 1  k   t 2  4C 2 1  k  4 GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN (i) (ii) APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. (t/c). For this reason. 3 . it is possible to simplify Equations (D-3) and (D-4) as follows: sairfoil  t2 2 2  4kC   t 2  4C 2 1  k  4 C sairfoil   2  (D-5) t c   16k  2 t c   41  k    2 2 2 2 This form improves the speed of computations with small error.12% for 5% thick airfoil. If so. in ft or m Again.2. it may be simpler to use the thickness-to-chord ratio. Inc.Therefore. in ft or m k = Location of the airfoil’s maximum thickness as a fraction of C t = Airfoil thickness. In the absence of more accurate data the following approximation can be used to estimate the perimeter of an airfoil (assuming the geometry of Figure D-1 is a reasonable approximation of the airfoil): sairfoil  Where: t2 t2  4kC  2 2 2 2  4kC  sinh 1    t  4C 1  k  4 16kC  t  (D-3) C = Airfoil chord. rather than the exact thickness of the airfoil. the internal area of the airfoil can be approximated by adding the two as shown below: Aairfoil  A1  A2  2k  C  t C  1  k t k  3C  t   3 2 6 QED D.2 Approximation of an Airfoil Perimeter The perimeter of the airfoil is imperative when estimating the wetted area for drag estimation.

Therefore. respectively (see Figure D-2). 4 . Inc.2. Total wing volume: Where: V bCr2  t t   k r  3   kt  3  2  12   c r  c t  (D-6)  = Taper Ratio. the total perimeter of the airfoil is: sairfoil  s p  st  t2 t2  4kC  2 2 2 2  4kC  sinh 1    t  4C 1  k  4 16kC t   QED DERIVATION OF EQUATION (D-4) The thickness. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. Replacing t in Equation (D-3) with this form yields: s airfoil  t c 2 C 2  4kC2  t c 2 C 2 sinh 1  4 4kC   t c C     16kC t c 2 C 2  4C 2 1  k 2 Algebraic manipulations lead to: s airfoil  C t c 2  4k 2  t c 2 C sinh 1  4 16k 4k   t c    C   2  t c 2  16k 2   t c   C sinh 1  t c 2  41  k 2 4k    C  t c   t c 2  41  k 2  C 2  t c 2 sinh 1  4k   2 t c 2  41  k 2  C 2 2   t c  16 k     t c   2 8k     4  k QED D. where (t/c) is the thickness ratio and C is the airfoil chord. The wetted wing area. t.3 Approximation Surface Areas and Volumes of a Generic Lifting Surface (without Fuselage) The surface area and volume of a generic lifting surface like the one shown in the left image of Figure D-2 can be estimated assuming the above expressions for cross-sectional area and arc length are applicable. excluding the fuselage can be estimated from: S wet  bCr   2 2 2 2   t c r  16k r  2 t c r  41  k r      4  2 2 2 2   t c t  16kt  2 t c t  41  kt       GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN (D-7) APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. is given by (t/c)∙C. k = Location of the airfoil’s maximum thickness as a fraction of C The subscripts r and t refer to the root and tip airfoils.

respectively (see Figure D-2).Figure D-2: An approximation of a tapered wing (left) and tapered wing and fuselage (right). C r. Consider the fuselage of width D and wing shown in the right image of Figure D-2. it is not out of the way to present a simple correction to Equation (D-7). k = Location of the airfoil’s maximum thickness as a fraction of C The subscripts r and t refer to the root and tip airfoils. Note that the root chord. Then Equation (D-7) can be rewritten to exclude the portion of the wing inside the fuselage. DERIVATION: The cross-sectional area at the root and tip airfoils can be estimated using Equation (D-2) as follows (denoting the root and tip using the subscripts r and t): Ar  k r  3  t    Cr 6  c r k  3  t  C 2  kt  3  t  2C 2 At  t   t   r 6  c t 6  c t 2 Then. 5 . Since the wing is usually mounted on the fuselage. b  k  3  t  2 kt  3  t  2 2  bCr2  t t   k r  3   kt  3  2  V   r   Cr     Cr   2  6  c r 6  c t  c r  c t   12  QED GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. Inc. the total volume of the wing will be the average of these two times the wingspan b. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. must refer to the chord along the side of the fuselage and this requires the Taper Ratio  to be calculated (as Ct/Cr): S wet  b  D Cr   t c 2  16k 2  2 t c 2  41  k 2     r r r r  4   2 2 2 2   t c t  16kt  2 t c t  41  kt       Where: (D-8) b = Wing span D = Fuselage width t/c = Airfoil thickness ratio  = Taper Ratio.

Inc.DERIVATION: The perimeter the root and tip airfoils can be estimated using Equation (D-5) as follows: Cr  t c 2r  16k r 2  2 t c 2r  41  k r 2     2 C 2 2 2 2 st  t  t c t  16k t  2 t c t  41  k t      2 sr  Then. 6 . the total volume of the wing will be the average of these two times the wingspan b (denoting the root and tip using the subscripts r and t): bC 2 2 2 2 S wet   r  t c r  16k r  2 t c r  41  k r       2 2  Ct  t c t2  16kt 2  2 t c t2  41  kt 2      2 b 2 2 2 2 S wet   C r  t c r  16k r  2 t c r  41  k r       4  2 2 2 2 C r  t c t  16k t  2 t c t  41  k t       QED GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.

require the user to determine aerodynamic properties based on the sweep of the quarter-chord or the leading edge. This weighing is based on the surface area of each panel. Consider the cranked half wing planform shape in Figure D-4. For instance. where is the MGC? What is its length? How about Taper Ratio or leading edge sweep? At times it is necessary to treat such geometry to enable comparison between these more complicated planforms and their simpler counterparts.3 Equivalent Wing Planforms Most aircraft do not feature perfectly trapezoidal wing planform shapes but rather ones that are “cranked” or broken along the leading or trailing edges. allowing the aforementioned geometric properties to be determined and compared on an equivalent basis (“apples to apples” comparison). it is appropriate to use a weighed approach that considers the “contribution” of each to a representative quarter-chord sweep of an equivalent wing. The half wing in Figure D-4 consists of N-1 separate small trapezoidal sections that each can be considered as simple trapezoid. Figure D-3: Wing planforms that are more complicated than they look at first glance. Inc. Note that this simplification does not extend to aerodynamic properties of the planform. when considering the four panels the wing of Figure D-4 consists of. The figure shows a single equivalent trapezoidal surface that has been superimposed on the original wing. It is prudent to ask how we define important geometric characteristics of such wing shapes. it is prudent we ask ourselves whose quarter-chord sweep is a suitable representation for the entire wing? The answer is none. We shall now develop expressions to convert the wing into a simple trapezoidal planform.D. Many scientific documents that contain aerodynamic characteristics of 3dimensional wings. However. airloads GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. For instance. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. A few examples are displayed in Figure D-3. This is usually the result of some specific aerodynamic or structural requirements. 7 . looking at the airplane in Figure D-3. This section presents a method to treat such wings. the figure suggests the sweep of the two inboard (or left) panels will contribute more significantly to the equivalent quarter chord sweep than the two outboard ones. which could be the right wing of some aircraft (assuming we are looking from above). Instead. such as the USAF DATCOM.

and similar properties should never be calculated for the simplified shape – the simplified shape is purely for geometric comparison. and Aspect Ratio. In order for the simplified trapezoidal planform to be considered geometrically equivalent to the original wing planform we want it to be of an equal span.stall characteristics. drag. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. Also note that the two wing planforms are placed such that their mid-chord points at the root are identical (green point in Figure D4). D. which are based on a wing break-down as shown in Figure D-4. The requirement for equivalent Aspect Ratio follows from these two requirements since it is defined as AR = b²/S for each wing. Figure D-4: Presenting the equivalent wing. respectively. Wing span: Root chord: bE  bO (D-9) C RE  K  CWR GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN 2  SW N 1 c  S i i (D-10) i 1 APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. Mathematically we write it as follows: bE  bO S E  SO AR E  ARO Where the subscripts E and O stand for “Equivalent” for “Original”. Inc. planform area. 8 .1 Geometry of the Equivalent Wing The dimensions of the equivalent wing can be computed from the following expressions.3.

 S N   2 i 1  c  ci 1  yi  i  2   N 1  y c  c i i i 1  (iii) i 1 Note that by definition the half-span area of the equivalent wing must be equal to this value.CTE  K  CWT Tip chord:  LEE Leading edge sweep: N 1 c 2  SW   S i (D-11) (D-12) i i 1 tan  C / 4 E  tan  LEE  Taper ratio: E  K  Si N 1 2  SO Quarter chord sweep: Where.. GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier.. Inc.. Then next thing we must do is to define the so-called Weighted Root and Tip chords. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. i 1 i 1 C RE  E  1 2b (D-13) CTE C RE (D-14) SO SW b SW  O SO (D-15)  N 1  ci  S i    i 1 2 SO CWR  2 SO CWT   N 1  i 1  ci 1  S i    (D-16) N 1 c  S i i (D-17)  Si (D-18) i 1 N 1 c i 1 i 1 DERIVATION: Consider the cranked half wing planform shape in Figure D-4. We can define the geometry of each panel as follows:  c  ci 1  S i  yi  i   2  Elemental area: Area of the half-span: S half  SO  S1  S 2  .  S N  2 (i) N 1  y  i i 1 ci  ci 1   2  (ii) Therefore we can write the area of the original wing as follows: N 1  S O  2S1  S 2  . 9 .. which is the contribution of each individual chord to the root and tip chord of the equivalent wing.

we must introduce a special scaling factor. K can also be written as: K SO SO 2S O   SW bO  CWR  CWT  bO  CWR  CWT  2 GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN (x) APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. then so is the requirement for the AR. Similarly. ….From Figure D-4 we can see that the Elemental Root Chords that comprise the weighted root chord are c1. 10 . cN. cN1.  K SO SW (ix) SO = Original wing area and SW = Weighted wing area of both wing halfs (complete wing). c3. K. such that: S E  K  SW  K  bO  CWR  CWT   SO 2 (vii) Therefore. can be found from: S E  K  SW  S O Where. the Elemental Tip Chords that comprise the weighted tip chord are c 2. Therefore. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. would fails to provide matching S and AR. the equivalent chords are given by: C RE  K  CWR and CTE  K  CWT (viii) Note that once the requirement for the S is met. K. Inc. c2. The scaling factor. the weighted tip chord can be determined as follows: CWT  1 S half N 1  i 1 2 ci 1  S i  SO N 1 c i 1 i 1 Let’s define a weighted wing area for the entire wing:  C  CWT SW  bO  WR 2   bO  CWR  CWT   2  (v) An explicit form of Equation (v) is: N 1 bO  CWR  CWT  bO  SW   ci  S i  2 S O  i 1  N 1  i 1  ci 1  S i    (vi) Using these to calculate the root and tip chords of the equivalent wing will not necessarily give the true values and. Therefore. consequently. the weighted root chord can be defined as follows: CWR  1 S half N 1  ci  S i  i 1 2 SO N 1 c  S i i (iv)  Si (iv) i 1 Similarly. ….

Therefore.5 ft² Area of the full-span wing: SO  2S half  61. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.25 ft² Figure D-5: The wing used in Example D-3. SOLUTION: Begin by calculating the elemental areas of the wing and then the wing area: c c  53 S1  y1  1 2   2.5   10 ft²  2   2  S 2  13. we can compute the equivalent root and tip chords as follows: C RE  K  CWR Similarly. Inc. 11 . Area of the half-span wing: Shalf  S1  S 2  S3  S 4  30.5 ft² S 4  2.0 ft² Wing span of full-span wing: bO  211  22 ft GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. S   O  SW  2    S O CTE  K  CWT  N 1  2 SW i 1  2 ci  S i    SW  N 1 c  S i i (D-10) i 1 N 1 c i 1  Si (D-11) i 1 The leading edge angle for the equivalent wing is defined as the weighted LE angle as follows:  LEE  1 S half N 1  i 1 2  i  Si  SO N 1   S i i (D-12) i 1 The quarter chord angle for the equivalent wing can be found by applying Equation (D-9) in the form for the equivalent wing: tan  C / 4 E  tan  LEE  Where: E  C RE  E  1 2b CTE C RE (D-13) (D-14) QED EXAMPLE D-3: Evaluate the properties of the wing in Figure D-5.75 ft² S 3  4.

297  S E  bE  RE   22   61.0 GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier.75  2.86 We can confirm that the equivalent wing has the same area and AR as the original wing. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. 12 .5  4.ARO  AR of the full-span wing: bO2 222   7.5  2  2.25  2  3.249 ft 65.0 ft² 2 2     AR E  bE2 222   7.249  2.75  2. Inc.86 Equivalent root and tip chords: C RE 2  SW CTE  2 SW N 1 c  S i i i 1  2 10  5  13.86 ft 2 Then calculate K from Equation (D-15): K SO 61.75  3  4.0 Begin by calculating SW using Equation (D-16): SW  bO SO     N 1  N 1 ci  S i  i 1  i 1  22 10  5  13.25  1  65.0   0.297 ft 65.5  2.5  2  2.5  2.  C  CTE   3.5  2.86 N 1 c i 1  Si  i 1 2 10  3  13.5  4.934  AR E SO 61.0  10  3  13.25  1  2.75  3  4.9261 SW 65.5  2.25  2   ci 1  S i    61.934 SE 61.

so dM = y∙c(y)∙dy. This will become clear shortly.4. The method uses the product of the value of the “factor-of-interest” and the chord (as it varies along the span) to evaluate its “weight” of contribution to the overall property being evaluated.of .1 Geometric Description Consider the wing planform in Figure D-7. such as the MGC.4 Generalized Wing Planform (Advanced) Some airplanes. using even the equivalent wing method. provided the leading and trailing edges can be described as continuous mathematical functions. called an elemental weighing factor: dM  factor . Then we define the following properties: Planform chord: c( y )  f ( y )  g ( y ) (D-19) Elemental area: dS  c y dy (D-20) We also want to define a special parameter. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.D.interest  c y dy (D-21) This factor is to be used to estimate a number of characteristics for the wing planform. Let’s say we are interested in knowing the average chord of the planform shown and how far from the plane of symmetry it is. Inc. In the former case the “factor-of-interest” is c(y). in order to get the actual average chord and its y-location. To better understand what this means consider Figure D-7 again. Then. f(y) and g(y). and the vertical lines at y = 0 and y = b/2. such as the Anglo-French Concorde (Figure D-6) and the American General Dynamics F-16 “Cranked Arrow” feature wing planform shapes that are far more challenging to analyze. In fact. and its location. Figure D-6: A planform resembling the Anglo-French Concorde jetliner. 13 . leading to dM = c(y)²∙dy and in the latter case the “factor-of-interest” is y. It is enclosed between the two continuous curves. we have to integrate from y = 0 to b/2 and divide by the area itself. GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. it determines the “centroid” of the property of interest. and others. The methodology presented in this section allows the designer to evaluate the properties of such planforms. D. as will be shown shortly.

4.interest   c y dy  g  y   c y dy  g  y   c y dy (D-24) dM X C / 4  factor . as well as the ylocation (spanwise station): Weighted chord: dM CHORD  factor .of . Inc.of . the x-values of its LE.interest  c y dy  c y   c y dy  c y  dy 2 Weighted X-location of LE: Weighted X-location of TE: Weighted X-location of C/4: (D-22) dM X  LE  factor .and quarter chord location.of . 14 .2 Elemental Weighing Factors for the General Planform Below is the preliminary formulation of a number of important properties of wings.interest  c y dy GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN c y      f y   c y dy 4   c y      f y    c y dy 4   (D-25) APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier.Figure D-7: A general wing planform (note the inverted coordinate system). The first five are used to determine Mean Geometric Chord. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.of .and TE. D.interest  c y dy   f  y   c y dy  f  y   c y dy (D-23) dM X TE  factor .

of .3 Properties of the General Planform Using the concept of elemental weighing factors we can now develop formulation for the general wing planform shown in Figure D-7. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.interest  c y dy  y c y dy  y  c y dy Weighted Y-location of chord: (D-26) The next two formulations are used to determine the “average” sweep angles of the LE and the quarter-chord: dM  LE  factor .interest   c y dy Weighted slope of LE sweep:   f '  y   c y dy  f '  y   c y dy (D-27) dM C / 4  factor . the area of the planform is given by: b/2 S half  c y dy Planform area: 0 S  2  Shalf Symmetric surface area: (D-30) D.4. Inc. Mean Geometric Chord (MGC): MGC  1 S half  b/2 dM CHORD  0 1 S half  b/2 c y  dy  2 0 2 S  b/2 c y  dy 2 (D-31) 0 X-location of LE of the MGC: x MGC  LE  1 S half  b/2 dM X  LE  0 1 S half  b/2 f  y   c y dy  0 2 S  f  y   c y dy (D-32) 2 S  g  y   c y dy (D-33) b/2 0 X-location of TE of the MGC: x MGC TE  1 S half  b/2 0 dM X TE  1 S half GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN  b/2 0 g  y   c y dy  b/2 0 APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. 15 .of .of .interest  c y dy Weighted slope of C/4 sweep: d  c y       f y    c y dy 4   dy  (D-28)  (D-29) Finally.dM Y  factor .

its result must match for this the simplest case. Inc. 16 . SOLUTION: The geometry is conveniently selected to allow us to compare the methodology to the already existing formulation. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. Compare the MGC to that using the “standard” formulation of Section D.X-location of C/4 of the MGC: xMGCC / 4  1 S half  b/2 1 dM X C / 4  S half 0  b/2 0 c y   2   f  y   4   c y dy  S  b/2 0 c y     f  y   4   c y dy (D-34) Y-location of MGC: yMGC   b/2 1 S half dM Y  0  y c y dy 2  y  c y dy b/ 2 1 S half 0 b/2 S (D-35) 0 Slope of LE at MGC:  MGCLE   b/2 1 S half 0 dM  LE   f '  y   c y dy 2  f '  y   c y dy 1  b/2 1 S half 0 b/2 S (D-36) 0 Slope of C/4 at MGC:  MGCC / 4  1 S half  b/2 0 dM C / 4  S half b/2 0 d  c y   dy  f  y   4        c y dy  (D-37) EXAMPLE D-4: Planform Geometry Determine the geometric properties for the simple trapezoidal wing planform shape below using the method developed so far. as clearly. Figure D-8: The wing used in Example D-4.1. GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier.

Inc.5  15 ft² Symmetric surface area: Mean Geometric Chord (MGC): 2 MGC  S 2  15 X-location of LE: X-location of TE: 2  c y  dy  b/2 0  5 0 2 15  5 0 2 y  2   dy 5  5  4y y2  2 2y2 y3  4    dy  4 y     1. Now.556 ft 5  b/2 0 GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. determine the properties using the method of this section: S half Planform area: 5  y y2    c y dy   2  dy  2 y    7. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. 17 .556 ft 5 25  15  5 75  0  x MGC  LE  x MGC TE  2 S  2 S  g  y   c y dy  0 b/2 f  y   c y dy  0 2 15  5 0 2 y  2   dy  1.222 ft 32  1  1 MGC  2  2.S half  “Standard” Solution: yc  1 2  1  5  7.5 ft² 5 10  0 0 0     b/2 5 S  2  7.5556 ft 5 Figure D-9: Graphical representation of the solution.222  1.5 ft² 2 53  1  1  2.

i.222 ft 5  15  15  0  As a “Sanity check” consider that if the above value is correct. Figure D-10: The wing used in Example D-4.222/5=1. c(2.167 ft 15 0  5  4   5 4 15 0  5  5   b/2 5   Y-location of MGC: y MGC 2  S  b/2 2 y  c y dy  15 0  5 0 y 2  y  2  dy  5 15   5 0 5  y2  2 y3  2 y  dy   y 2    2. Inc.X-location of C/4:  y    2    2 c y   2 y y 5     2     x MGC C / 4  f y   c y dy   2  dy   S 0  4  15 0   5 4   5     5 5 2  y  1   y 3 2  y  y  2  1    2  dy   2    2  dy  1.31 EXAMPLE D-4: Planform Geometry A small airplane has a 20 ft wing span (b) and a planform enclosed between a leading edge described by the function f and trailing edge g. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.e.556 ft! Slope of LE at MGC:  MGC  LE  2 S  b/2 f '  y   c y dy  0 5  MGC  LE   2 15  1  y    5   2  5 dy 5 0 2  y2  2 y     0.2 75  10  0  11. given by the following functions:  4y  f  y   cos   5b   2y  g  y    sin    b  Determine the planform area and MGC of this wing. SOLUTION: We begin by defining the planform chord along the span of the wing:  4y   2y  c( y)  f ( y)  g ( y)  cos   sin   5b   b  This allows us to determine the planform area (note the factor of 2 two account for both wing halfs): GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. then MGC can also be calculated from c(y).222)=2-2. 18 .

87 ft²  Mean Geometric Chord (MGC). GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. Inc.09  1. 19 .378  1  0  1  27.87 21. Note that the closed form solution is omitted due to complexity and only the numerical result is presented: 2 MGC  S  b/2 2 c y  dy  S 0 2  5 0 2   4y   2y   2  cos 5b   sin b  dy   27.513 ft        Other characteristics of this wing can be determined in a similar fashion. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. b/2 S  2 c y dy  2 0  b/2 0   4y   2y  cos 5b   sin  b  dy      b/2 b/2   4y    2y    4y   2y    sin  5b  cos b    5b sin  5b  b cos b        2      2  2 4 2  4        5b b 0  0 b/2 10 b  5  4y  20  5  4y   2y   2y    sin  sin    cos     cos     2  5b    2  100   b  0  20  0  20  5  410   210    5    cos     sin 0   cos 0  sin    2  100   20    2   20 2.

5. In this section we will derive some well known standard expressions used with the simple trapezoidal planform in Section D.2 Spanwise Location of the MGC The spanwise location of the Mean Geometric Chord for the trapezoidal planform is determined using the familiar expression: GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier.D.1 Parametric Chord Function Parametric Representation of c(y) for a simple tapered wing planform:  2y 1    c( y)  C r 1  b   (D-38) DERIVATION: y    y   2y   2y  c ( y )  C r 1    Ct    C r 1    C r   b   b/2 b/2   b   2 y   2 y   2y  2 y   2y 1     C r 1      C r 1       C r 1  b   b  b b  b      Checks to confirm that the boundary conditions are satisfied:  20 1     Cr if y  0  c(0)  Cr 1  b   b  2b / 2 1     Cr 1  1    Ct if y   c(b / 2)  Cr 1  2 b   QED D.5 Derivation of Some Standard Formulas The methodology of Section D. assuming the dimensions in Figure D-11. 20 . D.4 is ideal to derive formulation for some “standard” planform shapes.5.1. Figure D-11: A general trapezoidal wing planform. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher. Inc.

y MGC  b 1  2  6 1    (D-39) DERIVATION: S half  Area: Cr 1    b  bCr 1    2 2 4 Y-location of MGC: y MGC  1 S half C  r S half  b/2 y  c y dy  0  b/2 0 1 S half  b/2 0  2y 1    dy y C r 1  b   b/2 3    2  2y2  y  1    dy  C r  y  2 y 1    b S half  2 3b   0 b/2  y2 2y3  1       bC r 0 1     2 3b 4 Cr Inserting the margins yields: y MGC  2 3  4  b / 2  2b / 2  1      b1     2 3b    4  b 2 2b 3 1      b1     8 24b   b 1 1   1    1     2 3   1    b  1 1    1  1     1     2 1    3 1      b 1  31    2 1  2  y MGC    1    1     6 6  b 1  3  22 b 1  2    1    61    6 1      QED D.5. Inc. 21 .3 Derivation of MGC The Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MGC) is computed from: 2C r 1    2 MGC  3 1    GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN (D-40) APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.

This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.DERIVATION: Area: MGC: S half  MGC     Cr 1    b  bCr 1    2 2 4 S half  c y  dy  S  C r2 S half  b/2 C r2 S half  b/2 b/2 1 1 2 0 half 0 0 b/2 0 2   2y 1     dy  C r 1  b    2  2y 1    dy 1  b   2  4y  1  1     4 y2 1   2  dy b b   C r2 bC r 1    4  b/2 0 2  4y  1  1     4 y2 1   2  dy b b   b/2  4C r  2y2 4 y3   1   2   y  1     2 b1     b 3b 0   4C r  b 2b 2 4b 3   1   2   1     2 b1     2 4b 24b   2C r 2C r 1    2 1    2  31    3 1      QED LIST OF VARIABLES Symbol AR ARE ARO b bE bO c(y) Cavg ci Cr CRE Ct CTE CWR CWT dM dMFOI Description Aspect Ratio Aspect Ratio of an equivalent wing Aspect Ratio of a baseline wing used in equivalent wing analysis Wing span Wing span of an equivalent wing Wing span of a baseline wing used in equivalent wing analysis An arbitrary function describing the chord of the planform Average chord Chord index for equivalent wing analysis Chord at root Chord at root of an equivalent wing Chord at tip Chord at tip of an equivalent wing Weighted chord at root Weighted chord at tip Elemental weighing factor Elemental weighing Factor-of-Interest (context dependent) GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN Units (UK and SI) ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m Various units Various units APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. 22 . Inc.

xMGC xMGC-C/4 xMGC-LE xMGC-TE yi YMGC. 23 .dS f(y) g(y) K LE MAC MGC N S SE SE Shalf Si SO SW TE XMGC. Inc. yMGC Infinitesimal area An arbitrary function describing the geometry of the LE An arbitrary function describing the geometry of the TE Scaling factor for equivalent wing analysis Leading Edge Mean Aerodynamic Chord Mean Geometric Chord Total number of individual chords in equivalent wing analysis Wing area Wing area of an equivalent wing Wing area of an equivalent wing Area of a one-half of a wing (either left or right half) Area index for equivalent wing analysis Wing area of a baseline wing used in equivalent wing analysis Weighted wing area Trailing Edge Chordwise distance from root chord to the LE of MGC X-location of the quarter chord of the MGC X-location of the LE of the MGC X-location of the TE of the MGC Indexed span of elemental area Si Spanwise distance from root chord to the LE of MGC ft² or m² ft or m ft or m W C/4 C/4 E i LE LE E MGC-C/4 MGC-LE ZL-R ZL-T  E O Dihedral Quarter chord sweep angle Quarter chord sweep angle for an equivalent wing Quarter chord sweep angle index for equivalent wing analysis Leading Edge sweep angle Leading Edge sweep angle for an equivalent wing Quarter chord sweep angle at the MGC LE sweep angle at the MGC Zero-Lift angle at root Zero-Lift angle at tip Taper ratio Taper ratio for an equivalent wing Taper ratio for an equivalent wing Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians Degrees or radians GUDMUNDSSON – GENERAL AVIATION AIRCRAFT DESIGN ft or m ft or m ft² or m² ft² or m² ft² or m² ft² or m² ft² or m² ft² or m² ft² or m² ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m ft or m APPENDIX D – GEOMETRY OF LIFTING SURFACES ©2013 Elsevier. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission from the Publisher.