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Review Questions of AE31007

1. Overview
1.1. Introduction

What do you mean by Mechanics?

What performance criteria of aircraft had been the main driving factors behind all
innovations in the last century?
Draw the speed and altitude profiles of airplanes against time (i.e., with years).
Why did the monotonically increasing trends of speed and altitude reverse in later years?
What is the typical cruising speed of a commercial transport plane?
Why is it difficult to design a supersonic transport plane beyond Mach 2.2?
What are different types of military airplanes? Give examples of each type.

2. The Standard Atmosphere

2.1. Definition
8. What was the motivation behind developing the standard atmosphere?
9. How will you define the standard atmosphere?
10. What are different ways of studying or collecting data about the atmosphere?
2.2. Derivation

Define the temperature, pressure and density of a gas.

Define geometric, absolute and geopotential altitudes.
Derive the hydrostatic equation.
What is an ideal gas? How do you relate its pressure, temperature and density?
Write the Van Der Waals equation of state for a real gas. How does it to reduce to the
ideal gas law?
Draw the temperature profile of the standard atmosphere as a function of geopotential
altitude. Explain why the profile looks so.
Relate the geometric altitude to the geopotential altitude. Which one is greater in
Derive the pressure and density variation equations of the standard atmosphere.
Explain from the pressure and density equations how they vary with altitudes.
What is lapse rate?
What are pressure, temperature and density altitudes?
If you need to find the pressure, temperature and density corresponding to a geometric
altitude, for which there is no entry in the atmospheric table, how will you do that? State
the procedure with an example.

3. Aircraft Components
23. What are the different primary components of an aircraft?
24. Describe in brief the operating principles of different power plants (i.e., engines).
25. What are different possible locations of placing aircraft engines? State along with engine
26. Draw the thrust and power vs. speed profiles of piston engine and jet engine aircraft with
different altitudes.


What type of engine is usually used in general aviation aircraft?

What types of aircraft come under the category of general aviation aircraft?
What are different types of wing shapes (planforms) when viewed from top?
What are the different ways of placing the wings with respect to the fuselage (i.e.,
depending on how they are connected to the fuselage when viewed from front)?
Explain why military transport aircraft have high wings whereas passenger jets have low
How do different control surfaces work?
What is a V-tail design? What is the motivation for designing a V-tail?
What is the function of the landing gear assembly (or undercarriage)?
What are different configurations of the landing gear?
Where is the engine typically placed in fighter aircraft and why? Why do the transport
aircraft not place engines like the military fighter aircraft?
Explain how the tails provide/improve stability of the airplane.

4. Basics of Aerodynamics
4.1. Wing parameters
38. What is an airfoil section? What is an airfoil?
39. Explain different parameters of an airfoil section?
40. Define the aspect ratio, wing planform area and mean aerodynamic chord. Derive their
mathematical expressions for rectangular, tapered and swept wings.
4.2. Lift, drag and pitching moments

Define angle of attack, flight path angle and pitch angle.

What are streamlines?
Derive the momentum equation (or Eulers equation). State the assumptions, if any.
State the continuity equation.
Explain how lift and drag are produced by an airfoil section?
Define Reynolds number and Mach number.
Why does the air act as a compressible fluid as Mach number increases? How does
compressibility increase lift at high subsonic speeds?

48. Derive

, where

is the free stream Mach number,

is the air density,

is the free stream speed.
What is a boundary layer? Why does it form near a surface?
Divide the flow field based on Mach number and Reynolds number.
Derive mathematical expressions of lift, drag and pitching moment coefficients using
dimensional analysis.
What is dynamic similarity and how it is useful?
Draw the variations of the lift coefficient with angle of attack, Reynolds number and
Mach number. Explain why the variations are so.
Explain why the lift coefficient starts decreasing after a certain angle of attack? What is
this phenomenon called?
What is stall angle of attack?
Explain how the stall angle of attack will change due to a positive camber from a
symmetrical airfoil.

57. What are different types of drag? How do they originate and vary with angle of attack,
Reynolds number and Mach number?
58. Explain how the lift curve slope is reduced because of the induced drag.
59. Draw the lift to drag ratio variation with angle of attack and explain why it looks like this.
60. Why is the zero-lift pitching moment coefficient zero for a symmetrical airfoil and
negative for a positively cambered airfoil?
61. Define centre of pressure and aerodynamic centre.
62. How will you locate the aerodynamic centre if you are given the lift coefficient and
pitching moment coefficient about a reference point?
63. How does the location of the centre of pressure vary with respect to the aerodynamic
centre as the lift coefficient increases?
64. Why is the concept of aerodynamic centre not valid if the lift and pitching moment
coefficients do not vary linearly with angle of attack?
65. What are high lift devices? Give some examples. Show graphically how they change the
lift coefficient against angle of attack and against drag coefficient.
66. Explain how the induced drag changes the lift curve slope and stall angle of attack.
67. Draw how the drag coefficient varies with Mach number. Explain why the graph looks
like this.
68. What are critical Mach number and drag divergence Mach number?
69. How can the induced drag be reduced? Explain in detail.
70. How can the wave drag be reduced?
71. Which flow (laminar or turbulent) has lower skin friction drag and lower pressure drag?
Justify your answer.
72. Draw the Cd vs. Cl curve. Explain how each component of the drag coefficient varies
with Cl.
73. How will you graphically find the maximum lift to drag ratio from the curve in (72)?
5. Aircraft Performance
5.1. Overview
74. Discuss in detail the assumptions made and mathematical models used in the context of
propulsive and aerodynamic characteristics for analysing aircraft performance.
75. Why does the drag polar (i.e. CD vs. CL curve) of a real plane have minimum CD at a
positive CL, not at zero CL?
76. Explain in detail different flight phases of a typical passenger jet. Also, mention which air
traffic controller interacts with the pilot/monitor the airplane at what phase.
77. Explain how the instrument landing system helps in landing an aircraft.
78. Derive the equations of motion of an aircraft in the vertical plane.
79. Define aerodynamic efficiency, load factor, non-dimensional thrust and velocity.
80. Using the non-dimensional quantities of (79) derive the equations of motion of a plane in
the vertical plane.
81. What are headwinds and tailwinds? How do they affect the ground distance covered by
an aircraft?
82. Derive the mathematical expression of the maximum lift to drag ratio. What are the
typical values of L/D for passenger jets?
83. Can the load factor be greater than, equal to or less than one? If yes, when?

5.2. Gliding phase




What do you mean by gliding?

What are different types of gliders?
What are different applications of gliding?
How can a glider be launched into the air?
Derive the equations of motion of a glider for a small glide angle (i.e., flight path angle
during gliding).
Derive the mathematical expression of maximum gliding range. At what flying
conditions (e.g. glide angle, speed, lift coefficient, sink rate, etc.) can the maximum range
be achieved?
What is glide ratio? State typical values of glide ratios for different gliders.
When will one want to achieve maximum range during gliding?
Derive the mathematical expression of maximum endurance. When can endurance be the
maximum (i.e., flight condition such as glide angle, speed, lift coefficient, sink rate, etc.)?
State some applications when endurance should be the maximum.
How can a glider gain altitude?
Suppose, two gliders experience a sinking airstream one flying with the lowest sink rate
and the other with the flattest glide. Which one will lose less altitude when exiting the
airstream? Why? Explain mathematically.
How will you graphically find the speed and drag for the maximum range and the speed
for the maximum endurance from a given power required vs. speed curve?
Which parameters will you change and how, if you want to design a glider for maximum
range and a glider for maximum endurance? Justify your answer.
What is a variometer?
How can a glider speed be changed?
What are the typical instruments used by a sailplane glider?

5.3. Level flight

101. When can you say that a plane is in steady level flight?
102. Draw the free body diagram of a plane in steady level flight.
103. Derive the operating conditions (i.e. CL, CD, V, etc.) for minimum drag and for minimum
power required.
104. How can you obtain Vmin and Vmax of a piston engine and a jet engine aircraft for steady
level flight at a given altitude? How do they vary with altitudes?
105. Define stall speed. How does it vary with altitudes?
106. Define absolute ceiling.
107. Show that drag is minimum at the absolute ceiling.
108. Where is the centre of pressure located in steady level flight?
109. How does the pilot change speed in level flight keeping the altitude the same?
110. Look at all numerical examples in Chapters 2, 3, 4, 5 and 6 (up to steady level and
gliding flights) of Andersons book.
111. See all numerical examples in Chapters 1 and 2 (up to gliding and steady level flights) of
Pamadis book.
6. Numerical Problems
112. Chapter 5 of Andersons book: 5.6, 5.8, 5.21, 5.23, 5.26, 5.30


Chapter 1 of Pamadis book: 1.2, 1.3, 1.4

Chapter 3 of David G. Hulls book: 3.6
Chapter 6 of Andersons book: 6.1, 6.2, 6.3, 6.4
Chapter 2 of Pamadis book: 2.1, 2.2, 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 (Note: in Pamadis book answers
to the problems are given, but sometimes they may not exactly match your answers).