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# Lift, Drag and Straight-Level Flight

Dr. M. Turner

Spring Semester

## Before anything else: some crucial equations

Drag on a wing (body)

## Lift on a wing (body)

L=

1
SCL V 2
2

D=

1
SCD V 2
2

Drag coefficient:

Lift coefficient:

CD = CD0 + CL2

CL = CL0 + CL

V
S

air density
(True) Airspeed
wing area

kg /m3
m/s
m2

Lift

## Lift makes aircraft fly

Primarily generated by the wings
We consider a lumped lift model: L = Lwing + Lbody + Ltail + . . .
In principle can calculate lift using wing geometry etc....
...Often convenient to characterize lift in a simpler, experimental
way, using lift coefficient, CL
CL =

L
1
2
2 V S

V
S

L=

1 2
V SCL
2

Lift (Newtons)
air density (kg /m3 )
(true) velocity of aircraft (m/s)
total wing area (m2 )

## CL can be considered as the normalised lift: often preferred

Lift coefficient CL

## CL depends on several different factors (Mach number) but one of

the most important is the angle of attack,
is the angle of incidence to the on-coming airstream.
CL

CL

STALL

Increase in incidence
gives increase in lift
coefficient in
linear region

lift coefficient
decreases
after critical
angle reached

Increase in incidence
gives increase in lift
coefficient in
linear region

STALL
Stall point
higher than
on symmetric
wing

postive lift

zero lift

## CL - graph: non-symmetric wing

CL - graph: symmetric wing
At stall point, lift coefficient is maximum: CL = CL,max
For small (in linear region):
CL = CL0 +

CL

Lift coefficient CL
Comparison of CL,max at take off for different aircraft
CL,max typically corresponds to 16
Concorde
SAAB Viggen
F16
P51-Mustang
Boeing 747

Delta, no flaps
Delta-Canard
WW2 Fighter-Bomber

0.8
1.2
1.3
1.4
2.5

Drag

## Drag impedes motion of aircraft

Contributed by wings, body, tailplane, engines...
We consider a lumped drag model:
D = Dwing + Dbody + Dtail + . . .
CD =

D=

1 2
V SCD
2

CD

D
1
2
2 V S

CL2
eA
= CD0 + CL2
= CD0 +

(e

## CD0 responsible for parasitic drag (form drag)

CL2 responsible for lift induced (or simply induced) drag

## Drag variation with speed

Lumped model of drag is given by
D=

1 2
V SCD
2

Approximately:
CD = CD0 + CL2

CD0 , const

Thus
D

1 2
1
1
V S(CD0 + CL2 ) = V 2 SCD0 + V 2 SCL2
2
2
2

D

=
=

1
1 2
V CD0 S + V 2 S
2
2
1 2
V CD0 S
|2 {z }

no lift drag

L
1
2
2 V S

!2

L2
1
2
2 V S

| {z }

AIRCRAFT
DRAG
TOTAL DRAG

NOLIFT
DRAG

VS

VMD

AIRSPEED

## Point-mass approximation of aircraft performance

Straight and level flight
L
V

mg

## Approximating aircraft as point-mass gives

dV
dt
d 2z
m 2
dt
m

T D

L mg

V
T
D
m
L

horizontal velocity
thrust
drag
aircraft mass
lift

T
L

=
=

D
mg

(1)
(2)

Lift is given by
L=

1 2
V SCL
2

1
CL V 2 S
2
V2
V

= mg
2mg
CL S
s
2mg
=
CL S
=

## As , m, S (and obviously g !) are constant in straight-level flight

1/2

V CL

Stall speed: the lowest speed at which the aircraft can maintain steady
flight
r
mg
Vs =
CL,max S