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Haithem E Taha hetaha@uci.


Summary of Lecture 1

Introduction and Revision to Basic Aerodynamics

1. What is Aerodynamics? What is Dynamics?

2. Flight Dynamics = Aerodynamics + Rigid Body Dynamics

3. Types of Studies: (i) Performance, (ii) Conventional Flight Dynamics (rigid body), (iii)
Dynamics of Flexible Aircraft.

4. Revision to Basic Aerodynamics:

(a) Two-Dimensional Classical Aerodynamics

i. Lift: Cℓ = Cℓ0 + Cℓα α. Cℓα , a0 = 2π for a flat plate and any zero-thickness
cambered airfoil. Cℓ0 = 0 for a symmetric airfoil and increases with camber (Cℓ0 =
4π hc for a circular arc with camber ratio hc ).
ii. Drag = pressure drag due to separation (zero for attached flow at small α) + skin
friction drag.
iii. Center of Pressure: Lift = lift due to camber (Cℓ0 ) + lift due to α. Apparently,
Cℓ0 is constant and acts at the half-chord point. The lift due to α varies linearly
with α (Cℓα α) and acts at the quarter-chord point. The resultant acts at the center
of pressure (CP), which lies between the half-chord and quarter-chord points. For
small α, Cℓ0 is the dominant and the CP is closer to the half-chord point and moves
forward as α increases.
iv. Neutral Point or Aerodynamic Center: Seeking a reference point that DOES NOT
CHANGE WITH α, the quarter-chord point is an appropriate choice because the
moment due to α vanishes at that point and it only remains the moment due to
camber, which is constant CMc/4 = CM0 = −Cℓ0 41 . That is the neutral point; the
point at which the moment is independent on α ( dC dα = 0). It lies at the quarter-

chord point for any cambered 2D arc. Thickness shifts it a little bit.
(b) Three-Dimensional Classical Aerodynamics
2 ∫ b/2
i. Geometry: Aspect Ratio AR = bS , Wing area S = 2 0 c( y)dy, Mean Aerodynamic
∫ b/2
Chord (MAC) c = S2 0 c2 (y)dy, because 2D aerodynamic loads are proportional
to cdS = c2 dy.
[ ]
ii. For trapezoidal wings: Taper Ratio λ = ccrt , c(y) = cr 1 + (λ − 1) b/2 , S = bcr λ+1
2 ,
c 2
cr = 23 1+λ+λ x 1+2λ 1−λ
1+λ , cr = 12 AR tan ΛLE , AR tan ΛLE = AR tan Λn + 4n 1+λ . Please see
attached Appendix C in Etkin [1].
iii. Lift: a decrease in CLα because of the tip vortices effects. Lifting Line Theory (LLT)
says that CLα 3D = 1+aa00/πAR , for elliptic load distribution, where a0 is the 2D lift
curve slope (theoretically 2π for a zero thickness airfoil). A more exact fromula
comes from the Extended Lifting Line Theory (ELLT) CLα 3D = 1+√ 1+κ2
, κ = πAR
a0 .
iv. Induced Drag (drag due to lift): LLT says that CDi = πAR , for elliptic load distri-

Haithem E Taha

v. Pitching Moment: Similar to 2D airfoils, the 3D pitching moment coefficient for a

wing at the aerodynamic center is independent on α. The aerodynamic center lies
at or close to the quarter-chord point of the MAC.
vi. Wing Loads: (i) Lift: L = 12 ρV 2 SCL where CL = CL0 + CLα α, (ii) Drag: D =
1 2 C2
2 ρV SCD where CD = CL0 + πALR or more generally CD = CD0 + kCL2 (Drag Polar),
and (iii) Pitching Moment: Mac = 12 ρV 2 ScCMac where CMac = constant.


[1] Bernard Etkin and Lloyd Duff Reid. Dynamics of flight: stability and control, volume 3. Wiley
New York, 1996.