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# Lift, Drag and Straight-Level Flight

Dr. M. Turner

Spring Semester
Aims of Lecture
Part 1

## 1. To introduce simple expressions for lift and drag

2. To introduce lift and drag coefficients
3. To derive simple expressions for aircraft speed in straight-level flight

Part 2

## To illustrate the above with examples

Before anything else: some crucial equations
Lift on a wing (body) Drag on a wing (body)

1 1
L= ρSCL V 2 D= ρSCD V 2
2 2

## ρ air density kg /m3

V (True) Airspeed m/s
S wing area m2

## Extensive use made of the above in the course!

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
L 1 2
CL = 1 2 L= ρV SCL
2 ρV S 2

L Lift (Newtons)
ρ air density (kg /m3 )
V (true) velocity of aircraft (m/s)
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, α
◮ α is the angle of incidence to the on-coming airstream.
CL CL

STALL
lift coefficient
decreases
Increase in incidence after critical Increase in incidence STALL
gives increase in lift angle reached gives increase in lift Stall point
coefficient in coefficient in higher than
linear region linear region
on symmetric
wing

α α

## zero incidence gives zero incidence gives

zero lift postive lift

## CL -α graph: symmetric wing CL -α graph: non-symmetric wing

◮ At stall point, lift coefficient is maximum: CL = CL,max
◮ For small α (in linear region):

∂CL
CL = CL0 + α
∂α
Lift coefficient CL
Comparison of CL,max at take off for different aircraft
◮ CL,max typically corresponds to ≈ 16◦ α

## Concorde Delta, no flaps ≈ 0.8

SAAB Viggen Delta-Canard ≈ 1.2
F16 ≈ 1.3
P51-Mustang WW2 Fighter-Bomber ≈ 1.4
Boeing 747 ≈ 2.5

## SAAB Viggen - Delta-Canard Fighter

Drag
◮ Drag impedes motion of aircraft
◮ Contributed by wings, body, tailplane, engines...
◮ We consider a “lumped” drag model:
D = Dwing + Dbody + Dtail + . . .
D 1 2
CD = 1 2 D= ρV SCD
2 ρV S 2

## ◮ Alternatively drag can be expressed as

CL2
CD = CD0 + (e efficiency factor = constant)
πeA
= CD0 + ǫCL2

## ◮ CD0 responsible for parasitic drag (form drag)

◮ ǫCL2 responsible for lift induced (or simply induced) drag
Drag variation with speed
“Lumped” model of drag is given by
1 2
D= ρV SCD
2
Approximately:
CD = CD0 + ǫCL2 CD0 , ǫ const
Thus
1 2 1 1
D = ρV S(CD0 + ǫCL2 ) = ρV 2 SCD0 + ρV 2 SǫCL2
2 2 2
Using expression for CL then gives
!2
1 2 1 L
D = ρV CD0 S + ρV 2 Sǫ 1
2 2 2
2 ρV S
1 2 ǫL2
= ρV CD0 S + 1
|2 {z }
2
2 ρV S
| {z }
no lift drag
lift dependent drag
Drag variation with speed

AIRCRAFT
DRAG

TOTAL DRAG

NO−LIFT
DRAG

## LIFT DEPENDENT DRAG

AIRSPEED
VS VMD
Plot is shown for a height corresponding to a certain air density ρ
Drag polar
◮ Drag coefficient is a function of lift coefficient

CD = CD0 + ǫCL2
◮ Lift coeeficient is a function of α

CL = CL0 + CLα α
◮ “Drag polar” plots lift and drag coefficient as functions of α

## Drag polar - lift and drag coefficients as functions of α

Point-mass approximation of aircraft performance
Straight and level flight
L
V

D T

mg

## Approximating aircraft as point-mass gives V horizontal velocity

T thrust
dV
m = T −D D drag
dt m aircraft mass
d 2z L lift
m 2 = L − mg
dt

## Thus for constant height and constant forward velocity, V , we have

T = D (1)
L = mg (2)
Velocity in straight-and-level flight
Lift is given by
1 2
L= ρV SCL
2
Using equation (2), this means

1
CL ρV 2 S = mg
2
2mg
V2 =
ρCL S
s
2mg
V =
ρCL S

−1/2
V ∝ CL
Stall speed

## ◮ Recall: beyond critical value of α, CL decreases (typically ≈ 15o )

◮ Maximum value of CL is therefore

## CL,max = CL0 + CLα αs αs

−1/2
◮ Because V ∝ CL , this defines a minimum airspeed....
◮ Stall speed: the lowest speed at which the aircraft can maintain