AIRCRAFT BASICS

3.1 INTRODUCTION

Figure 3.1: Airplane.

3.1.1 What Is Aeronautics?
Aeronautics is typically defined as the art or science of flight, or the science of operating aircraft. This includes a branch of aeronautics called aerodynamics. Aerodynamics deals with the motion of air and the way it interacts with objects in motion, such as an aircraft. Both of these branches are a part of the tree of physical science. Aviation, however, refers to the operation of heavier-than-air craft.

3.1.2 How Did Aeronautics Begin?
The theoretical basis for these branches stems from the work of Sir Isaac Newton in the 1600s. Newton developed laws that defined the effects of forces acting on objects in motion or at rest. He also developed the concept of viscosity, or fluid friction, which is the resistance of air or any other fluid to flow. Daniel Bernoulli, in the 1700s, developed the principle that the speed of a fluid is directly related to pressure. That is, the faster the flow of a fluid, the lower the pressure that is exerted on the surface it is flowing over. For example, if air is flowing faster over the top of a surface than under a surface, the pressure on the top of the surface will be less than that underneath. Understanding of these concepts was necessary to the development of flight. Without understanding the aerodynamic principles of flight, humans would simply be mimicking the actions of birds. It was demonstrated through many spectacular yet often disastrous attempts, that pure imitation would not enable humans to fly.

3.1.3 What Is An Airplane?
What is the difference between aircraft and airplane? Aircraft is the more general term, and refers to any heavier-than-air craft that is supported by its own buoyancy or by the action of

The Space Shuttle is definitely an aircraft.3.e.1 Fuselage The main body structure is the fuselage to which all other components are attached as shown in Fig. wings) to generate lift as shown in Fig. [8] 3. Helicopters are also aircraft that are not airplanes because their aerodynamic surfaces are not fixed . We usually think of a streamlined car as being sleek and compact . tapered body so that the air can flow smoothly around it. For airplanes carrying passengers.they rotate. The primary loads on the fuselage include large concentrated forces from wing reactions. the fuselage must also withstand internal pressures. The fuselage contains the cockpit or flight deck.2.2: Aircraft structure.2 AIRCRAFT STRUCTURES Figure 3. An airplane is a heavier-than-air craft that is propelled by an engine and uses fixed aerodynamic surfaces (i. the fuselage also produces a little lift. Because of internal . which is subjected to large distributed air loads. but not every aircraft is an airplane! Gliders are aircraft that are not airplanes.3.1. A streamlined fuselage has the same attributes. a fuselage is streamlined to decrease the drag.air on its structures. It does not carry engines for propulsion.2. the fuselage is subjected to relatively small air loads. While wings produce most of the lift. but it is not an airplane. It has a sharp or rounded nose with sleek. passenger compartment and cargo compartment. For this reason. A bulky fuselage can also produce a lot of drag. landing gear reactions and pay loads. Unlike the wing. every airplane is an aircraft. 3.So.it does not present a bulky obstacle to the oncoming wind.

3. It is cheaper and can be made lighter. the fuselage often has an efficient circular cross-section (as shown in Fig. However. These wings provide good lift at low speeds.4. the straight wing provides good.2 Wings The amount of lift produced by an airfoil depends upon many factors: • • • • • • Angle of attack The lift devices used (like flaps) The density of the air The area of the wing The shape of the wing The speed at which the wing is traveling The wings are the most important lift-producing part of the aircraft. The straight wing is found mostly on small. Since the wing is perpendicular to the airflow it has a tendency to create appreciable drag. Depending upon the aircraft type and its purpose. The fuselage skin carries the shear stresses produced by torques and transverse forces. low-speed airplanes. The speed of an airplane.2. delta and swing-wing as shown in Fig.3. General Aviation airplanes often have straight wings. but are not suited to high speeds. The fuselage structure is a semi-monologue construction consisting of a thin shell stiffened by longitudinal axial elements (stringers and Longerons) supported by many traverse frames are rings (Bulkheads) along the length. sweep (forward and back).3: Fuselage skin. stable flight. 3.3). There are four basic wing shapes that are used on modern airplanes: straight. too. Most airplanes are .pressures. Figure 3. all are very dependent on the shape of the wings. its maneuverability. its handling qualities. Wings vary in design t he shape of a wing greatly influences the performance of an airplane.

Because of the high sweep. however.4: Different types of wing. During cruise.many supersonic airplanes have delta wings. and that is weight. Sweep wings create less drag. High speed airplanes (like fighters) have greater sweep. The swing-wing design attempts to exploit the high lift characteristics of a primarily straight wing with the ability of the sweepback wing to enable high speeds. The high-sweep wing delays the formation of shock waves on the airplane as it nears the speed of sound. During landing and takeoff. This results in less drag while maintaining stability at lower speeds. The hinges that enable the wings to swing are very heavy The wing cross-section takes the shape of an airfoil. the landing speeds of airplanes with delta wings are very fast. The sweepback wing is the wing of choice for most high-speed airplanes made today. An airplane (like the X-29) is highly maneuverable. The forward-sweep wing is a wing design that has yet to make it into mass production. the wing swings into a sweepback position. A commercial airliner has a moderate sweep. A computerbased control system must be used in the X-29 to help the pilot fly. There is a price to pay with this design. airplanes with this wing can reach high speeds . but are somewhat more unstable at low speeds. Wings also carry the fuel for the airplane. The wing as a whole performs the combined function of a beam and . Figure 3.designed so that the outer tips of the wings are higher than where the wings are attached to the fuselage. They take off and descend for landing at a high rate of speed. which is designed based on aerodynamic considerations. The amount of sweep of the wing depends on the purpose of the airplane. the wing swings into an almost straight position. This upward angle is called the dihedral and helps keep the airplane from rolling unexpectedly during flight. but it is also highly unstable. This wing shape is found on the supersonic transport Concorde. These airplanes are not very stable at low speeds. A delta wing looks like a large triangle from above. Because of the high sweep.

vectors throughout the flight range identical with those of an actual wing or wings. For subsonic airplanes. Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MAC): the chord of an imaginary airfoil.5: Components of wings. Supersonic airfoils are relatively thin compared with subsonic airfoils. Some terminologies with respect to wing are listed below. It decides serving as load redistributes. Chord length: the chord length is the distance between the leading and trailing edges measured along the chord line. ribs also hold the skin stringer to the designed counter shape. and spars and stringers take the bending moment. The cover skin of the wing together with the spar webs forms an efficient torsion member. structures capable of carrying in-plane loads. bending members in spars and shear panels in the cover skin and webs of spars. They are placed chord wise along the wingspan.the torsion member. the skin is relatively thin and may be design to undergo post buckling. thicker skins are often necessary. Chord line: chord line is line joining the centers of curvature of leading and trailing edge. To with stand high surface air loads and to provide additional bending capability of the wing box structure. Ribs reduce the effective buckling length of the stringers (or the stringer-skin system) and thus increase their compressive load capability. which would have force. . aileron or rudder designed to obtain reaction from the air through which it moves. to increase structural efficiency. It consists of axial members in stringers. Thus. In addition. It is usually composed of a thin shear panel (the web) the heavy cap or flange at the top and bottom to take bending. stiffeners can be manufactured (either by forging or machining) as integral parts of the skin. Airfoil: any surface such as airplane wing. Figure 3. the thin skin can be assumed to make no contribution to bending of the wing box. The spar is a heavy beam running span wise Wing ribs are planer to take transverse shear loads and span wise bending.

3.8. Span: it is the distance measured from wing tip to the other wing tip in the plan. Inter-Spar rib: Rib between the adjacent spars. For fighter it is not practicable since long spar wing would not be stiff at very high speeds. Drag. It is a principle spanwise member of the wing structure of an aircraft.3 AIRCRAFT LOADS During flight the four forces acting on an aircraft are Lift. Weight and Thrust as shown in Fig.Aspect ratio: Aspect Ratio which is defined as Span / Chord or Span Square / Area is an important feature of the plan form as shown in Fig.6: Wing geometry. which extends to the full length of the wing. Figure 3. With high aspect ratio the induced drag is less. Nose rib: rib between front spar and the leading edge of the airfoil. 3.7: Wing rib. Spar: spar is a primary beam. A high aspect ratio (8 to 10) is often adopted for transport aircraft. . Other aerodynamic considerations also dictate the choice of a low aspect ratio (2 to 4) for high-speed aircraft. Figure 3.6. Rib: a light structure conforming to the shape of the airfoil over which the skin is attached and which transfers the air load to the spars.3.

Figure 3. Any deflection or interference with a smooth airflow around the airplane will cause drag. It is caused by the production of lift. Of course these observations are very simplified. 3. un-accelerated flight. In the true world of aerodynamics.2 Drag Drag is the retarding force (backwards force) that limits the aircraft's speed.3.3.3.3 Thrust . The lifting force is equal to the weight of the aircraft.8: Aircraft loads.3. the aircraft would begin to descend back to earth. Anytime the aircraft is producing lift. In straight-and-level. it is also producing drag as shown in Fig. 3.9. In this instance.9: Drag.1 Lift Lift is the upward force created by the airflow as it passes over the wings. the aircraft is in a state of equilibrium. it would continue to climb unless the weight of the aircraft was more than the lifting force. If the aircraft were to lose some of its lift. 3. then the aircraft would climb. all the forces are heavily dependent upon each other. and is opposite the weight force. therefore the aircraft does not climb or dive.Figure 3. This force is the key aerodynamic force. If the lifting force were greater than the weight.

Usually. As an airplane flies along. The weight of an airplane is not constant. It varies with the cargo on board. the fuel. and most importantly. It is caused by the downward pull of gravity on the aircraft's mass.Thrust is the forward force that "propels" the aircraft through the air as shown in Fig. the aircraft has a great tendency to move forward. passengers. . military cargo planes. The shape and angle-of-attack of the blades produces a low pressure region in front of the propeller and increased pressure behind it. it is getting lighter because it is burning of fuel. Going back to the Bernoulli Principle and Newton's Third Law of Motion.10. 3. the different type of equipment.3.10: Thrust. Each propeller blade is similar to a wing on an aircraft. it is provided by an engine that turns a propeller. Figure 3. Crop dusters.3. and sky diving planes also decrease their weight during flight by either losing their cargo or some passengers.4 Weight Weight is the opposing force to lift.

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