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Design Parameters Flight Characteristic Airspeed Roll Rate Stall Stability Lift Capability Lift/Drag Ratio Aerobatics Airfoil Wing Loading Aspect Ratio Dihedral Washout Aileron (Area/Style)

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How to Calculate Wing Loading

In this example, we will use an aircraft weighing 5-1/2 lbs (5 lbs 8 oz.) with 600 square inches of wing area. Calculating the wing loading requires that the wing area be converted to square feet (ft2) and pounds to ounces. 1) Convert the area to square feet. There are 144 (12 x 12) square inches in a square foot. 600 in 2 144 = 4.17 ft 2 2) Convert the total empty weight (ready-to-fly with no fuel) to ounces. There are 16 ounces in a pound. 5.5 lbs x 16 = 88 oz. 3) Divide the weight by the area: 88 oz. 4.17 ft2 = 21.1 oz./ft2

To Calculate the Aspect Ratio

There are two ways to calculate the Aspect Ratio of a flight surface.

Method 1
Divide the wing span by the average wing chord. For example, if the root chord is 12" and the tip chord is 8", then the average chord is 10" assuming a straight tapered wing.

Let's say the wing span is 50". Divide the span by the average chord to determine the aspect ratio: 50" 10" = 5:1 aspect ratio

Method 2
Square the wing span and divide by the wing area. This is helpful for wings where determining the average chord would be difficult such as elliptical wings. 50 2 500 = 2500 500 = 5:1 aspect ratio You can also trace this information backwards to find the average chord of a wing. Simply divide the wing area by the wing span. 500 50 = 10" average chord Wing Area is not included in the chart because it is virtually meaningless. All the wing area does is allow us to calculate the wing loading. It is better to determine the wing area based on the target wing loadingwhich is based on target weight. For this example we're building a model to weigh 7 lbs with a wing loading of 20 oz./ft 2. Plug those numbers into the wing loading equation to find the wing area: Given: Wing Loading = 20 oz./ft 2 Target Weight = 7 lbs Find the Wing Area: Wing Loading = (Weight x 2304) Wing Area (Note that Weight is in pounds) Rearrange the equation to find the wing area: Wing Area = (Weight x 2304) Wing Loading Plug in given parameters: Wing Area = (7 x 2304) 20 Wing Area = 806.4 in 2 Now we know what to do build a 7 lb airplane having about 800 square inches of wing.

Calculating the Wing Area for Constant Chord Wings

The area of a simple rectangular, constant chord wing is found by multiplying the width x the height. In aircraft terms that is: Wing Area = Wing Span x Wing Chord

Calculating the Wing Area for Tapered Wings

To find the area of a tapered wing, use the formula for a Trapezoid. Find the average chord and multiply it times the wing span: Average Chord = ( Root Chord + Tip Chord ) 2 Wing Area = Wing Span x Average Chord

Converting the Dihedral Angle to a Measurement

In most cases you can disregard this section because the amount of dihedral is usually given as a ready-to-use measurement. However, if the dihedral is given as an angle you will need to convert the angle into a number you can use. This article discusses how to convert angles to measurements. It does not cover how to determine the correct dihedral angle for your design. In these examples, the Sine function is the most appropriate. See the Trigonometry page for more details. The Sine of an angle = the length of the opposite side of the triangle divided by the hypotenuse of the triangle. You will either need a table that gives the values of Sine for various angles or a calculator that can determine the Sine of an angle.

For example, let's say you have a 60" wing that has 5 of dihedral. The dihedral is per wing panel, not the total amount. In other words, the included angle between the wing panels is 170 (a straight wing having no dihedral is 180). Sketch a small diagram to help you out. The hypotenuse of the triangle is half the wingspan (30" in this case).

Sine = Dihedral Half Wing Span For this example: Wingspan = 60" (note that we will be using half the wingspan) Dihedral angle = 5 Dihedral measurement = Unknown 1) find the Sine of the angle: = 5 Sine 5 = 0.087156 2) Plug in the answer above to find the opposite side of the triangle. 0.087156 = Dihedral 30" Dihedral = 30" x 0.087156 Dihedral = 2.6" (under each tip)

Calculating Theoretical Speed

Theoretical speed means that the propeller is 100% efficient and that there is no loss due to aerodynamic drag, etc. A perfect airplane flying in a perfect world. That's not going to happen here on earth, but this still gives you a starting point. For this example we'll use an engine turning a 7" pitch propeller at 15,000 RPM. Convert Revolutions Per Minute (RPM) to Revolutions Per Hour (RPH): RPM x 60 = RPH 15,000 x 60 = 900,000 RPH Find Inches Per Hour assuming 100% efficiency: RPH x Propeller Pitch = Inches per Hour

900,000 x 7 = 6300000 inches per hour Convert to Miles Per Hour (12" x 5280' = inches in a mile): 6300000 (12 x 5280) = 99.4 MPH The bottom line (assuming 100% propeller efficiency and zero airframe drag): Speed = ( RPM x Pitch ) 1056 In reality the average sport model with this combination might do 75 -80 MPH on a good day.

To Locate the Mean Aerodynamic Chord on a Tapered or Delta Wing

Measure the root and tip chord. Then draw the following lines on the plans: y At the root of the wing, draw a line parallel to the centerline of the fuselage extending forward from the leading edge and rearward from the trailing edge. Both lines should be the length of the tip chord. Do the same thing at the tip but drawing the lines the length of the root chord. Connect the ends of the lines so that they create an "X" over the wing panel. Where the two lines intersect is the spanwise location of the Mean Aerodynamic Chord. If the plan indicates that the CG should be located at some percentage of the MAC, then measure the MAC and put the CG the given percentage back from the leading edge along the MAC. For example, if the MAC is 10" and the plan indicates the CG should be 25% back from the leading edge, then the CG is 2 1/2" back from the leading edge at the MAC.

y y

This drawing should help you visualize what you need to do:

Note: The lines cross at the spanwise location of the MAC. It is not the fore/aft CG location (unless the CG happens to be located at 50% MAC). The following formula will give the measurement (chord) of the MAC. It does not give the span wise location of the MAC. rc = Root Chord t = Taper Ratio = (Tip Chord Root Chord) MAC = rc x 2/3 x (( 1 + t + t2 ) ( 1 + t )) Using the drawing above, let's say the root chord is 11" and the tip chord is 6" t = 6 11 = .5455 Now plug t into the formula to find the MAC. Note that the wingspan and sweep do not matter. No matter what the span or how much the wing is swept, the MAC will always be the same length. MAC = 11 x 2/3 x (( 1 + .5455 + .5455 2 ) ( 1 + .5455 )) MAC = 22/3 x ( 1.8431 1.5455 ) MAC = 7.3333 x ( 1.8431 1.5455) MAC = 7.3333 x 1.19254