Chapter 3
Drag Force and its Coefficient
Table of Content
Chapter 3 ........................................................................................................................... 90
Drag Force and its Coefficient .......................................................................................... 90
3.1. Introduction ............................................................................................................ 90
3.2. Drag Classification................................................................................................. 91
3.3. Drag Polar .............................................................................................................. 95
3.4. Calculation of C
Do
.................................................................................................. 99
3.4.1. Fuselage ........................................................................................................ 100
3.4.2. Wing, Horizontal Tail, and Vertical Tail ...................................................... 103
3.4.3. High Lift Devices .......................................................................................... 105
3.4.4 Landing Gear ................................................................................................. 107
3.4.5. Strut ............................................................................................................... 108
3.4.6. Nacelle .......................................................................................................... 109
3.4.7. Cooling Drag ................................................................................................. 109
3.4.8. Trim Drag...................................................................................................... 111
3.4.9. C
Do
of Other Parts ......................................................................................... 111
3.4.10. Overall C
Do
.................................................................................................. 117
3.5. Wave Drag ........................................................................................................... 118
3.5.1. Exact Method ................................................................................................ 119
3.5.2. Approximate Approach ................................................................................. 122
3.6. C
Do
at various Configurations .............................................................................. 123
3.6.1. Clean Configuration ...................................................................................... 124
3.6.2. TakeOff Configuration ................................................................................ 124
3.6.3. Landing Configuration .................................................................................. 125
3.6.4. The Effect of Speed and Altitude on C
Do
...................................................... 126
Problems ......................................................................................................................... 130
References ....................................................................................................................... 134
List of Tables
Table 3. 1. Typical values of C
Do
and e for several aircraft ............................................. 99
Table 3. 2. The values of A and B for different types of flaps ......................................... 106
Table 3. 3. Correction factor (K
c
) for equation 3.34 ...................................................... 117
Table 3. 4. C
Do
of major components of Gates Learjet 25 .............................................. 118
Table 3. 5. C
Do
of several aircraft ................................................................................... 124
ii
List of Figure
Figure 3. 1 Examples of shapes having drag values nearly independent of Reynolds
number. ............................................................................................................................. 92
Figure 3. 2. Drag classification ........................................................................................ 93
Figure 3. 3. Variations of D
o
and D
i
versus velocity ......................................................... 94
Figure 3. 4. Variations of Drag versus velocity ................................................................ 95
Figure 3. 5. Typical variations of C
D
versus C
L
................................................................ 96
Figure 3. 6. The glider Schleicher ASW22 with wing span of 25 meter and C
Do
of 0.016 97
Figure 3. 7. Agricultural aircraft Dromader, PZL M18 with Cdo of 0.058 .................... 98
Figure 3. 8. Wing leading edge sweep angle .................................................................... 98
Figure 3. 9. Major components of Boeing 737 contributing to C
Do
................................ 100
Figure 3. 10. Wing gross area and wing net area ........................................................... 102
Figure 3. 11. Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MAC) ............................................................ 104
Figure 3. 12. variations of lift coefficient versus drag coefficient for NACA 63
1
412 . 106
Figure 3. 13. Wing section at the flap location (Plain flap) ........................................... 107
Figure 3. 14. Landing gear and its fairing ...................................................................... 108
Figure 3. 15. Wing and landing gear struts in Cessna 172............................................. 109
Figure 3. 16. The use of cowl flaps to control engine cooling air. ................................. 110
Figure 3. 17. Wingfuselage interference drag ............................................................... 112
Figure 3. 18. The UHF radio antenna of U2S Dragon Lady......................................... 113
Figure 3. 19. Boeing Vertol CH113 Labrador ............................................................... 113
Figure 3. 20. Example of a pitot tube mounted under the wing of a Cessna 172 ........... 114
Figure 3. 21. Drag rise due to compressibility for swept wingbody combinations ....... 115
Figure 3. 22. Incremental drag coefficient due to compressibility (Ref. 6). ................... 116
Figure 3. 23. Drag coefficient versus Mach number (Ref. 6) ......................................... 117
Figure 3. 24. F35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new generation of fighters ............................ 119
Figure 3. 25. Geometry for drag wave ............................................................................ 120
Figure 3. 26. Geometry for Example 3.1 ........................................................................ 121
Figure 3. 27. Wave drag for several aircraft (Ref. 9) ..................................................... 123
Figure 3. 28. Drag for various Mach number (Ref 6) ..................................................... 126
Figure 3. 29. The variation of drag force without considering the compressibility effects
......................................................................................................................................... 127
Figure 3. 30. The variation of drag force with considering the compressibility effects (Ref
6) ..................................................................................................................................... 127
Figure 3. 31. Topview of Boeing 757 transport aircraft ................................................ 130
Figure 3. 32. Threeview of amphibian airplane Lake LA250....................................... 132
Figure 3.33. F16A threeview ........................................................................................ 133
90
Chapter 3
Drag Force and its Coefficient
3.1. Introduction
In chapter 2, major forces affecting aircraft motion are discussed. One group of those
forces is aerodynamic forces that split into two forces: Lift force or lift, and Drag force or
drag. A prerequisite to aircraft performance analysis is the ability to calculate the aircraft
drag at various flight conditions. One of the jobs of a performance engineer is to
determine drag force produced by an aircraft at different altitudes, speeds and
configurations. This is not an easy task, since, this force is a function of several
parameters including aircraft configuration. As it was discussed, the drag is a function of
aircraft speed, air density, and its configuration. Each aircraft is designed with a unique
configuration, thus, aircraft performance must take into account this configuration. The
configuration effect of aircraft drag is calculated through the drag coefficient (C
D
), plus
an area that relates to the aircraft.
An aircraft is a complicated threedimensional vehicle, but for simplicity in calculation,
we assume that the drag is a function a twodimensional area and we call it reference
area. This area could be any area including tail area, wing area and fuselage cross
sectional area, or fuselage side area, or fuselage surface area, or even aircraft topview
area. No matter what the area is, the drag must be the same. This unique drag comes from
the fact that the drag coefficient is a function of this area. Therefore if we choose a small
reference area, the drag coefficient will be large, but if we choose a large reference area,
the drag coefficient will be small. In the air vehicle with a small wing area (e.g. high
speed missile), the fuselage cross sectional are is considered as the reference area.
In aircraft with large wing, the topview of wing (in fact gross wing) is the reference area.
The measurements of these areas are easy and they include the most important
aerodynamic part of aircraft. This simplified reference area is compensated with the
complicated drag coefficient:
D
SC V D
2
2
1
= (3.1)
The drag coefficient is nondimensional parameter, but it takes into account every
aerodynamic configuration of the aircraft including, wing, tail, fuselage and landing gear.
This coefficient has two main parts (as will be explained in the next section). The first
part is referred to as liftrelated drag coefficient or induced drag coefficient (C
Di
) and the
second part is called zerolift drag coefficient (C
Do
). The calculation of the first one is an
easy job, but it takes a long time to determine the second part. In large transport aircraft,
this task is done by a group of up to twenty engineers for a time period of up to six
months. For this reason, the large portion of this chapter is devoted to the calculation of
91
C
Do
. This calculation not only is time consuming but also is very sensitive, since it
influences every aspect of aircraft performance. Drag is the enemy of flight and its cost.
One of the primary functions of aerodynamicists is to reduce this coefficient. Aircraft
designers are also very sensitive about this coefficient, because any change in the external
configuration of aircraft will change this coefficient and finally aircraft direct operating
cost. As a performance engineer, you must be able to estimate the C
Do
of any aircraft just
by looking at its threeview with an accuracy of about 30%. An you spend more time for
calculation, this estimation will be more accurate, but never exact unless you use an
aircraft model in wind tunnel or flight test measurements with real aircraft. The method
presented in this chapter is 95% accurate for subsonic aircraft and 85% for supersonic
aircraft.
3.2. Drag Classification
Drag force is the summation of all forces that resist against aircraft motion. The
estimation of the drag of a complete airplane is a difficult and challenging task, even for
the simplest configurations. We will consider the separate sources of drag that contribute
to the total drag of an aircraft. The real shape of drag force as a function of speed is
parabola. It means that there are some parameters that will decrease drag as the velocity
increases and there are some other parameters that will increase drag as the velocity
increases. This observation shows us a good direction for drag classification. Although
the drag and the drag coefficient can be expressed in a number of ways, for reasons of
simplicity and clarity, the parabolic drag polar will be used in all main analyses. Different
references and books use different terminology, so it may confuse students and engineers.
In this section, a list of definitions of various types of drag is presented, and then a
classification of all of these drag forces is described.
Induced Drag: The drag that results from the generation of a trailing vortex system
downstream of a lifting surface of finite aspect ratio.
Parasite Drag: The total drag of an airplane minus the induced drag. Thus, it is the drag
not directly associated with the production of lift. The parasite drag is composed of many
drag components, the definitions of which follow.
Skin Friction Drag: The drag on a body resulting from viscous shearing stresses over its
wetted surface. Frequently, the drag of a very streamlined shape such as a thin, flat plate
is expressed in terms of a skin friction drag. This drag is a function of Reynolds number.
There are mainly two cases where the flow in the boundary layer is entirely laminar or
entirely turbulent over the plate. The Reynolds number is based on the total length of the
plate in the direction of the velocity. In a usual application, the boundary layer is
normally laminar near the leading edge of the plate undergoing transition to a turbulent
layer at some distance back along the surface.
A laminar boundary layer begins to develop at the leading edge and grows in thickness
downstream. At some distance from the leading edge the laminar boundary becomes
unstable and is unable to suppress disturbances imposed on it by surface roughness or
fluctuations in the free stream. In a short distance the boundary layer undergoes transition
92
to a turbulent boundary layer. The layer suddenly increases in thickness and is
characterized by a mean velocity profile on which a random fluctuating velocity
component is superimposed. The distance, x, from the leading edge of the plate to the
transition point can be calculated from the transition Reynolds number
Form Drag (sometimes called Pressure Drag): The drag on a body resulting from the
integrated effect of the static pressure acting normal to its surface resolved in the drag
direction. Unlike the skin friction drag that results from viscous shearing forces tangential
to a bodys surface, form drag results from the distribution of pressure normal to the
bodys surface. In an extreme case of a flat plate normal to the flow, the drag is totally the
result of an imbalance in the normal pressure distribution. There is no skin friction drag
present in this case. As with skin friction drag, form drag is generally dependent on
Reynolds number. Form drag is based on the projected frontal area. As a body begins to
move through a fluid, the vorticity in the boundary layer is shed symmetrically from the
upper and lower surfaces to form two vortices of opposite rotation. A number of shapes
having drag values nearly independent of Reynolds number are illustrated in figure 3.1
Figure 3. 1 Examples of shapes having drag values nearly independent of Reynolds number.
Interference Drag: The increment in drag resulting from bringing two bodies in
proximity to each other. For example, the total drag of a wingfuselage combination will
usually be greater than the sum of the wing drag and fuselage drag independent of each
other.
Trim Drag: The increment in drag resulting from the aerodynamic forces required to
trim the airplane about its center of gravity. Usually this takes the form of added induced
and form drag on the horizontal tail.
Profile Drag: Usually taken to mean the total of the skin friction drag and form drag for
a twodimensional airfoil section.
93
Cooling Drag: The drag resulting from the momentum lost by the air that passes through
the power plant installation for purposes of cooling the engine, oil, and accessories.
Base Drag: The specific contribution to the pressure drag attributed to the blunt afterend
of a body.
Wave Drag: Limited to supersonic flow, this drag is a pressure drag resulting from non
canceling static pressure components to either side of a shock wave acting on the surface
of the body from which the wave is emanating.
Figure 3. 2. Drag classification
The material to follow will consider these various types of drag in detail and will present
methods of reasonably estimating their magnitudes. Figure 3.2 illustrates the drag
classification.
For most conventional aircraft, we divide drag into two main parts; lift related drag, and
non liftrelated drag. The first part is called induced drag (D
i
), because this drag is
induced by lift. The second part is referred to as zerolift drag (D
o
), since it does not have
any influence from lift. Figure 3.3 shows the behavior of these two drags as function of
velocity.
i o
D D D + = (3.2)
a. Induced drag: The induced drag is the drag directly associated with the
production of lift. This results from the dependency of the induced drag on the
angle of attack. As the angle of attack of the aircraft (i.e. lift coefficient) varies,
this type of drag is changed. The induced drag is itself consists of two parts. The
first part originates from vortices around wing, tail, fuselage and other
Drag
Zerolift Drag Induced Drag
Skin friction
Drag
Form
Drag
Miscellaneous
Drag
Wave
Drag
Vortex
Drag
Wave Drag
Landing
gear
Fuselage Tail Wing Strut Nacelle
Interference
Drag
Trim
Drag
Cooling
Drag
C
L
dependent
Volume
dependent
Compressibility
Drag
94
components. The second part is because of air compressibility effect. In low
subsonic flight, it is negligible, but is high subsonic and transonic flight, must be
taken into account. In supersonic flight, wave drag (D
w
) is added to the induced
drag. The reason is to account for the existence of shock wave. The wing is the
major responsible aircraft component for lift production. Thus, about 80% of the
induced drag comes from wing; about 10% comes from tail; and the rest originate
from other components.
i D i
SC V D
2
2
1
= (3.3)
In this equation, the coefficient C
Di
is called induced drag coefficient. The method
to calculate this coefficient will be introduced in the next section.
Figure 3. 3. Variations of D
o
and D
i
versus velocity
b. Zerolift drag: The Zerolift drag includes all types of drag that does not depend
on production of lift. Every aerodynamic component of aircraft (i.e. the
components that are in direct contact with flow) generates zerolift drag. Typical
components are wing, horizontal tail, vertical tail, fuselage, landing gear, antenna,
engine nacelle, and strut.
o D o
SC V D
2
2
1
= (3.4)
In this equation, the coefficient C
Do
is called zerolift drag coefficient. The
method to calculate this coefficient will be introduced in section 3.4.
From the equations 3.3 and 3.4 we can conclude that drag coefficient has two
components:
95
i D o D D
C C C + = (3.5)
The calculation of C
Di
is not a big deal and will be explained in the next section; but the
calculation of C
Do
is very challenging and difficult. Major portion of this chapter is
devoted about how to calculate C
Do
. In fact, the main idea behind this chapter is about
estimation of C
Do
.
3.3. Drag Polar
As figure 3.3 and equation 3.5 show, drag is composed of two terms, one proportional to
V
2
and the other inversely proportional to V
2
. The first term, called zerolift drag
represents the aerodynamic cleanness with respect to frictional characteristics, and shape
and protuberances such as cockpit, antennae, or external fuel tanks. It increases with the
aircraft velocity and is the main factor in determining the aircraft maximum speed. The
second term represents induced drag (drag due to lift). Its contribution is highest at low
velocities, and it decreases with increasing flight velocities. If we combine these two
curves (D
i
and D
o
), we will have a parabolic curve such as shown in figure 3.3. The
parabolic drag model is not exact; but accurate enough for the purpose of performance
calculation.
Figure 3. 4. Variations of Drag versus velocity
Although the drag and the drag coefficient can be expressed in a number of ways, for
reasons of simplicity and clarity, the parabolic drag polar will be used in all main
analyses. This is true only for subsonic flight. For the existing supersonic aircraft, the
drag cannot be adequately described by such a simplified expression. Exact calculations
must be carried out using extended equations or tabular data. However, the inclusion of
more precise expressions for drag at this stage will not greatly enhance basic
understanding of performance, and thus, will be included only in some calculated
96
examples and exercises. Note that the curve begins from stall speed as an aircraft is not
able to maintain level flight at any speed lower than stall speed.
The same conclusion is true for the variation of drag coefficient (C
D
) versus lift
coefficient (C
L
) as shown in figure 3.4. We can mathematically describe such curve with
a second order parabolic curve:
2
bx a y + = (3.6)
where y may be replaced with C
D
and x may be replaced with C
L
. Therefore, drag
coefficient versus lift coefficient is modeled with the following parabolic model:
2
L D
bC a C + = (3.7)
Figure 3. 5. Typical variations of C
D
versus C
L
Now we need to find a and b in this equation. In a symmetrical parabolic curve, the
parameter a is the minimum value for parameter y. In a parabolic curve of C
D
versus
C
L
, the parameter a must be the minimum amount of drag coefficient (C
Dmin
). We refer
this minimum value of drag coefficient as C
Do
as it means the value of C
D
when the lift is
zero. The corresponding value for b in equation 3.7 must be found through experiment.
Aerodynamicists have found this parameter with the symbol of K, and refer to it as
induced drag correction factor. The induced drag correction factor is inverse proportional
to the wing aspect ratio (AR) and wing Oswald efficiency factor (e). The exact
relationship is as follows:
97
eAR
K
t
1
= (3.8)
The wing aspect ratio is the ratio between the wing span (b) and its mean aerodynamic
chord (MAC or C). It can be found in practice from the wing area (S) as follows:
S
b
AR
2
= (3.9)
The wing Oswald efficiency factor represents the efficiency of a wing in producing lift
and is a function of wing aspect ratio and its leading edge sweep angle (A
LE
) (See figure
3.8).
( ) ( )   1 . 3 cos 045 . 0 1 61 . 4
15 . 0 68 . 0
A =
LE
AR e (3.10a)
( ) 64 . 0 045 . 0 1 78 . 1
68 . 0
= AR e (3.10b)
Equation 3.10a is for wings with leading edge sweep angles of more than 30 degrees and
equation 3.10a is for rectangular wings (without sweep). Table 3.1 shows wing Oswald
efficiency factor for several aircraft types. The value of e is decreased in high angle of
attack (i.e. low speed) up to about 30%.
Figure 3. 6. The glider Schleicher ASW22 with wing span of 25 meter and C
Do
of 0.016
Employing the induced drag correction factor, now we have a mathematical model for
variation of drag coefficient versus lift coefficient.
2
L D D
KC C C
o
+ = (3.11)
This equation is sometimes referred to as aircraft drag polar. The main challenge in
this equation is the calculation of zerolift drag coefficient. Table 3.1 shows typical
values of C
Do
of several aircraft. Gliders are the most aerodynamic efficient aircraft (with
98
C
Do
as low as 0.01) and gliders are the least aerodynamic efficient aircraft (with C
Do
as
high as 0.08) .The lift coefficient is readily found from equation 2.3. Compare the glider
Schleicher ASW22 that has a C
Do
of 0.016 (Figure 3.6) with the agricultural aircraft
Dromader, PZL M18 that has a C
Do
of 0.058 (figure 3.7).
Figure 3. 7. Agricultural aircraft Dromader, PZL M18 with Cdo of 0.058
Figure 3. 8. Wing leading edge sweep angle
Comparison between equations 3.7 and 3.11 yields the following relationship.
2
L D
KC C
i
= (3.12)
So induced drag factor is proportional with the square of lift coefficient. Figure 3.4 shows
the effect of lift coefficient (induced drag) on drag coefficient.
99
No. Aircraft type C
Do
e
1 Subsonic jet 0.0140.02 0.750.85
2 Large turboprop 0.0180.024 0.80.85
3 Twinengine piton prop 0.0220.028 0.750.8
4 Small GA with retractable landing gear 0.020.03 0.750.8
5 Small GA with fixed landing gear
1
0.0250.04 0.650.8
6 Agricultural aircraft with crop duster 0.070.08 0.650.7
7 Agricultural aircraft without crop duster 0.060.065 0.650.75
8 glider 0.010.015 0.80.9
9 Supersonic jet 0.020.04 0.60.8
Table 3. 1. Typical values of C
Do
and e for several aircraft
3.4. Calculation of C
Do
The equation 3.11 implies that the calculation of aerodynamic force of drag is dependent
on zerolift drag coefficient (C
Do
). Since the performance analysis is based on aircraft
drag, the accuracy of aircraft performance analysis is higly rely on the estimation of C
Do
.
This section is devoted to the calculation of zerolift drag coefficient and is the most
important section of this chapter.
As figure 3.9 illustrates, external aerodynamic components of an aircraft are all
contributing in aircraft drag. Although only wing; and with some extent, tail; has
aerodynamical function (i.e. to produce lift), but every component that has contact with
air flow, is doing some types of aerodynamic function (i.e. producing drag). Thus in order
to calculate zerolift drag coefficient of an aircraft, we must include every contributing
item. The C
Do
of an aircraft is simply the summation of C
Do
of all contributing
components.
... + + + + + + + + =
HLD
o
S
o
N
o
LG
o
vt
o
ht
o
w
o
f
o o
D D D D D D D D D
C C C C C C C C C (3.13)
Every component has a positive contribution, and no component has negative component.
In majority of conventional aircraft, wing and fuselage are each contributing about 30%
40% (totally 60%80%). All other components are contributing about 20%40% to C
Do
of
aircraft. In some aircraft (e.g. hang glider), there is no fuselage, so it does not have any
contribution in C
Do;
instead the human pilot plays the role of fuselage.
In equation 3.13, C
Dof
, C
Dow
, C
Doht
, C
Dovt
, C
DoLG
, C
DoN
, C
DoS
, C
DoHLD
, are respectively
representing fuselage, wing, horizontal tail, vertical tail, landing gear, nacelle, strut, high
lift device (such as flap) contributions in aircraft C
Do
. The three dots at the end illustrates
that there are other components that are not shown here. They include nonsignificant
components such as antenna, pitot tube, stall horn, wire, and wiper. In each subsection of
1
This also refers to a small GA with retractable landing gear during takeoff
100
this section, a technique is introduced to calculate the contribution of each component in
C
Do
of aircraft. The major reference for these techniques and equations is Reference 1.
Figure 3. 9. Major components of Boeing 737 contributing to C
Do
3.4.1. Fuselage
The zerolift drag coefficient of fuselage is given by the following equation:
S
S
f f C C
f
f
o
wet
M LD f D
= (3.14)
where, C
f
is skin friction coefficient and is nondimensional number. It is determined
based on the Prandtl relationship as follows:
( )  
58 . 2
10
Re log
455 . 0
=
f
C (Turbulent flow) (3.15a)
Re
327 . 1
=
f
C (Laminar flow) (3.15b)
Equation 3.15a is for purely turbulent flow and equation 3.15b is for purely laminar flow.
Most aircraft are frequently experiencing a combination of laminar and turbulent flow
wing
Horizontal
tail
Landing Gear
Nacelle
fuselage wing
Horizontal
tail
Vertical tail
Vertical tail
101
over fuselage and other component. There are aerodynamic references
2
that recommend
formula to evaluate the ratio between laminar and turbulent flow over any aerodynamic
component. The transition point from laminar to turbulent flow may be evaluated by
these references. For simplicity they are not reproduced here. Instead, you are
recommended to assume that the flow is completely turbulent. This provides a better
result; since overestimation of drag is much better than its underestimation. As a rule of
thumb, in low subsonic flight, the flow is mostly laminar, but in high subsonic and
transonic speed, it becomes mostly turbulent. Supersonic and hypersonic flight
experiences a complete turbulent flow over every component of aircraft.
The parameter Re is called Reynolds number and has a nondimensional value. It is
defined as
VL
= Re (3.16)
Where is the air density, V is aircraft true airspeed, is air viscosity, and L is the
length of the component in the direction of flight. For the fuselage, L it the fuselage
length.
The second parameter in equation 3.14 (f
LD
) is a function of length to diameter ratio. It is
defined as
( )

.

\

+ + =
D
L
D L
f
LD
0025 . 0
60
1
3
(3.17)
where L is the fuselage length and D is its maximum diameter. If the cross section of the
fuselage is not a circle, you must find its equivalent diameter. The parameter  is a
function of flight regime and Mach number (M) and is defined as follows:
2
1 M =  (0.0< M < 0.9) (3.18)
The third parameter in equation 3.14 (f
M
) is a function of Mach number (M). It is defined
as
45 . 1
08 . 0 1 M f
M
= (3.19)
The last two parameters in equation 3.14 are S
wetf
and S, where are respectively the
wetted area of the fuselage and the wing reference area.
A comment is in order regarding the reference area S in equation 3.14. This is nothing
other than just a reference area, suitably chosen for the definition of the force and
moment coefficients. Wetted area is the actual surface area of the material making up the
2
Such as Ref. 10
102
skin of the airplane  it is the total surface area that is in actual contact with, i.e., wetted
by, the fluid in which the body is immersed. Indeed, the wetted surface area is the surface
on which the pressure and shear stress distributions are acting; hence it is a meaningful
geometric quantity when one is discussing aerodynamic force. However, the wetted
surface area is not easily calculated, especially for complex body shapes.
Figure 3. 10. Wing gross area and wing net area
In contrast, it is much easier to calculate the planform area of a wing (See figure 3.10),
that is, the projected area that we see when we look down on the wing, including fuselage
in between two parts of the wing. For this reason, for wings as well as entire airplanes,
the wing planform area is usually used as S in the definitions of C
L
, C
D
, and C
m
.
Similarly, if we are considering the lift and drag of a cone, or some other slender, missile
like body, then the reference area S is frequently taken as the base area of the fuselage.
The point here is that S is simply a reference area that can be arbitrarily specified. This is
done primarily for convenience.
Whether we take for S the planfonn area, base area, or any other area germane to a given
body shape, it is still a measure of the relative size of different bodies which are
geometrically similar. And what is important in the definition of C
L
, C
D
, and C
m
is to
divide out the effect of size via the definitions. The moral to this story is as follows:
Whenever you take data for C
L
, C
D
, or C
m
from the technical literature, make certain that
you know what geometric reference area was used for S in the definitions and then use
that same defined area when making calculations involving those coefficients.
Wing gross area
Wing net area
103
3.4.2. Wing, Horizontal Tail, and Vertical Tail
Since wing, horizontal tail and vertical tail are three lifting surface, we treat them in a
similar manner. The zerolift drag coefficients of wing (
w
o
D
C ), horizontal tail (
ht
o
D
C ), and
vertical tail (
vt
o
D
C ), are respectively given by the following equations:
4 . 0
004 . 0
min


.

\



.

\

=
w w
w w
w
o
d
wet
M tc f D
C
S
S
f f C C (3.20)
4 . 0
004 . 0
min


.

\



.

\

=
ht ht
ht ht
ht
o
d
wet
M tc f D
C
S
S
f f C C (3.21)
4 . 0
004 . 0
min


.

\



.

\

=
vt vt
vt vt
vt
o
d
wet
M tc f D
C
S
S
f f C C (3.22)
In these equations, C
fw
, C
fht
, C
fvt
are similar to what we defined for fuselage in formula
3.15. The only difference is that the equivalent value of L in Reynolds number (equation
3.23) for wing, horizontal tail, and vertical tail are their mean aerodynamic chord (MAC
or C ). In another word, the definition of Reynolds number for a lifting surface is
C V
= Re (3.23)
where the mean aerodynamic chord is calculated by
(
+
+ =
1
1
3
2
r
C C (3.24)
where C
r
is root chord (See figure 3.11), and id taper ratio (the ratio between tip chord
to root chord). The parameter f
tc
is a function of thickness ratio and is given by
4
max max
100 7 . 2 1

.

\

+

.

\

+ =
c
t
c
t
f
tc
(3.25)
where
max

.

\

c
t
is the maximum thickness (t) to chord (C) ratio of a wing, or a tail. The
maximum thickness to chord ratio for wing is about 12% to18%, and for the tail is about
9% to 12%. The parameter S
wet
in equation 3.12 is the wetted area and is difficult to
calculate, because of the curvature of the wing or tail. Since the wing and tail are not too
thick, it may be assumed that is about twice of the net area (see figure 3.10). The
parameter C
dmin
in formula 3.20, 3.21, and 3.22 is the minimum drag coefficient of the
cross section (airfoil) of the wing or tail. It can be readily read extracted from a C
d
C
l
104
curve of the airfoil. One example is illustrated in figure 3.12 for a NACA airfoil of 63
1

412. Reference 3 is a rich collection of information for a variety of NACA airfoils.
Figure 3. 11. Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MAC)
Example 3.1: Consider a cargo aircraft with the following features:
m = 380,000 kg S = 567 m
2
, MAC = 9.3 m, (t/c)
max
= 18%, C
dmin
= 0.0052
This aircraft is flying at sea level with the speed of 400 knot. If the aircraft C
Do
is 2.3
times the wing C
Do
(i.e. C
Dow
), what is the aircraft C
Do
?
Solution:
( )
8
5
10 31 . 1 131000380
10 7894 . 1
3 . 9 5144 . 0 400 225 . 1
Re = =
= =
VL
(3.16)
Root Chord
Tip Chord
Mean Aerodynamic Chord
Centerline Chord
105
605 . 0
340
5144 . 0 400
=
= =
a
V
M (1.20)
We assume that the boundary layer is turbulent, so
( )  
( )  
00212 . 0
10 31 . 1 log
455 . 0
Re log
455 . 0
58 . 2
8
10
58 . 2
10
=
= =
f
C (3.15a)
( ) 9614 . 0 606 . 0 08 . 0 1 08 . 0 1
45 . 1 45 . 1
= = = M f
M
(3.19)
( ) ( ) 742 . 1 18 . 0 100 18 . 0 7 . 2 1 100 7 . 2 1
4
4
max max
= + + =

.

\

+

.

\

+ =
c
t
c
t
f
tc
(3.25)
0102 . 0
004 . 0
0052 . 0
576
576 2
9614 . 0 742 . 1 00212 . 0
004 . 0
4 . 0
4 . 0
min
=

.

\

=


.

\



.

\

=
w
o
w w
w w
w
o
D
d
wet
M tc f D
C
C
S
S
f f C C
(3.20)
Therefore the aircraft zerolift drag coefficient is
023 . 0 0102 . 0 3 . 2 3 . 2 = = =
w
o o
D D
C C
3.4.3. High Lift Devices
High lift devices are parts of wing to increases lift when deflected. They are usually
employed during takeoff and landing. Two main groups of High lift devices are leading
edge HLD (flap) and trailing edge High lift devices (slat). There are many types of wing
trailing edge flaps such as split flap, plain flap, singleslotted flap, fowler flap, double
slotted flap, and tripleslotted flap. They are deflected down to increase the camber of the
wing, so C
Lmax
will be increased. The most effective method used on all large transport
aircraft is the leading edge slat. A variant on the leading edge slat is a variable camber
slotted Kruger flap used on the Boeing 747. The main effect of wing trailing edge flap is
to increase the effective angle of attach of the wing without actually pitching the airplane.
The application of high lift devices has a few negative sideeffects including an increase
in aircraft drag (as will be measured in C
Do
).
106
Figure 3. 12. variations of lift coefficient versus drag coefficient for NACA 63
1
412
3.4.3.1. Trailing Edge High Lift Device
The increase in C
Do
due to application of trailing edge high lift device (flap) is given by
the following formula:
( )
B
f
f
D
A
C
C
C
flap
o
o


.

\

= (3.26)
No Flap type A B
1 split flap 0.0014 1.5
2 plain flap 0.0016 1.5
3 singleslotted flap 0.00018 2
4 doubleslotted flap 0.0011 1
5 Fowler 0.00015 1.5
Table 3. 2. The values of A and B for different types of flaps
107
where C
f
/C is the ratio between average extended flap chord to average wing chord (see
figure 3.13) at the flap location and is usually about 0.2. Do not confuse this C
f
with skin
friction coefficient. The parameters A and B are given in the table 3.2 based on the
type of flap. The o
f
is the flap deflection in degrees (usually less than 50 degrees).
Figure 3. 13. Wing section at the flap location (Plain flap)
3.4.3.1. Leading Edge High Lift Device
The increase in C
Do
due to application of leading edge high lift device is given by the
following formula:
w
o
sl
o
D
sl
D
C
C
C
C 
.

\

= (3.27)
where C
sl
/C is the ratio between average extended slat chord to average wing chord. The
C
Dow
is the wing aerolift drag coefficient without extending high lift devices (including
slat).
3.4.4 Landing Gear
The landing gear (or undercarriage) is the structure (usually wheels) that supports an
aircraft and allows it to move across the surface of the ground when it is not flying.
Landing gear usually includes wheels equipped with shock absorbers for solid ground,
but some aircraft are equipped with skis for snow or floats for water, and/or skids. To
decrease drag in flight, some landing gears are retracted into the wings and/or fuselage
with wheels flush against the surface or concealed behind doors; this is called retractable
gear.
C
f
C
108
When landing gear is fixed (not retraced), it produces an extra drag for the aircraft. It is
sometimes responsible for increase in drag as high as 50%. The increase in C
Do
due to
application of landing gear is given by the following formula:
=


.

\

=
n
i
D D
S
S
C C
i
o
1
lg
lg
lg
(3.28)
where S
lg
is the frontal area of each wheel, and S is the wing reference area. The
parameter C
Dlg
is the drag coefficient of each wheel; that is 0.3, when it has fairing; and
is 0.15 when it does not have fairing (see figure 3.14). The frontal area of each wheel is
simply the diameter (d
g
) times its width (w
g
).
g g
w d S =
lg
(3.29)
Figure 3. 14. Landing gear and its fairing
As it is observed in equation 3.28, every wheel that is experiencing air flow must be
accounted for drag. For this reason, index i is used. The drag of the strut of landing
gear is introduced in the next section. In some aircraft, a fairing is used to decrease the
drag of a nonretracted gear (see figure 3.14b). The parameter n is the number of
wheels in an aircraft.
3.4.5. Strut
Landing gear is often attached to the aircraft structure through strut. These struts are
producing an extra drag for aircraft. In some aircraft (such as hang gliders), their section
is a symmetrical airfoil in order to reduce the aircraft drag. In some old aircraft, wings are
attached through few struts to support wing structure (see figure 3.15). Modern aircraft
d
g
t
g
a. Without fairing
b. With fairing
109
use advanced material for structure that are stronger and there are no need for any strut to
support their wings.
Figure 3. 15. Wing and landing gear struts in Cessna 172
The increase in C
Do
due to application of strut is given by the following formula:
=

.

\

=
n
i
s
D D
S
S
C C
i
os
s
o
1
(3.30)
where S
s
is the frontal area of each strut (its diameter times its length), and S is the wing
reference. The parameter C
Dos
is the drag coefficient of each strut; that is 0.1, when it has
airfoil section; and is 1 when it does not have airfoil section. The parameter n is the
number of struts in an aircraft. It is observed that using an airfoil section for a strut
decreases its drag at about 10 times. However its manufacturing cost is increased.
3.4.6. Nacelle
If the engine is not buried inside fuselage, it must be in contact with air. In order to
reduce the engine drag, in most aircraft engine is located inside an aerodynamic cover
called nacelle. It can be considered that the nacelle is similar to the fuselage, except it
fineness ratio is higher. Thus, the nacelle zerolift drag coefficient (C
Don
) will be
determined in the same way as fuselage. In the case that the nacelle fineness ratio (i.e.
nacelle length to nacelle diameter ratio) is below 2, assume it as 2. This parameter is used
in the equation 3.17.
3.4.7. Cooling Drag
Cylinder heads, oil coolers, and other heat exchangers require a flow of air through them
for purposes of cooling. Usually, the source of this cooling air is the free stream possibly
augmented to some extent by a propeller slipstream or bleed from the compressor section
of a turbojet (See figure 3.16). As the air flows through the baffling air experiences a loss
strut
110
in total pressure extracting energy from the flow same time however heat is added to the
flow. If the rate at which the heat is being added to the flow is less than the rate at which
energy is being extracted from flow the energy and momentum flux in the exiting flow
after it has expanded the free stream ambient pressure will be less than that of the
entering flow The result is a drag force known as cooling drag.
Figure 3. 16. The use of cowl flaps to control engine cooling air.
It is a matter of bookkeeping as to whether to penalize the airframe or the engine for this
drag. Some manufacturers prefer to estimate the net power lost to the flow and subtract
this from the engine power. Thus, no drag increment is added to the airplane. Typically,
for a piston engine, the engine power is reduced by as much as approximately 6% to
account for the cooling losses. Because of the complexity of the internal flow through a
typical engine installation, current methods for estimating cooling losses are
semiempirical in nature.
The calculation of the cooling drag is highly configurationdependent so that it is
unfeasible to present here a general method which will apply to most engine installations.
Instead, suffice it to say that one should consider cooling drag in predicting the
performance of an airplane and this is best done in consultation with the engine
manufacturer. Large manufacturers of turbine engines will provide computer programs
for estimating installation losses for their engines. Engine cooling drag coefficient (C
Doen
)
is given by the following relationship:
VS
PT K
C
e
D
en
o
o
2
8
10 51 . 4
= (3.31)
where P is the engine power (hp), T is the air temperature (K), o is the relative density of
the air, V is the aircraft velocity (m/sec), and S is the wing reference area (m
2
). The
111
parameter K
e
is a coefficient that depends on the type of engine. It varies between 1 and
3.
3.4.8. Trim Drag
Basically, trim drag is not any different from the types of drag already discussed. It arises
mainly as the result of having to produce a horizontal tail load in order to balance the
airplane around its pitching axis. Any drag increment that can be attributed to a finite lift
on the horizontal tail contributes to the trim drag. Such increments mainly represent
changes in the induced drag of the tail.
The trim drag is usually small, amounting to only 1 or 2% of the total drag of an airplane
for the cruise condition. Reference 5, for example, lists the trim drag for the Leajet Model
25 as being only 1.5% of the total drag for the cruise condition. To examine this further,
we begin with the sum of the lifts developed by the wing and tail that must equal the
aircrafts weight. One can easily derive the horizontal tail lift coefficient (C
Lt
) as
( )
t
L L L
S
S
C C C
w t
= (3.32)
where C
L
is aircraft lift coefficient, C
Lw
is wing lift coefficient, and S
t
is horizontal tail
area. Then trim drag will be
( )
2
2
1
(
= = =
t
L L
t t
L t D D
S
S
C C
AR e
C K C C
w t
t
i
trim
o
t
(3.33)
where e
t
is horizontal tail span efficiency factor, and AR
t
is the horizontal tail aspect
ratio.
3.4.9. C
Do
of Other Parts
So far, we introduced several techniques to calculate C
Do
of aircraft major components.
There are other factors and parts that are producing drag and contribute in total C
Do
of
aircraft. These parts are introduced in this section.
1. Interference
When two shapes intersect or are placed in proximity, their pressure distributions and
boundary layers can interact with each other, resulting in a net drag of the combination
that is higher than the sum of the separate drags. This increment in the drag is known as
interference drag. Except for specific cases where data are available, interference drag is
difficult to estimate accurately. Two examples are: 1. placing an engine nacelle in
proximity to a rear pylon on a tandem helicopter (like a CH47), and 2. the interference
drag between the rotor hub and pylon for a helicopter.
Figure 3.17 shows a wing abutting the side of a fuselage. At the fuselagewing juncture a
drag increment results as the boundary layers from the two airplane components interact
and thicken locally at the junction. This type of drag penalty will become more severe if
112
surfaces meet at an angle other than 90
o
. In particular, acute angles between intersecting
surfaces should be avoided. Reference 4, for example, shows that the interference drag of
a 45% thick strut abutting a plane wall doubles as the angle decreases from 90
o
to
approximately 60. If acute angles cannot be avoided, filleting should be used at the
juncture.
Figure 3. 17. Wingfuselage interference drag
In the case of a highwing configuration, interference drag results principally from the
interaction of the fuselage boundary layer with that from the wings lower surface. This
latter layer is relatively thin at positive angles of attack. On the other hand, it is the
boundary layer on the upper surface of a low wing that interferes with the fuselage
boundary layer. This upper surface layer is appreciably thicker than the lower surface
layer. Thus, the wingfuselage interference drag for a low wing configuration is usually
greater than for a highwing configuration.
The available data on wingfuselage interference drag are sparse. Reference 4 presents a
limited amount but, there is no correlation with wing position or lift coefficient. Based on
this reference, an approximate drag increment caused by wingfuselage interference is
estimated to equal 4% of the wings profile drag for a typical aspect ratio and wing
thickness.
Although data such as those in Reference 4 may be helpful in estimating interference
drag, an accurate estimate of this quantity is nearly impossible. For example, a wing
protruding from a fuselage just forward of the station where the fuselage begins to taper
may trigger separation over the rear portion of the fuselage. Sometimes interference drag
can be favorable as, for example, when one body operates in the wake of another. Race
113
car drivers frequently use this to their advantage in the practice of drafting. Reference 2
offers more details about interference drag.
2. Antenna
The antenna of most aircraft is located outside of the aircraft. They are in contact with the
air, hence they produce drag. There are mainly two types of antenna: a. rod or wire, and
b. blade. Figure 3.18 shows a rod antenna of U2 aircraft. Figure 3.19 illustrates two
blade antenna of Boeing Vertol CH113/113A.
Figure 3. 18. The UHF radio antenna of U2S Dragon Lady
The large blade antenna of U2S is the UHF radio antenna. The thin whip as an ADF
antenna. The whip was originally straight. The bend in the upper portion of the whip
antenna was introduced to provide clearance for the Senior Span/Spur dorsal pod. Most
U2 aircraft seem to now use the bent whip, even if they are not capable of carrying the
Senior Span/Spur dorsal pod.
Figure 3. 19. Boeing Vertol CH113 Labrador
Look on the bottom from the starboard side of Boeing Vertol CH113/113A. Note the
two blade antenna, as well as two more whip antenna. These represent the rightmost
antenna in the remaining two pair of the six, described in the previous view. Also seen, is
the towelrack 'loran' antenna. These are only fitted to the formerVoyager airframes. A
carryover from it's Army days. The item hanging down, in the distance, is the sectioned
flat plate that covers the ramp hinge, when the ramp is closed.
114
To calculate C
Do
of antenna, rod antenna is treated as a strut, and blade antenna is
considered as a small wing. The very equations that are introduced for strut (Section
3.4.5) and wing (Section 3.4.2) are employed to determine the C
Do
of the antenna.
3. Pitot Tube
A pitot tube is a pressure measuring instrument used to measure air flow velocity, and
more specifically, used to determine the airspeed (and sometimes altitude) of an aircraft
(See figure 3.20). The basic pitot tube simply consists of a tube pointing directly into the
air flow. As this tube contains air, a pressure can be measured as the moving air is
brought to rest. This pressure is the stagnation pressure of the air, also known as the total
pressure, or sometimes (particularly in aviation circles) the pitot pressure.
Since the pitot tube has contact with air, it has a contribution to aircraft C
Do
. If the aircraft
is in subsonic regime, the horizontal part of the pitot tube may be assumed as a little
fuselage and its vertical part as a strut. For supersonic flow, section 3.5 introduces a
technique to account for pitot tube zerolift drag coefficient (C
Dopt
).
4. Surface Roughness
The outer surface of aircraft structure (skin) has considerable role in aircraft drag. For
this reason, the aircraft skin is often painted. This not only protects the skin from
atmospheric hazards (e.g rusting), but also reduces its drag. As the surface of the skin is
more polished, the aircraft drag will be reduced. The reader is referred to specific
aerodynamic references to gain more information about the effect of surface roughness
on the aircraft drag.
Figure 3. 20. Example of a pitot tube mounted under the wing of a Cessna 172
5. Leakage
There are gaps between control surfaces (such as elevator, aileron and rudder), flaps, and
spoilers and the lifting surfaces (such as wing and tails). The air is flowing through these
tiny gaps and thus producing extra drag. This is called leakage drag. The reader is
115
referred to specific aerodynamic references to gain more information about the influence
of these gaps on the aircraft drag.
6. Rivet and Screw
The outside of the aircraft structure is covered with a skin. The skin (if it is from metallic
materials
3
) is attached to the primary components of an aircraft structure (such as spar
and frame) via part such as rivet or screw. In the case of the screw, the top part of the
screw could be often hidden inside skin. But the heads of most types of rivets are out of
skin, therefore they produce extra drag. Figure 3.15d illustrates both rivet and screw on
wing of Cessna172.
7. Compressibility
Compressibility is a property of the fluid. Liquids have very low values of
compressibility whereas gases have high compressibility. Obviously, in real life every
flow of every fluid is compressible to some greater or lesser extent; hence, a truly
constant density (incompressible) flow is a myth. However, for almost all liquid flows as
well as for the flows of some gases under certain conditions, the density changes are so
small that the assumption of constant density can be made with reasonable accuracy.
Figure 3. 21. Drag rise due to compressibility for swept wingbody combinations
So far we considered incompressible flow where the density is assumed to be constant
throughout. Compressible flow is a flow in which the density is not constant. A few
important examples are the internal flows through rocket and gas turbine engines, high
3
The Composite structures have the advantage that they do not require any rivet or screw.
116
speed subsonic, transonic, supersonic, and hypersonic wind tunnels, the external flow
over modern airplanes designed to cruise faster than 0.3 of the speed of sound, and the
flow inside the common internal combustion reciprocating engine. For most practical
problems, if the density changes by 5 percent or more, the flow is considered to be
compressible.
Flow velocities higher than 0.3 of the speed of sound are associated with relatively large
pressure changes, accompanied by correspondingly large changes in density. The aircraft
drag at high subsonic speed is about twice as of that at Mach 0.3. Compressibility effects
on airplane aerodynamics have been important since the advent of highperformance
aircraft in the 1940s.
Now, lets look at a wing with a free stream. The lift is created by the occurrence of
velocities higher than free stream on the upper surface of the wing and lower than free
stream on much of the lower surface. As the flight speed of an airplane approaches the
speed of sound (i.e., M > 0.65), the higher local velocities on the upper surface of the
wing may reach and even substantially exceed M = 1.0. The existence of supersonic local
velocities on the wing is associated with an increase of drag due to a reduction in total
pressure through shock waves and due to thickening and even separation of the boundary
layer due to the local but severe adverse pressure gradients caused by the shock waves.
Figure 3. 22. Incremental drag coefficient due to compressibility (Ref. 6).
The drag increase is generally not large, however, until the local speed of sound occurs at
or behind the crest of the airfoil, or the crestline, which is the locus of airfoil crests along
the wing span. The crest is the point on the airfoil upper surface to which the free stream
is tangent. The occurrence of substantial supersonic local velocities well ahead of the
crest does not lead to significant drag increase provided that the velocities decrease below
sonic forward of the crest. The incremental drag coefficient due to compressibility is
117
designated AC
Dc
. Figure 3.22 is an empirical average of existing transport aircraft data.
For this reason, the parameter  in equation 3.18 and 3.24 is employed.
Figure 3. 23. Drag coefficient versus Mach number (Ref. 6)
A complete set of drag curves for a large transport jet is given in Figure 3.23 in a format
using Mach number as the abscissa. Figure 3.21 show the effect of compressibility on
three configurations.
3.4.10. Overall C
Do
The overall C
Do
is determined as the sum of C
Do
of all aircraft component and factors.
The calculation of C
Do
contribution due to factors introduced in section 3.4.9 is
complicated. These factors sometimes are responsible for an increase in C
Do
up to about
50%. Thus we will resort to correction factor and estimation. The overall C
Do
of an
aircraft is given by
  ...
lg
+ + + + + + + + =
ft
o
n
o o
s
o
vt
o
ht
o
f
o
w
o o
D D D D D D D D c D
C C C C C C C C K C (3.34)
No. Aircraft type K
c
1 Passenger 1.1
2 Agriculture 1.5
3 Cargo 1.2
4 Single engine piston 1.3
5 General Aviation 1.2
6 Fighter 1.1
Table 3. 3. Correction factor (K
c
) for equation 3.34
118
where K
c
is a correction factor and depends on several factors such as the type, year of
fabrication and configuration of the aircraft. Table 3.3 yields the K
c
for several types of
aircraft.
Each component has a contribution to overall C
Do
of an aircraft. Their contributions vary
from aircraft to aircraft and from configuration to configuration (e.g. cruise to takeoff).
Table 3.4 illustrates contributions of all major components of Gates Learjet 25. Note that
the row 8 of this table shows the contributions of other components as about 20%.
No. Component C
Do
of component Percent from total C
Do
(%)
1 Wing 0.0053 23.4
2 Fuselage 0.0063 27.8
3 Wing tip tank 0.0021 9.3
4 Nacelle 0.0012 5.3
5 Engine strut 0.0003 1.3
6 Horizontal tail 0.0016 7.1
7 Vertical tail 0.0011 4.8
8 Other components 0.0046 20.4
9 Total C
Do
0.0226 100
Table 3. 4. C
Do
of major components of Gates Learjet 25
3.5. Wave Drag
In supersonic speed, a new type of drag is produced and it is referred to as shock wave
drag or simply wave drag. When a supersonic flow experiences an obstacle, a shock
wave is formed. A shock wave is a thin sheet of fluid across which abrupt changes occur
in P, , V, and M. In general, air flowing through a shock wave experiences a jump
toward higher density, higher pressure, and lower Mach number. The effective Mach
number approaching the shock wave is the Mach number of the component of velocity
normal to the shock wave. This component Mach number must be greater than 1.0 for a
shock to exist.
Whenever the local Mach number becomes greater than 1.0 on the surface of a wing or
body in a subsonic freestream, the flow must be decelerated to a subsonic speed before
reaching the trailing edge. If the surface could be shaped so that the surface Mach number
is reduced to 1.0 and then decelerated subsonically to reach the trailing edge at the
surrounding freestream pressure, there would be no shock wave and no shock drag. This
ideal is theoretically attainable only at one unique Mach number and angle of attack. In
general, a shock wave is always required to bring supersonic flow back to M < 1.0. A
major goal of transonic airfoil design is to reduce the local supersonic Mach number to as
close to M = 1.0 as possible before the shock wave.
The freestream Mach number at which the local Mach number on the airfoil first reaches
1.0 is known as the critical Mach number, M
cr
. The freestream Mach number at which M
119
= 1.0 at or behind the airfoil crest is called the crest critical Mach number. The locus of
the airfoil crests from the root to the tip of the wing is the crestline. Empirically, it is
found for all airfoils except the supercritical airfoil, that at 2% to 4% higher Mach
number than that at which M = 1.0 at the crest the drag rises abruptly. The Mach number
at which this abrupt drag rise starts is called the drag divergence Mach number, M
DIV
.
The main function of a swept wing is to reduce wave drag at transonic and supersonic
speeds.
Thus in supersonic speed, the drag coefficient is expressed by
w i o
D D D D
C C C C + + = (3.35)
where C
Dw
is called wave drag coefficient. The precise calculation of C
Dw
is time
consuming, but to give the reader a guidance we present two techniques, one easy and
approximate; and one long and accurate. For configurations more complicated than
bodies of revolution, the drag may be computed with a panel method or Computational
Fluid Dynamic techniques. Figure 3.24 illustrates F35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new
generation of fighters.
Figure 3. 24. F35 Joint Strike Fighter, a new generation of fighters
4
3.5.1. Exact Method
In this approach, an aircraft is divided into several parts such that each part must have a
corner angle and experiences a separate shock wave. Then C
Dw
for each part is calculated
separately and then all C
Dw
are added together. For each part, the wave drag coefficient is
given by
A P M
D
A V
D
C
w w
D
w
= =
2 2
2
1
2
1
(3.36)
4
It is claimed that F35 will be the last manned fighters. In the future, the fighters will be unmanned.
120
where subscript infinity ( ) means that the parameter are considered in the infinity
distance from the surface. This does not really mean infinity, but it simply means at a
distance out of the effect of shock and the surface (i.e. freestream). The parameter A is
the surface of a body at which the pressure is acting.
D
w
is the wave drag and is equal to the axial component of the pressure force. The reason
is that, in supersonic speed, the induced drag may be ignored, since it has negligible
contribution, compared to the wave drag. The force due to flow pressure is given by
( ) u cos
2
A P D
w
= (3.37)
where P
2
represents the pressure behind a shock wave, and u is the corner angle (see
figure 3.25).
M
1
M
2
P
2
D
w
u
P
1
M
1
M
2
P
2
D
w
u
P
1
Figure 3. 25. Geometry for drag wave
To determine the pressure behind the shock (P
2
), the governing equations for oblique or
normal shock or their published tables must be used. A simple technique is to use the
linearized supersonic flow theory
5
where states that Cp is directly proportional to the
local surface inclination with respect to the free stream. This theory holds for any slender
twodimensional shape. The pressure coefficient is assumed to be the linear function of
the corner angle (u) as
1
2
2
M
C
p
u
(3.38)
where u is in radian. Then the pressure behind the shock is determined from
p p
C P M C V P P
= =
2 2
2
2
1
2
1
(3.39)
5
Ref. 7, page 272
121
Example 3.2: Consider a 15 halfangle wedge at zero angle of attack in a Mach 3 flow
of air. Calculate the wave drag coefficient. Assume that the pressure exerted over the
base of the wedge, the base pressure (P
1
), is equal to the freestream pressure of 1 atm.
Solution: The physical picture is sketched in Fig. 3.26. The wave drag is the net force in
the x direction; P
2
is exerted perpendicular to the top and bottom faces, and P
1
is exerted
over the base. The chord length of the wedge is c. Consider a unit span of the wedge, i.e.,
a length of unity perpendicular to the xy plane. A is the planform area (the projected area
seen by viewing the wedge from the top, thus A = c x 1. The drag per unit span, denoted
by D
w
, is
 
( ) ( ) ( ) 15 tan 2 15 sin
15 cos
1
2 ) sin( sin
1
2
c P
c P
F A P A P D
back down up
(
= = u u
By definition, the wave drag coefficient is
  1
2
2
1
1
2
1
2
= =
c P M
D
A P M
D
C
w w
D
w
(3.36)
Figure 3. 26. Geometry for Example 3.1
Thus
( )
( ) 15 tan
4
1
2
1
1 2
P M
P P
C
w
D
=
The pressure behind shock (P
2
) is
122
p
C P M P P
=
2
2
2
1
(3.39)
where
185 . 0
1 3
180
15 2
1
2
2 2
=

.

\

=
t u
M
C
p
(3.38)
So
atm P 166 . 2 1 185 . 0 1 3 4 . 1
2
1
2
2
= + =
Finally the C
Dw
is
( )
( )
( )
1 . 0 ) 15 tan(
1 3 4 . 1
1 166 . 2 4
15 tan
4
2
1
2
1
1 2
=
=
=
P M
P P
C
w
D
Note that this drag coefficient is based on the wedge area. If it was part of an aircraft, it
must be calculated based on the aircraft wing area.
3.5.2. Approximate Approach
6
In this approach, we consider an aircraft as a whole and we will not divide it into several
parts. Wave drag coefficient consists of two components; volumedependent wave drag
(C
Dwv
) and liftdependent wave drag (C
Dwl
). The volumedependent wave drag is a
function of aircraft volume and much greater than liftdependent wave drag. The reason
is that in the supersonic speed, the lift coefficient (C
L
) is very small.
v
w
l
w w
D D D
C C C + = (3.40)
a. The liftdependent wave drag is given by
( )
2
2 2
2
1
L
M SC K
C
L wl
D
l
w
t
= (3.41)
where L represents the aircraft fuselage length, S wing area, and K
wl
is a parameter that is
given by
2
2

.

\

=
bL
S
K
wl
(3.42)
6
This approach is reproduced from Ref. 8.
123
where b is the wing span.
Figure 3. 27. Wave drag for several aircraft (Ref. 9)
b. The volumedependent wave drag is written as
4
2
128
SL
V K
C
wv
D
wv
t
= (3.43)
where V is the total aircraft volume and K
wv
is a factor that is given by




.

\

+
+
=
L
b
L
b
K
wv


2 1
75 . 0 1
17 . 1 (3.44)
where  is a function of Mach number as
1
2
= M  (3.45)
In general, wave drag is considerable such that it will increase aircraft drag up to about
two to three times. Figures 3.27 shows drag coefficients of several aircraft. The drag rise
of most of them due to high Mach number is significant. Table 3.5 illustrates C
Do
of
several aircraft at their cruise speed.
3.6. C
Do
at various Configurations
Any aircraft, based on its flight condition may have various configurations. When an
aircraft retracts it landing gear, deflects its flap, rotates its control surfaces, exposes any
external component (such as gun), releases its store (missile), or opens its cargo door; it
124
has changed its configuration. In general there are three configurations that any aircraft
may adapt, they are: 1. clean configuration, 2. takeOff configuration, 3. landing
configuration.
No. Aircraft Engine No. of Engines Landing gear C
Do
1 PC9 Turboprop 1 Retractable 0.022
2 F104 Turbojet 1 Retractable 0.016
3 Tucano Turboprop 1 Retractable 0.021
4 Boeing 747 Turbofan 4 Retractable 0.018
5 Jetstar Turbojet 4 Retractable 0.0185
6 C5A Turbofan 4 Retractable 0.019
7 Boeing 727 Turbofan 3 Retractable 0.02
8 F14 Turbofan 2 Retractable 0.02
9 Learjet 25 Turbofan 2 Retractable 0.022
10 C54 Piston prop 4 Retractable 0.023
11 C46 Turboprop 2 Retractable 0.025
12 Beech V35 Turboprop 1 Retractable 0.025
13 Cessna 310 Piston prop 2 Retractable 0.025
14 F4C Turbojet 2 Retractable 0.03
15 Piper Pa28 Piston prop 1 Fixed 0.047
16 Cessna 150 Piston prop 1 Fixed 0.05
Table 3. 5. C
Do
of several aircraft
3.6.1. Clean Configuration
The clean configuration is the configuration of an aircraft when it is in cruise condition.
In this configuration, no flap is deflected, and landing gear is retracted (if it is
retractable). Therefore the drag polar is
( )
2
C
clean
o clean
L D D
C K C C + = (3.46)
Thus clean C
Do
of the aircraft includes every component (such as wing, tail, and fuselage)
except flap and landing gear (if retractable). If landing gear is not retractable, the C
Do
includes landing gear too. The parameter C
LC
is the cruise lift coefficient.
3.6.2. TakeOff Configuration
The takeoff configuration is the configuration of an aircraft when it is in takeoff
condition. In this configuration the aircraft has high angle of attack, flap is deflected for
takeoff, and landing gear is not retracted (even if it is retractable). The takeoff zerolift
drag coefficient is given by
LG
o
TO
oflap
clean
o
TO
o
D D D D
C C C C + + =
(3.47)
125
In takeoff condition, the flaps are usually deflected down about 1030 degrees. The take
off C
Do
depends of the deflection angle of the flaps. As this angle increases, the takeoff
C
Do
increases too. The drag polar at takeoff configuration is
( )
2
TO
TO
o TO
L D D
C K C C + = (3.48)
where C
LTO
represents the lift coefficient at takeoff. This coefficient does not have a
constant value during takeoff, due to the accelerated nature of its motion. The C
LTO
at
the lift off condition (where the from wheel is just detached from the ground), may be
given by
( )
2
2
9 . 0
LO
L
V S
mg
C
TO
~ (3.49)
where V
LO
represents the aircraft liftoff speed. The factor of 0.9 is due to the effect of
engine thrust during takeoff.
3.6.3. Landing Configuration
The landing configuration is the configuration of an aircraft when it is in landing
condition. In this configuration the aircraft has higher angle of attack (even more than
takeoff), flap is deflected (even more than takeoff), and landing gear is not retracted
(even if it is retractable). The landing zerolift drag coefficient is given by
LG
o
L
oflap
clean
o
L
o
D D D D
C C C C + + =
(3.50)
In landing condition, the flaps are usually deflected down about 3060 degrees. The
landing C
Do
depends of the deflection angle of the flaps. As this angle increases, the
landing C
Do
increases too. The landing zerolift drag coefficient (C
DoL
) is often greater
than the takeoff zerolift drag coefficient (C
DoTO
). The drag polar at landing configuration
is given by
( )
2
L
L
o L
L D D
C K C C + = (3.51)
where C
LL
is the lift coefficient at landing. The C
LL
at the landing condition is given by
( )
2
2
L
L
V S
mg
C
L
~ (3.52)
where V
L
is the aircraft landing speed. It is noticeable that the landing speed (V
L
) and
takeoff speed (V
TO
) are often about 10%30% greater than stall speed. In chapter 8, take
off and landing performances will be discussed in detail.
126
3.6.4. The Effect of Speed and Altitude on C
Do
Reynolds number is one of the influential parameters on the zerolift drag coefficient. As
the Reynolds number increases, the boundary layer thickness decreases and thus C
Do
decreases too. As equation 3.16 shows, the Reynolds number is a function of true
airspeed. Since the true airspeed is a function of altitude, it can be concluded that the
Reynolds number is also a function of altitude. Another factor affecting C
Do
is the
compressibility that is significant at speeds higher than Mach 0.5. The third important
factor in wave drag as introduced in section 3.5.
Considering these factors, it is concluded that the C
Do
is a function of mach number and
altitude:
( ) h M f C
o
D
, = (3.53)
Adding up all important factors, we observe that at low Mach numbers, C
Do
is increased,
due to an increase in Reynolds number. As compressibility factor shows up in higher
subsonic speeds, the C
Do
increases with a higher rates. In transonic speeds, shock wave is
formed and a jump (increase) in C
Do
will be experienced. Therefore the C
Do
is directly
proportional with speed, and as speed (Mach number) is increased, the C
Do
is increased.
Figure 3.28 shows a typical variation of drag coefficient versus lift coefficient at various
Mach number.
Figure 3. 28. Drag for various Mach number (Ref 6)
The second factor that affects the C
Do
is altitude. For a specific Mach number, as the
altitude increases, the true airspeed is decreased. For instance, consider an aircraft is
flying with a speed of mach 0.5 at sea level. The true airspeed at this altitude is 170 m/sec
(0.5 x 340 = 170). If this aircraft is flying with the same Mach number at 11,000 ft
altitude, it true airspeed will be 147 m/sec (0.5 x 249 = 147). Thus, the higher altitude
means the lower Reynolds number and therefore higher C
Do
.
127
Figures 3.21 and 3.22 illustrate the variations of drag force for a light transport aircraft
(mass of 50,000 kg) with turbofan engine. Figure 3.29 shows this variation without
considering the compressibility effects and figure 3.30 shows this variation with
considering the compressibility effects. Both figures show these variations at various
altitudes. Comparing these two figures reveals the significance of the compressibility
effect on C
Do
.
Figure 3. 29. The variation of drag force without considering the compressibility effects
Figure 3. 30. The variation of drag force with considering the compressibility effects (Ref 6)
128
In conclusion, it can be assumed that at the speed of Mach numbers less than 0.7, the
variation of C
Do
is such that it can be considered constant. At higher Mach numbers, the
compressibility effect and wave drag must be taken into account. The second conclusion
is that, at higher altitude, total drag force is reduced. The reason is that, although at higher
altitude, the C
Do
is increased, but the air density is decreased. The rate of change
(decrease) in air density is faster than the rate of change (increase) of C
Do
. This is one of
the reasons why airlines choose to fly at higher altitude despite the need and cost of
climb.
Example 3.3:
Consider the aircraft in example 3.1 has a singleslotted flap with an average chord of
2.3. This aircraft takes off with flap angle of 20 degrees and lands with the flap angle of
35 degrees. Assume the C
Do
of landing gear is 0.01, K = 0.052 and takeof and landing
speed is 130 knot. Determine the aircraft C
Do
at takeoff and landing.
Solution:
The C
Do
of flap is given by
( )
B
f
f
D
A
C
C
C
flap
o
o


.

\

= (3.26)
From table 3.2, A = 0.00018 and B = 2, so
The C
Do
of flap at takeoff is
( ) 0178 . 0 20 00018 . 0
3 . 9
3 . 2
2
= 
.

\

=
flap
o
D
C (3.26)
The C
Do
of flap at landing is
( ) 0545 . 0 35 00018 . 0
3 . 9
3 . 2
2
=

.

\

=
flap
o
D
C (3.26)
The takeoff C
Do
is
051 . 0 01 . 0 0178 . 0 023 . 0 = + + = + + =
LG
o
TO
oflap
clean
o
TO
o
D D D D
C C C C (3.47)
To find aircraft C
D
, we need to find induced drag coefficient. The lift coefficient at take
off is
( ) ( )
16 . 2
5144 . 0 130 567 225 . 1
380000 2 9 . 0 2
9 . 0
2 2
=
= ~
LO
L
V S
mg
C
TO
(3.49)
129
243 . 0 16 . 2 052 . 0
2 2
= = =
L D
KC C
i
(3.12)
So C
DTO
is
( ) 294 . 0 243 . 0 051 . 0
2
= + = + =
TO
TO
o TO
L D D
C K C C (3.48)
For the landing:
( ) ( )
4 . 2
5144 . 0 130 567 225 . 1
380000 2 2
2 2
=
= ~
LO
L
V S
mg
C
L
(3.52)
3 . 0 4 . 2 052 . 0
2 2
= = =
L D
KC C
i
(3.12)
088 . 0 01 . 0 0545 . 0 023 . 0 = + + = + + =
LG
o
L
oflap
clean
o
L
o
D D D D
C C C C (3.47)
( ) 388 . 0 3 . 0 088 . 0
2
= + = + =
L
L
o L
L D D
C K C C (3.48)
Add materials about:
Supersonic flight speed measurement (pitot tube with normal shock)
130
Problems
Note: In all problems, assume ISA condition, unless otherwise stated.
1. A GA aircraft is flying at 5000 ft altitude. The length of the fuselage is 7 m, wing
mean aerodynamic chord is 1.5 m, horizontal tail mean aerodynamic chord is 1.5
m, and vertical tail mean aerodynamic chord is 0.6 m. Determine Reynolds
number of fuselage, wing, horizontal tail and vertical tail.
2. The following (figure 3.31) is a topview of Boeing 757 transport aircraft that has
a wing span of 38.05 m. Using a proper scale and using a series of measurements,
determine the wing reference (gross) area and wing net area of this aircraft.
Figure 3. 31. Topview of Boeing 757 transport aircraft
3. Estimate the wing wetted area of Boeing 757 (problem 2). Assume the wing has a
maximum thickness of 12%.
4. The mean aerodynamic chord a trainer aircraft is 3.1 m. This trainer is cruising at
seal level with a speed of Mach 0.3. Determine skin friction coefficient of the
wing when boundary layer over the wing is: a. laminar, b. turbulent.
5. A business jet with a 31 m
2
wing area and mass of 6500 kg is flying at 10,000 ft
altitude with a speed of 274 knot. If C
Do
= 0.026, K = 0.052, plot the followings:
131
a. drag polar
b. the variation of drag versus speed.
6. The tip chord of a wing is 6 m and its root chord is 9 m. What is the mean
aerodynamic chord?
7. The Attach aircraft Thunderbolt II (Fairchild A10A) has the following features:
m
TO
= 22,221 kg, S = 47 m
2
, K = 0.06, C
Do
= 0.032, V
max
= 377 knot, V
TO
= 120
knot. Assume that the C
Do
is constant throughout all speeds.
a. Plot the Variation of D
o
versus speed (from takeoff speed to maximum
speed)
b. Plot the Variation of D
i
versus speed (from takeoff speed to maximum
speed)
c. Plot the Variation of total D versus speed (from takeoff speed to
maximum speed)
d. What speed, the drag force is minimum at?
8. The wing of twinturbofan airliner Boeing 777 has 31.6 degrees of leading edge
sweepback, span of 60.93 m and planform area of 427.8 m
2
. Determine Oswald
efficiency factor (e) and induced drag correction factor (K) of this wing.
9. Determine Oswald efficiency factor of a wing with aspect ratio of 7 and leading
edge sweep of 20 degrees.
10. A single engine aircraft has a fixed lading gear with three similar tires. Each tire
has a diameter of 25 cm and thickness of 7 cm. The landing gear does not have
fairing and wing area is 26 m
2
. Determine zerolift drag coefficient of landing
gear.
11. A cargo airplane is cruising with a speed of Mach 0.47, taking off with a peed of
95 knots and landing with a speed of 88 knot. Its flap is deflected down 22
degrees during takeoff and 35 degrees during landing. The aircraft has a mass of
13,150 kg, wing area of 41.2 m
2
, and K = 0.048. The zero lift drag coefficients of
all components are
C
Dow
= 0.008, C
Dof
= 0.008, C
Dow
= 0.0064, C
Doht
= 0.0016, C
Dovt
= 0.0012,
C
Don
= 0.002, C
DoLG
= 0.015, C
Dos
= 0.004,
Determine drag force at
a. cruise
b. takeoff
c. landing
12. A Sweden aircraft designer is designing a fuselage for a 36passenger aircraft to
cruise at a Mach number of 0.55. He is thinking of two seating options: a. 12 rows
of three, and b. 18 rows of two passengers. If he selects option a, the fuselage
length would be 19.7 m with a diameter of 2.3 m. In option b the length would be
132
27.2 m with diameter of 1.55 m. What option yields the lowest fuselage zerolift
drag coefficient?
13. The amphibian airplane Lake LA250 (figure 3.32) has a wing with the following
features: S = 15.24 m
2
, b = 11.68 m, MAC =1.35 m, (t/c)
max
= 15%, airfoil:
NACA 4415, C
dminw
= 0.0042. The aircraft has a mass of 1678 kg and is cruising
at 155 knot. Determine the wing zerolift drag coefficient. For other information,
use the aircraft threeview that is provided.
Figure 3. 32. Threeview of amphibian airplane Lake LA250
14. Assume that the aircraft in problem 13 has a plain flap with chord ration of 0.2.
Determine wing C
Do
, when the flap is deflected 30 degrees during takeoff.
15. The fourseat light airplane Piper PA34 has a horizontal tail with the following
features: S
ht
= 3.6 m
2
, b = 4.14 m, (t/c)
max
= 15%, C
dmint
= 0.0056. The aircraft has
a mass of 2,154 kg, wing area of 19.39 m
2
and is cruising at 171 knot at an
altitude of 18,500 ft. Determine the horizontal tail zerolift drag coefficient.
16. A jet trainer has the following features:
m
TO
= 5630 kg, S = 25.1 m
2
, b = 17.4 m, e = 0.85, V
c
= 270 knot, C
Lmax
= 2.2, V
TO
=
1.2 Vs, V
Land
= 1.3 Vs, C
Doclean
= 0.032, C
DoflapTO
= 0.02, C
DoflapLand
= 0.035, C
DoLG
=
0.01.
Determine the aircraft drag at three flight conditions: a. clean, takeoff, and c.
landing.
17. The wings of the Y5B agricultural biplane are connected together thru two struts.
Each strut has a circular cross section with the length of 1.2 m and diameter of 4
cm. The total planform area of both wings is 38 m
2
, determine the zerolift drag
coefficient of struts.
133
18. A singleengine small aircraft has a wing area of 25.96 m
2
and a turboprop engine
that has a power of 600 hp. The aircraft is cruising at 25000 ft altitude with a
speed of 182 knot. What is its cooling drag coefficient? Assume K
e
= 2.
19. The F16 supersonic jet fighter (figure 3.33) with a mass 12,331 kg and wing area
of 27.8 m
2
is cruising at an altitude of 40,000 ft at Mach number of 2.1. The wing
span is 9.45 m and length of the fuselage is 15.3 m. Determine wave drag of this
jet, if the aircraft volume is considered to be 21.3 m
2
.
Figure 3.33. Fighter jet F16A threeview
20. Assume that F16 (problem 19) is flying at a Mach number of 1.2 at the same
altitude. What is wave drag of this fighter at this flight condition? Compare the
result with the result of problem 19 and comment about your finding.
134
References
1. USAF Stability and Control Datcom, D.E. Hoak, 1978, Air Force Flight
Dynamics Laboratory, WrightPatterson Air Force Base, Ohio
2. B. W. McCormick, Aerodynamics, Aeronautics, and Flight Dynamics, John
Wiley, 1995
3. Theory of Wing Sections, Ira H. Abbott and A. E. von Doenhoff, 1959, Dover
4. Horner, S. R., FluidDynamic Drag, Midland Park, NJ, 1965
5. Ross, Richard, and Neal, R.D. Learjet Model 25 Drag Analysis, Proceeding of the
NASAIndustryUniversity GA drag reduction workshop, Lawrence, KS, July 14
16, 1975
6. R. Shevell, Fundamentals of Flight, Second Edition, 1989, Prentice Hall
7. J. Anderson, Modern Compressible Flow, Third edition, 2005, McGrawHill
8. Dietrich Kuchemann, Aerodynamic Design of Aircraft, Pergamon Pr, 1978
9. Aircraft Design: A Conceptual Approach, Raymer D. P., AIAA, 2006
10. J. Anderson, Fundamentals of Aerodynamics, third edition, 2005, McGrawHill
11. Roskam J. Airplane Design, Volume VI, 2004