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# Basic Aerodynamics

Basic Aerodynamics

## Dartmouth Flying Club

October 10, 2002
Andreas Bentz
Basic Aerodynamics

Lift

Bernoulli’s Principle
Energy
■ Definition: Energy is the ability to do work.
■ Energy cannot be created or destroyed. We
can only change its form.
■ A fluid in motion has (mainly) two forms of
energy:
◆ kinetic energy (velocity),
◆ potential energy (pressure).

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The Venturi Tube and Bernoulli’s Principle

## kinetic energy velocity

(velocity) increases
potential energy pressure
(pressure) decreases

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Lift: Wing Section
■ Air flows toward the low pressure area above the wing:
upwash and downwash.
■ Newton’s third law of motion: to every action there is an
equal and opposite reaction.
◆ “The reaction to downwash is, in fact, that misunderstood force
called lift.” Schiff p. 8

## relative low pressure

upwash downwash
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Angle of Attack
■ The angle of attack is the angle between the chord line and
the average relative wind.
■ Greater angle of attack creates more lift (up to a point).

total
lift
chord
line
average
r elative w
in d

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Lift and Induced Drag
■ Lift acts through the center of pressure, and
perpendicular to the relative wind.
■ This creates induced drag.
induced drag

effective total
lift lift
chord
line
average
r elative w
in d

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Got Lift? Flaps
■ Flaps increase
the wing’s
camber.
◆ Some also
increase the
wing area
(fowler flap).
■ Almost all jet
transports also
edge flaps.
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Too Much Lift? Spoilers
■ Spoilers destroy lift:
◆ to slow down in flight (flight spoilers);
◆ for roll control in flight (flight spoilers);
◆ to slow down on the ground (ground spoilers).

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Basic Aerodynamics

Side Effects

## There is no such things as a free lunch.

Drag: Total Drag (Power Required) Curve

1,400

1,200
max.
lift/drag
1,000
best glide
800

600
■ induced drag
■ parasite drag 400
Drag (lbs)

◆ resistance 200
■ total drag
50 100 150 200
Indicated Airspeed (knots)
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Wingtip Vortices and Wake Turbulence

## ■ Wingtip vortices create drag:

◆ “ground effect”;
◆ tip tanks, drooped wings, “winglets”.
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Basic Aerodynamics

Stability

## Longitudinal: Static, Dynamic

Lateral
Longitudinal Stability

lift
down lift

weight
■ Static stability (tendency to return after control input)
◆ up elevator increases downward lift, angle of attack increases;
◆ lift increases, drag increases, aircraft slows;
◆ less downward lift, angle of attack decreases (nose drops).
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Aside: CG and Center of Pressure Location

lift
down lift

weight
■ Aft CG increases speed:
◆ the tail creates less lift (less drag);
◆ the tail creates less down force (wings need to create less lift).
◆ This also decreases stall speed (lower angle of attack req’d).
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Lateral Stability
■ If one wing is lowered (e.g. by turbulence), the
airplane sideslips.
◆ The lower wing has a greater angle of attack (more
lift).
◆ This raises the lower wing.

l at ive l at ive
re re
d d
win win
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Directional Stability
■ As the airplane turns to the left (e.g. in
turbulence), the vertical stabilizer creates lift
toward the left.
◆ The airplane turns to the right.

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Speed Stability v. Reverse Command
■ Power curve: 1,400

Percent horsepower
100%
◆ Power is work
performed by the 1,200 max.
engine. (Thrust is force endurance
created by the 1,000 ca. 75% of
propeller.) max.
800 lift/drag
■ Suppose airspeed 50%

## Drag (thrust required)

decreases. 600
◆ “Front Side”: Power is
400
greater than required:
aircraft accelerates.
200
◆ “Back Side”: Power is
less than required:
50 100 150 200
aircraft decelerates.
Indicated Airspeed (knots)
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Basic Aerodynamics

Turning Flight

Differential Lift
Turning Flight
■ More lift on one wing than
on the other results in roll
around the longitudinal
axis (bank).
◆ Lowering the aileron on one
wing results in greater lift
and raises that wing.

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Turning Flight, cont’d
■ More lift on one wing than
on the other results in roll
around the longitudinal axis
(bank).
◆ Lowering the aileron on one
wing results in greater lift and
raises that wing.
◆ This tilts lift sideways.
◆ The horizontal component of Centrifugal
Force
lift makes the airplane turn.
◆ (To maintain altitude, more
total lift needs to be created:
higher angle of attack req’d)

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■ However, more lift on one
wing creates more
induced drag on that
by rudder application.
■ Frise ailerons counter
◆ They create parasite drag
on the up aileron.
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Basic Aerodynamics

Stalls

Stalls

## ■ A wing section stalls when its critical angle of

attack is exceeded.
◆ Indicated stall speed depends on how much lift the
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Stalls, cont’d
■ The disturbed airflow over the wing hits the tail and the
horizontal stabilizer. This is the “buffet”.
■ Eventually, there will not be enough airflow over the
horizontal stabilizer, and it loses its downward lift. The
nose drops: the stall “breaks”.

lift
weight

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Stalls, cont’d
■ The whole wing
never stalls at the
same time.
◆ Power-on stalls in
most light singles
allow the wing to
stall more fully.
Why?
■ Where do you
want the wing to
stall last?
◆ Ailerons

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Stalls, cont’d (Stalls with one Engine Inop.)
■ Stalls in a
twin with
one engine
inoperative
or spin
entry:
◆ Propeller
slipstream
delays
stall.
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Stalls, cont’d
■ Stall strips make the wing stall sooner.

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Stalls, cont’d
■ Definition: The angle of incidence is the acute angle
between the longitudinal axis of the airplane and the
chord line of the wing.
■ Twist in the wing makes the wing root stall first:
◆ The angle of incidence decreases away from the wing root.

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Preventing Stalls

## ■ Slats direct airflow over the wing to avoid boundary

layer separation.
■ Slots are similar but fixed, near the wingtips.
◆ Delays stall near the wingtip (aileron effectiveness).
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Stalls and Turns
■ Greater angles of bank require greater lift so
that:
◆ the vertical component of lift equals weight (to
maintain altitude),
◆ the horizontal component of lift equals centrifugal

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Stalls and Turns, cont’d
(multiple of factor:
aircraft gross
weight the
wings acrobatic 6G
support)
increases
Normal 3.8G
with bank
angle.
■ Stall speed
increases
accordingly.
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Turns
■ As bank increases, load factor increases.
■ But: as airspeed increases, rate of turn
decreases.
◆ In order to make a 3 degree per second turn, at 500
Kts the airplane would have to bank more than 50
degrees.
■ This is why for jet-powered airplanes, a
standard rate turn is 1.5 degrees per second.

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Basic Aerodynamics

## In the Flight Levels

High and Fast
■ Mach is the ratio of the true airspeed to the
speed of sound.
◆ Speed of sound decreases with temperature.
◆ Temperature decreases with altitude.
◆ At higher altitudes, the same indicated airspeed leads
to higher Mach numbers.
◆ Conversely: at higher altitudes, a certain Mach
number can be achieved at a lower indicated
airspeed.
■ The indicated stall speed increases with altitude
(compressibility).
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High and Fast, cont’d
■ At high subsonic speeds, portions of the wing can induce
supersonic airflow (critical Mach number Mcrit).
■ Where the airflow slows to subsonic speeds, a
shockwave forms.
■ The shockwave causes boundary layer separation.
◆ High-speed buffet, “aileron snatch”, “Mach tuck”.

## velocity velocity decreases,

increases shockwave forms
boundary layer
separates

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High and Fast, cont’d
■ Vortex generators delay boundary layer
separation.

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High and Fast, cont’d
■ With altitude:
◆ indicated
stall speed
(low speed
buffet)
increases;
◆ indicated
airspeed
that results
in critical
Mcrit
decreases.
■ coffin corner

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References
■ De Remer D (1992) Aircraft Systems for Pilots
Casper: IAP
■ FAA (1997) Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical
Knowledge AC61-23C Newcastle: ASA
■ Lowery J (2001) Professional Pilot Ames: Iowa
State Univ. Press
■ Schiff B (1985) The Proficient Pilot vol. 1 New
York: Macmillan
■ U.S. Navy (1965) Aerodynamics for Naval
Aviators Newcastle: ASA
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