You are on page 1of 93




Aerodynamics is derived from two words

AERO meaning AIR DYNAMICS meaning force of power

So Aerodynamics means


Air is a mixture of gases

Air has weigh

Since air answers the definition of fluid, it is considered a FLUID

Pressure of Atmosphere

The atmospheric pressure at sea level is 14.7 p.s.i or 29.92 inches of mercury.

Since air has weight so as we go higher, the atmospheric pressure decreases.

Density is defined as weight per unit volume

Density is pressure




Density is inversely proportional to Temperature


Humidity is the amount of water vapor in the air

Higher the temperature, more amount of water vapor it can hold


Density of air varies inversely with the humidity

Water vapor weighs approximately 5/8th as much as an equal amount of perfectly dry air

The atmospheric temperature falls off at a steady rate as altitude increases This is called lapse rate. Its value is 6.50C for every 1000m of altitude increase. This is up to 11 kms.

Bernoullis Principle
Bernoullis Principle states that

pv = constant
( p = Pressure, v = Velocity)


An aircraft is acted upon by four forces Gravity or weight The force that pulls aircraft towards earth

Thrust The force that moves the aircraft forward

Lift The forces that pushes the aircraft upward

Drag The force that exerts a braking action


An aerofoil is a surface designed to obtain a desirable reaction from the air through which it moves/gains lift.


Aerofoils Terminology

The chord line is an imaginary straight line drawn through an aerofoil from leading and trailing edge.

Leading edge
This part of the aerofoil meets the airflow first.

Trailing edge
This is the portion of aerofoil where the airflow over the upper surface rejoins the lower surface.

The camber of an aerofoil is the characteristic curve of its upper and lower surface.

Relative wind
This is the direction of airflow with respect to wing

Angle of attack
The angle between the chord line and the direction of relative wind

Angle of incidence
The angle between chord line and longitudinal axis of a/c.

Center of Pressure
The point where the total lift force is acting is called center of pressure.

Lift and Drag

By experiment, lift and drag of an aerofoil depends on

The shape of the aerofoil The plan area of the aerofoil The square of the velocity The density of air

So, L = 1CLV2S, (CL = Lift co-efficient) 2 CL depends upon shape of aerofoil and angle of attack D = 1CDV2S (CD = Drag co-efficient) 2 CD depends upon shape of aerofoil and angle of attack

Angle of lift/drag



The lift increases as angle of attack increases

This increases is upto a certain angle

Beyond this lift decreases rapidly

This angle of maximum lift know as Critical angle

Wing area and lift/Drag

Wing area is area of the shadow cast by wing at high noon Includes the area blanked by the fuselage. Lift and drag are proportional to wing area

Shape of lift/drag



The shape of aerofoil determines the amount of skin friction or turbulence produced

Turbulence and skin friction are controlled mainly be fineness ratio

Fineness ration =

Chord maximum thickness

High fineness ratio, thin wing and hence large amount of skin friction

For general use, maximum thickness occurs 1/3rd way back from leading edge.

Aspect Ratio = wing span chord

Higher the aspect ratio, higher the lift obtained

Lift/Drag ratio

Efficiency of a wing is measured in terms of the L/D (Lift/Drag) ratio

This ratio varies with angle of attack

L/D ratio increases very rapidly up to about 30 to 40

At these angle lift is 24 times the drag

Beyond this L/D ratio gradually falls

Stalling of Aerofoil
The angle of attack at which the lift co-efficient of an aerofoil is maximum and beyond which it begins to decrease is called stalling angle

This is because airflow becomes separated instead of streamlined

Drag and Types of Drag

Total drag can be divided in to three types

Profile drag Induced Drag

Parasite Drag

Parasite Drag
The drag of those parts of aircraft which do not contribute towards the lift.

Form Drag
Form drag is created by any structure which protrudes into the relative wind. Streamlining reduces drag.

Skin friction drag

Skin friction drag is caused by the roughness of airplanes surface

Interference drag
It occurs when varied currents of air over an airplane meet and interact

Induced drag
The action of aerofoil that gives us lift also cause induced drag

It increases with increase of angle of attack

It results in production of wingtip vortex.

Total Drag
Total Drag is defined as the sum Parasite drag and induced drag

It first decreases and then increases as the speed of aircraft increases

Axis of aircraft
Aircraft maneuvering flight takes place around one or more of three axes of rotation

These are longitudinal, lateral and vertical axis.

Motion about the longitudinal axis is called Roll

Motion about the lateral axis is called Pitch

Motion about the vertical axis is called Yaw

Stability and control

Stability of an a/c causes it to fly in a straight & level flight plan

It is the ability of an a/c to be directed along a desired flight path

It is the quality of the response of an aircraft to the pilot commands

Static Stability
It is the initial tendency that an object displays after its equilibrium is disrupted

Type of static stability Positive Static stability

An airplane with positive static stability tends to return to its original attitude after displacement

Negative Static stability

A tendency to move farther away from the original attitude following a disturbance is called negative static stability.

Neutral static stability

If an airplane tends to remain in its displace attitude it has neutral static stability.

Dynamic stability
Dynamic stability describes the time required for an airplane to respond to its static stability following a displacement from a condition of equilibrium.

Types of Dynamic stability Positive dynamic stability

If its tendency is to return to the original attitude directly through a series of decreasing oscillation is called positive dynamic stability

Negative dynamic stability

If the resulting oscillations increases in magnitude as time progresses, it is known as negative dynamic stability.

Neutral dynamic stability

Neutral dynamic stability is indicated if the airplane tends to return to its state of equilibrium but the oscillations are neither increase nor decrease in magnitude as time passes.

Longitudinal Stability

The longitudinal stability is about the lateral axis

So, longitudinal stability refers to motion in Pitch

The horizontal stabilizer is the primary surface which controls longitudinal stability

The action of stabilizer depends upon the speed and angle of attack of the aircraft

Directional stability
The stability about the vertical axis is referred to as directional stability So, directional stability refers to the motion in yaw. The vertical stabilizer is the primary surface which controls directional stability

Methods to enhance directional stability

Sweptback wing Large Dorsal fin Long fuselage Ventral fin

Lateral stability
Lateral stability of an aircraft involves consideration of rolling moments due to side slip A side slip tends to produce both a rolling and yawing motion Wings are the primary control surface to enhance lateral stability

Methods to enhance lateral stability

Sweptback wing

Dihedral angle


Control is the action to make the aircraft follow any desired fly path.

Different control surfaces are used to control the aircraft about each of the three axis.

Flight Control surfaces

These surfaces may be divided into three groups

Primary group
Primary group includes elevators and rudders the ailerons

Secondary group
Included in secondary group are the tabs.

Auxiliary group
Included in auxiliary group are wing flaps, spoilers, speed brakes, slats, leading edge flaps and slots.

Control axis



The motion of the aircraft about the longitudinal axis is called rolling or banking. It is done with the help of ailerons Ailerons are linked together so that one aileron is down the opposite aileron is up

Adverse yaw
As a result of increased lift in the wing with lowered aileron the drag is also increased. This drag pulls the nose in the direction opposite to that desired.

It is caused by what is known as Aileron drag

It can be avoided
use of differential aileron travel

use of spoilers

use of frinse ailerons

Control about vertical axis

The motion of the aircraft about the vertical axis is called yawing.

It is done with the help of rudders

Control about lateral axis

The motion of the aircraft about the vertical axis is called pitching.

It is done with the help of elevators.


These are small hinge control surfaces attached to the trailing edge of the primary control surfaces

The tabs can be moved up or down.

Types of tabs

Trim tab
These are used to trim out any holding forces encountered in flight such as those occurring after a change of flight path due to gust wind or any undesirable flight altitude

Trim tabs are either control from the cockpit or adjusted on the ground

Servo tab
Servo tab, sometimes refer to as flight tabs, are used primarily on the large main control surfaces. They aid in moving the control surface and holding it in the desired position. Only the servo tab moves in response to the movement of the cockpit control.

Balance Tabs
A balance tab moves in the opposite direction to that of main control surface. Thus assisting the movement of main control surface by reducing the aerodynamic force

Spring tabs

Spring tabs are used for the same purpose as hydraulic actuator i.e. to aid in moving a primary control surface

A spring tab is hinged to the trailing edge of each aileron

Lift Augmenting Devices

The use of flaps increases the camber of a wing and therefore the lift of the wing making it possible for the speed of the aircraft to be decreased without stalling.

Flaps are primarily used during take off and landing

Types of flaps Plain

To the plain flap is simply hinged to the wing and forms a part of the wing surface

Split flap
The split flap is hinged at the bottom part of the wing near the trailing edge

The fowler flap increases camber as well as wing area. They provide added lift without increasing drag.

Slotted flap
The slotted flap is like the fowler flap in operation, but in appearance is like a flap having a slot in its leading edge.

Boundary devices



Boundary layer control devices additional means of increasing the maximum lift coefficient of a section

Types of Boundary control Devices

Fixed slot Slats Automatic slot Boundary layer suction device Jet flap


Mach Number
It is the ratio between true air speed to the speed of sound



Speed of sound

Different regimes of flight Subsonic

Flight mach numbers below 0.75

Flight mach number from .75 to 1.20

Flight mach number from 1.200 to 5.00

Flight mach number above 5.00