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# Basic Aerodynamics

Basic Aerodynamics
Basic Aerodynamics

Lift

Bernoullis 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 Bernoullis 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.
Newtons 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

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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

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Got Lift? Flaps

Flaps increase
the wings
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.
1,000 lift/drag
best glide
800

600
induced drag
400
parasite drag
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 reqd).
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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.

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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
1,200 max.
performed by the
endurance
engine. (Thrust is 1,000
force created by the ca. 75% of
max.
propeller.) 800 lift/drag
50%
Suppose airspeed
Drag (thrust required)
600
decreases.
Front Side: Power is 400

## greater than required:

200
aircraft accelerates.
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, contd
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.
Centrifugal
This tilts lift sideways. Force
The horizontal component
of lift makes the airplane
turn.
(To maintain altitude, more
total lift needs to be created:
higher angle of attack reqd)
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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, contd
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, contd
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, contd (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, contd

## Stall strips make the wing stall sooner.

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Stalls, contd
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, contd
(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

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

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, contd
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, contd

## Vortex generators delay boundary layer

separation.

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High and Fast, contd
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) Pilots 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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