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Contents

1.

ATMOSPHERE ......................................................................................... 1-1


1.1 NATURE ...................................................................................................1-1
1.2 PROPERTIES ............................................................................................ 1-1

2.

AERODYNAMICS ..................................................................................... 2-1


2.1 MASS FLOW ............................................................................................. 2-1
2.2 ENERGY...................................................................................................2-1

3.

AEROFOILS .............................................................................................. 3-1


3.1 AERODYNAMIC FORCES ............................................................................3-1
3.2 DEFINITIONS............................................................................................. 3-2
3.3 AERODYNAMIC RESULTANTS .....................................................................3-3
3.4 LIFT & DRAG............................................................................................. 3-3
3.5 FACTORS AFFECTING FORCES ...................................................................3-3
3.5.1 Lift & drag coefficient .......................................................................3-4
3.5.2 Angle of attack ................................................................................3-5
3.6 CENTRE OF PRESSURE .............................................................................3-6
3.6.1 Pitching moment coefficient ............................................................. 3-7
3.7 AERODYNAMIC CENTRE.............................................................................3-8
3.8 DOWNWASH ............................................................................................. 3-8

4.

DRAG ........................................................................................................4-1
4.1 DRAG EQUATION....................................................................................... 4-1
4.2 DRAG COEFFICIENT ..................................................................................4-1
4.3 DRAG COMPONENTS .................................................................................4-1
4.4 FLOW CHARACTERISTICS ..........................................................................4-1
4.5 FORM DRAG ............................................................................................. 4-1
4.6 BOUNDARY LAYERS ..................................................................................4-2
4.7 SKIN FRICTION.......................................................................................... 4-3
4.7.1 Transition point ................................................................................4-3
4.7.2 Reynolds number ............................................................................4-4
4.7.3 Adverse pressure gradient .............................................................. 4-4
4.8 SEPARATION ............................................................................................ 4-4
4.9 INTERFERENCE DRAG ...............................................................................4-5
4.10 INDUCED DRAG ..................................................................................... 4-5
4.10.1 Vortex diagram ............................................................................4-6
4.11 TOTAL DRAG ......................................................................................... 4-8
4.11.1 Drag polar .................................................................................... 4-8

5.

FORCES IN FLIGHT .................................................................................5-1


5.1 FOUR FORCES .......................................................................................... 5-1
5.2 STRAIGHT & LEVEL ...................................................................................5-1
5.3 FORCES IN CLIMB ..................................................................................... 5-2
5.4 FORCES IN GLIDE & DESCENT ...................................................................5-3
5.5 RATE OF CLIMB (PERFORMANCE) ............................................................... 5-3
5.5.1 Power curves ..................................................................................5-4
5.5.2 Effect of altitude ..............................................................................5-5

6.

FORCES & MANOEUVRE ........................................................................6-1


6.1 CENTRIPETAL FORCE ................................................................................6-1
6.2 LOOPING..................................................................................................6-1
6.3 LOAD FACTOR .......................................................................................... 6-2
6.4 LEVEL TURNS ........................................................................................... 6-2
6.5 STALLING .................................................................................................6-3
6.5.1 Stalling speed..................................................................................6-3

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6.5.2 Effect of weight / load factor ............................................................ 6-3


6.5.3 Aerofoil Contamination .................................................................... 6-4
6.6 FLIGHT ENVELOPES .................................................................................. 6-4
7.

STABILITY ................................................................................................ 7-1


7.1 BASIC CONCEPT & DEFINITION................................................................... 7-1
7.2 STATIC STABILITY ..................................................................................... 7-1
7.3 DYNAMIC STABILITY .................................................................................. 7-2
7.4 AIRCRAFT STABILITY ................................................................................. 7-2
7.5 DESIGN FEATURES ................................................................................... 7-3
7.6 CONTROL ................................................................................................ 7-7
7.7 CONTROL ABOUT 3 AXES .......................................................................... 7-9
7.8 AERODYNAMIC BALANCING........................................................................ 7-9
7.9 EFFECTS OF TABS .................................................................................. 7-10
7.10 FIXED & TRIM TABS ............................................................................. 7-11
7.11 BALANCE TABS ................................................................................... 7-12
7.12 LIFT AUGMENTATION ........................................................................... 7-13
7.13 USE OF HIGH LIFT DEVICES .................................................................. 7-14
7.14 FLAPS, SLOTS & SLATS........................................................................ 7-15
7.15 DRAG DEVICES ................................................................................... 7-17

8.

HIGH SPEED FLIGHT............................................................................... 8-1


8.1 HIGH SPEED AIRFLOW ............................................................................... 8-1
8.2 SHOCK WAVES ......................................................................................... 8-1
8.2.1 Mach angle & Mach cone ................................................................ 8-2
8.3 GROWTH OF A SHOCKWAVE SYSTEM.......................................................... 8-3
8.4 SPEED OF SOUND..................................................................................... 8-3
8.5 MACH NUMBER ......................................................................................... 8-4
8.6 EFFECTS OF A SHOCKWAVE ...................................................................... 8-6
8.7 SHOCK INDUCED SEPARATION ................................................................... 8-8
8.8 SHOCK INDUCED DRAG ............................................................................. 8-8
8.8.1 Buffet .............................................................................................. 8-8
8.8.2 High speed / low incidence stall ( shock stall).................................. 8-9
8.9 CENTRE OF PRESSURE CHANGES .............................................................. 8-9
8.10 CONTROLLED SEPARATION - CONICAL VORTEX LIFT ............................. 8-10
8.11 TRANSONIC FLIGHT ............................................................................. 8-10
8.12 CRITICAL MACH (MCRIT) ........................................................................ 8-11
8.12.1 Transonic wing planform............................................................ 8-11
8.13 SWEEP BACK ...................................................................................... 8-12
8.14 INSTABILITY........................................................................................ 8-13
8.15 THE SUPER CRITICAL WING .................................................................. 8-14
8.16 SHOCK-FREE COMPRESSION ............................................................... 8-15
8.17 THE TRANSONIC AREA RULE ................................................................ 8-16
8.18 BUFFET BOUNDARY............................................................................. 8-17
8.19 AIRFLOW THROUGH AN OBLIQUE SHOCKWAVE ...................................... 8-18
8.20 SUPERSONIC AEROFOIL SECTIONS ....................................................... 8-18
8.20.1 Flat plate aerofoil ....................................................................... 8-19
8.20.2 Generation of lift ........................................................................ 8-19
8.20.3 Double wedge aerofoil section ................................................... 8-20
8.20.4 Bi-convex aerofoil section .......................................................... 8-21
8.20.5 Pressure distribution .................................................................. 8-21
8.21 SUPERSONIC WING PLANFORMS........................................................... 8-22
8.21.1 The unswept supersonic wing ................................................... 8-22
8.21.2 The swept supersonic wing ....................................................... 8-23
8.21.3 Subsonic & supersonic trailing edges ........................................ 8-24
8.21.4 Supersonic engine intakes......................................................... 8-25

9.

HELICOPTER AERODYNAMICS ............................................................. 9-1


9.1 CYCLIC & COLLECTIVE CONTROLS ............................................................. 9-3

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9.2 ANTI-TORQUE CONTROL ...........................................................................9-4


9.3 EFFECT OF THE TAIL ROTOR ......................................................................9-5
9.4 MAIN ROTOR HEAD CONFIGURATION & MOVEMENT ......................................9-5

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1. ATMOSPHERE
Most civil aircraft operate between Sea Level (SL) and 45,000 feet. Our studies
of the atmosphere concentrate on this region.

1.1 NATURE
The atmosphere is composed of 78% Nitrogen, 21% Oxygen and 1% of other
gases (e.g. Carbon Dioxide, Hydrogen, Neon etc). These percentages are
volumetric.

1.2 PROPERTIES
Any gas will have the physical properties such as pressure, density and
temperature, which can vary (as in an air-breathing engine). Study of the above
diagram will show how these properties vary within the atmosphere. Because of
these variations, the performance of an aircraft will vary. If meaningful
comparisons between measured performance are to be made, some standard or
datum conditions must be established. This standard is termed as the
International Standard Atmosphere (ISA).
An ISA is based on the following SL criteria.

SL Pressure

SL Density

1.225 kg/m3

SL Temperature

15C / 288 K

SL Lapse rate

1.98C / 1000 feet (6.5k/km)

1013.2 millibars / hecto pascals

Study of the diagram will highlight a particular characteristic of the lapse rate. It
is initially 1.98C/1000 feet and virtually constant up to approximately 36,000 feet,
and then the lapse rate is zero. This feature is used in order to establish different
regions. The lowest region is the Troposphere and the next region is the
Stratosphere. The boundary between the two is known as the Tropopause.
(The upper regions need not be seriously considered for our purposes).
Air also contains varying amounts of water vapour. This presence is known as
humidity. It is a fact that air is most dense when it is perfectly dry, and vice
versa.

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2. AERODYNAMICS
Aerodynamics is the study of air in motion, which includes changes in the
physical characteristics, such as pressure and density. (Thermodynamics is
similar but is likely to involve significant temperature changes). Because the air
is in motion, changes in velocity and mass flow-rates are also important.
Aerodynamics also involves the study of forces being generated (e.g. the "lift"
force on a wing), and so a brief mention must be made of some basic principles.

2.1 MASS FLOW


Volumetric flow-rate is given by

Av

Mass-flow rate is given by AV

(m3/s) where A = cross-sectional area


(kg/s)

v = velocity
= density

In a converging / diverging duct, the mass flow rate must be constant (what goes
in must come out) and if density is unchanged, volumetric flow rate will also
remain constant. (This is shown by A 1 V1 = A2V2). If the cross-sectional area
changes then the velocity will change. (Area reduces, then velocity increases).

2.2 ENERGY
This change in velocity implies a corresponding change in kinetic energy
(KE = mv2). The principle known as Conservation of Energy suggests that
unless extra energy is introduced into a moving airstream (such as fuel) the
overall energy content must remain unchanged from one point to another.
Hence, if KE increases some other energy form decreases.
Bernoulli's equation highlights the relationship between pressure energy and
kinetic energy.
P
pressure
(static)

v2
kinetic
(dynamic)

Constant
total
("Pitot")

This can be expressed as p1 + v21 = p2 + v22 . This implies that if v2 is


greater than v1 (as in the throat of a venturi, then p2 is less than p1, i.e. there is
a drop in pressure).
This is of particular interest to students of aeronautics because the flow through a
venturi has similar characteristics to the flow over an aerofoil. )The aerofoils
cambered shaped is virtually the shape of a venturi). Bernoulli's equation
showing the relationship between changes of pressure and velocity is used to
explain the "lifting" effect of aerofoil (see diagram on the following page).

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3. AEROFOILS
There are several theories used to describe how a lifting force is generated by
the action of air in motion past an aerofoil. Whatever the theory, the lift force
results from a difference between the pressures acting in the upper and lower
surfaces.

3.1 AERODYNAMIC FORCES


The diagrams shows a typical pressure distribution around an aerofoil. This can
be determined by the wind - tunnel experiment, where the pressures acting at
several points on the aerofoil can be measured using manometers. The
manometer will indicate the difference in the static pressure (p) acting at a
particular point and the free - stream static (po). This difference (p - po) at each
point is plotted to give the distribution shown. The length of the arrows represent
the pressure difference; the direction of the arrows represent the sense; towards
the surface indicates pressure greater than static, away from the surface
indicates less than static (i.e. a "suction"). Different distributions will result from
different angles of attack.

Aerodynamic forces result from the action of these aerodynamic pressures acting
on the areas of the aerofoil surfaces. It is possibly clearer to understand the
effect of these pressures by studying the diagram below. On this, the pressures
have been plotted, using the chord line as a datum. Note that negative (suction)
pressure has been plotted upwards. The difference (or area enclosed) between
the two curves is proportional to the overall lifting - effect of the aerofoil.

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3.2 DEFINITIONS
Aerofoil is the term used to describe the characteristic shape of the cross-section
of an aircraft wing, and whose purpose is to generate lift. Discussion of aerofoil
performance is the main purpose of this module, and so some descriptions and
definitions of this shape will be essential. (Note that the aerofoil section is
considered with its plane parallel to the relative airflow).

Relative AirFlow (RAF) is the movement of the air relative to the aircraft (or
aerofoil). (In practice, it is the aircraft which moves relative to the air, but in
aerodynamic theory and wind - tunnel experiment, it is the air which is
considered to be in motion).

Leading Edge is the foremost point on the aerofoil.

Trailing Edge is the rear-most point on the aerofoil.

Chord Line is the straight line joining leading and trailing edges.

Chord Length (C) is the length of the chord line.

Camber Line is the line drawn through points equidistant from the upper and
lower surfaces. (The camber line is usually a curved line; the greater the
curvature, the greater will be the aerodynamic forces generated).

Thickness of an aerofoil is the greatest distance between the upper and


1
1
lower surfaces. (It is generally between and way back along the chord
3
2
line).
Thickness / chord ratio
percentage.

thickness chord, normally expressed as a

Angle of Attack () - the angle formed between the chord-line and relative
airflow.

Span (b) is the distance from tip to tip, measured perpendicular to the chord
line.

Aspect Ratio (AR) is

b
Span chord .
c

If the wing is tapered, i.e. it has a varying chord, then the AR may be
b2
expressed as span2 wing area =
.
s

Wing Area (S) is the area projected onto a plane perpendicular to the normal
axis.

Stagnation Point is a point on the surface of the aerofoil where the RAF has
been brought to rest.

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3.3 AERODYNAMIC RESULTANTS


Whether the student studies pressures or forces depends largely on the depth of
his studies. It is simpler to consider forces and this will be sufficient for much of
this module.
It has been stated that pressure acting on area produces a force. The force (F)
resulting from air in motion, is termed 'an aerodynamic force'. The pressure
distribution is then replaced by an arrow representing this force in terms of
magnitude and direction.
The line of action of the force determines the centre of pressure; i.e. that point
(CP) on the chord line through which the aerodynamic force can be considered to
act.

3.4 LIFT & DRAG


It is of greater benefit to resolve the force F into 2 components which are
defined as:
Lift - the component of aerodynamic force resolved perpendicular to the
RAF.
Drag - the component of force resolved parallel to the RAF.
This is so that variation of lift and drag (associated with variation in angle of
attack and camber) can be studied individually. It will be appreciated that the
purpose of the aerofoil is to generate lift so as to overcome the effect of weight the drag should be seen as an unavoidable obstacle to motion.

3.5 FACTORS AFFECTING FORCES


What factors affect the magnitude of these aerodynamic forces? Clearly, the
greater the area and the greater the pressure involved.
What effects the pressure force? The greater the suction, the greater the lift.
The suction (p-po) will be greatest when the static pressure (p) is least and this
will occur when the velocity (v) is greatest.

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Summarising, it can be stated that (following on from Bernoulli).


Aerodynamic force is proportional to
fluid density (fluid velocity)2 (area of body surface)
F proportional to v2S
(similarly, Lift and Drag are proportional to v2S)
So density, velocity and area are all factors that affect Lift and Drag. (There are a
number of other factors but only two more will be considered at this stage.)
Note that we have made a statement of proportionality;
It is not an equation just yet. This will be derived by wind-tunnel the
experiment.
3.5.1 LIFT & DRAG COEFFICIENT
If an aerofoil is placed in a wind tunnel, tests may be conducted to establish
pressure distributions, or to measure forces. Suppose the aerofoil (area S) is
placed in the tunnel and air (density ) is drawn across the aerofoil at a constant
velocity (v). Then Lift and Drag forces will be generated. These forces may be
measured on a force - balance rig. Because it has been stated that forces
change as angle of attack () changes, will be measured as well.
Remember that L proportional to v2S.
An equation may be formed L = Cv2S by including some number (or
coefficient) c.
Now from the experiment, L is measured, , v, S are known (measured) and so
L
C =
.
v2S
The coefficient used to form the equation has been deduced from the results of
the experiment (it is worth noting that the term v2 is often replaced by q;
L
therefore C =
).
qS
The same can be done for the drag case.
C =

D
qS

but we must clearly differentiate between the different cases and


values of C.

L
= CL (the lift coefficient).
qS
D
= CD (the drag coefficient).
qS
The two other factors, which affect the aerodynamic forces, can now be
included. It will be found by experiment that C L and CD will vary (or change)
when either angle of attack () or aerofoil camber (shape) is changed.

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3.5.2 ANGLE OF ATTACK


The factors affecting Lift and Drag have just been outlined. All can be determined
by experiment but changes in the force are generally deduced from the
relationship between CL (or CD) and . These relationships are best shown
graphically. (The general shape of these graphs must be memorised by any
aeronautical student!).

Note how CL increases steadily (and linearly) as increases, up to a maximum,


after which it decreases rapidly.
Note how CD is a curve that increases steadily, but that the rate of increase
becomes greater.
If the experiment were repeated with aerofoil of different camber or shape, the
general shape of the graphs would be similar, but the curves would be displaced
vertically and/or horizontally.
A final but important point to consider is this section is the Lift to Drag ratio.
L
v2S CL
CL
=
=
2
D
CD
v S CD
Lift is what is required - it should be maximised.
Drag is not required - It should be minimised.
So for maximum aerodynamic efficiency, the

CL
ratio should be as great as
CD

possible.
This ratio cannot be deduced directly by experiment, but C L and CD can be
derives as stated, and the ratio derived by division (C L CD). This ratio is then
plotted against .

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CL
ratio generally occurs at
CD
a relatively small angle of attack (typically 3 - 5). Designers and operators
endeavour to operate any aerofoil at an angle of attack in this range as much as
possible.
This graph clearly indicates that the best (maximum)

Finally, a word is introduced that is of great significance - the Stall.


Looking at the diagrams, there is an angle of attack beyond which C L has
CL
reduced substantially, CD has increased markedly and
has reduced.
CD
This means that there has been a sudden loss of lift and a rapid increase in drag.
The aerofoil (wing) is said to have stalled, and is a potentially dangerous
scenario if it occurs in flight.

3.6 CENTRE OF PRESSURE


The two components, Lift and Drag, have been shown to vary as Angle of Attack
varies. But not only does the magnitude of the force vary, but the line of action
(and hence the centre of pressure) changes.
As the angle of attack increases, the pressure distribution changes shape, with
proportionately greater suction generated towards the forward portion of the wing.
This causes a forward movement of the Cp. This forward movement continues
until the CL values start to reduce. At this point the Cp now reverses its
movement (it moves backwards), as the stall condition is approached.

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So now it can be understood that both force and Cp vary as varies.

3.6.1 PITCHING MOMENT COEFFICIENT


Consider the diagram, which shows an aerofoil which can be considered to be
pivoted at either A or B. The lift L would cause rotation about the pivot;
anticlockwise or nose down about A and clockwise or nose up about B.

Rotation is caused by application of a moment M which itself is dependent on lift


L magnitude, multiplied by the distance of the CP from the pivot.
From this, it can be deduced that the strength and sense of the rotation depends
on angle of attack and position of the pivot.
Again, we rely on this to be illustrated graphically. Nose-up is considered a
positive pitching moment, nose-down is negative.
Just as before, coefficients were introduced to create the Lift and Drag equations,
so a pitching moment coefficient CM is introduced.
M
Pitching moment

qSc CM
where

c = chord length
CM = moment coefficient

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As with CL and CD, it is usual to draw graphs using CM rather than M (see
diagram below).

3.7 AERODYNAMIC CENTRE


Another interesting feature emerges. There must be some point lying between A
and B, such that if the aerofoil was pivoted at that point, the pitching moment
(coefficient) would be constant regardless of the angle of attack.
This point is known as the Aerodynamic centre;
i.e. the point on the chord-line about which the pitching moment is constant.

3.8 DOWNWASH

The flow of air around the aerofoil causes variation in speeds and pressures that
result in the creation of lift. Lift is the resultant force applied to the airframe,
considered perpendicular to the RAF. From Newtons 3 rd Law, there must be an
opposite force applied to the air. This reaction causes deflection of the airflow
as it leaves the trailing-edge, termed downwash. (There may well be an
upwash effect ahead of the leading-edge).

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4. DRAG
4.1 DRAG EQUATION
The drag equation so far has been written as:
D =

1 2
v S CD (qSCD)
2

4.2 DRAG COEFFICIENT


It is now appropriate to analyse the drag coefficient C D in order to more fully
understand the factors affecting total drag, so that designer and maintenance
engineers alike can take whatever steps to minimise drag, which ultimately will
allow operation at higher speeds or reduce fuel consumption. Both of these are
significant to the economic success of air transport.

4.3 DRAG COMPONENTS


The total drag is considered as the sum of the zero-lift drag and the lift dependent
drag. (This means that some drag is always present, even though lift may not be
generated, and some drag will be proportional to the lift generated).

4.4 FLOW CHARACTERISTICS


Before considering drag, reconsider streamline flow. So far, the streamlines have
been shown as a series of parallel or converging / diverging lines showing the
direction of flow at any point. Because of the "layered" appearance, such flow is
termed laminar flow and a characteristic is that unless a change is deliberately
introduced, it will be unchanged from one instant to another. It is therefore
considered as steady flow.
Although streamlines are in concept imaginary, they can be artificially created
(e.g. using smoke) and then the observer will notice an extremely important
feature. At some point, the laminar flow will cease and be replaced by a mixture
of both translational and rotational pattern of flow, whose pattern changes
continuously. This unsteady pattern is termed turbulent flow.
The fact that the fluid (air) is now being caused to rotate (stirred) and that this is
continuously changing implies that forces are present. This in turn means that
energy is expended in creating turbulence. But the only source of energy
present must ultimately be the chemical energy in the fuel. So, we can deduce
that fuel is used when turbulence is created. The student must appreciate that
the creation of turbulence results in the creation of drag.

4.5 FORM DRAG


The change from laminar to turbulent flow is basically a function of the viscosity
of the fluid. (Theoretically, a fluid with no viscosity would result in zero drag).
How much turbulence occurs is usually dependent on the shape or form of the
body being considered. Some shapes produce considerable turbulence; others
minimise it. These shapes are obviously to be preferred and are often described
as "streamlined". Some recognisable shapes are shown below, and a
comparison made of the resulting turbulence. To allow comparison, it is
assumed that the shapes present an identical cross-section to the airflow i.e.
circular.

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Note also the approximate value of the form drag associated with each shape,
assuming the flat plate (disc) as representing 100%.

4.6 BOUNDARY LAYERS


Laminar, turbulent and viscosity have just entered our vocabulary. The region of
flow where these have greatest significance is the boundary layer, so - called
because it is the layer between the body and the free-stream. (It is called free stream because it is considered virtually free from the effects of viscosity).
The boundary layer, however, exists because of viscosity. To assist our
understanding, imagine a river flowing between two banks. To an observer, the
flow rate (velocity) will be greater in the centre of the river. At the bank, the water
is very slow - moving, maybe virtually stationary and maybe forming eddies.
Between the centre and banks, the flow - velocity reduces. This is comparable to
the situation that exists between the free-stream and the body surface.

On the diagram, the length of the arrows indicates the flow velocity at that point.
The (parabolic) pattern is termed the velocity distribution or profile.

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4.7 SKIN FRICTION


What is significant about this profile? It implies that each layer of fluid molecules
is moving at a different velocity relative to its neighbours. In turn, this means that
a frictional force is generated in such a direction to oppose this relative motion.
(This is what viscosity creates; it is a resistance to flow). So throughout the
boundary layer, there is a frictional force, and this layer exists because of the
presence of the (stationary) body and the interaction between its surface (skin)
and the fluid. Hence, the introduction of the term skin - friction and its inclusion
as a type of drag.
Skin - friction drag depends on :

The surface area.

The viscosity

The rate of change of the velocity (shown by the profile).

The diagram conveys some idea of the layer thickness (it is fairly thin!) The layer
is considered to be the region where the velocity relative to the surface (skin)
varies from zero to 99% of the free-stream.
4.7.1 TRANSITION POINT
Note that the flow is initially laminar, but changes to turbulence at the transition
point. Comparing the velocity profiles reveals that the turbulent layer has a
greater rate of change of velocity near the surface. This will cause greater
friction, which introduces a random (unsteady) element into the flow resulting in a
greater degree of mixing with the free-stream. This thickens the turbulent layer
and introduces greater kinetic energy. Note the laminar sub-layer whose
presence is important, but detailed study is beyond the scope of this module.
The transition point depends on:

Surface condition

Speed of flow

Size of object

Adverse pressure gradient

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4.7.2 REYNOLDS NUMBER


The effect of surface condition, speed of flow and size of object basically affect a
phenomena termed Reynolds Number (named after the physicist). Reynolds
number is very significant in the study of fluid dynamics, particularly when
attempting to 'model' full-size situations, but again, a more detailed study is
beyond our requirements. It might, however be useful to express Reynolds
Number as:
Re =

vd

= density, v = velocity, d = size, = viscosity.


As Reynolds Number becomes greater, the earlier will be the transition point.
4.7.3 ADVERSE PRESSURE GRADIENT
The adverse pressure gradient (APG) refers to the point in the flow where the
static pressure begins to increase. In nature, fluid flows from high to low
pressure; it does not flow from low to high. So if the static pressure now
increases (due to shape of the body), a pressure gradient now exists to impede
flow. It is not assisting flow - it is an adverse gradient. The student can visualise
that this will occur beyond the point of least pressure, i.e. the point on the body
where thickness is greatest.

4.8 SEPARATION
The overall effect of friction is to reduce the velocity and energy of the air-flow
within the boundary layer. This reduction is further exacerbated by introducing an
APG, as with a curved or cambered body. This effect can be shown at several
successive points within the boundary-layer. As shown on the following diagram,
the boundary-layer is brought to rest and separates, forming a turbulent wake.
Beyond the separation point, flow reversal may occur.

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When the boundary layer separates and forms a turbulent wake, much energy
has been lost in creating rotational flow and consequently the static pressure
within this flow is reduced (this will be restated when vortex flow is considered).
This means that there is less static pressure acting on the rear of the body,
compared to the front. In turn, this means that a net (pressure) force acts
rearwards (= drag). Hence, separated, turbulent flow should be avoided /
delayed whenever possible. This is achieved by streamlining and maintaining as
smooth a surface as possible.

4.9 INTERFERENCE DRAG


Another element of drag that can be mentioned is Interference drag.
Experiments shows that the total drag of the aircraft exceeds the sum of the
drags resulting from the component parts. The increase in drag is caused by the
individual flow patterns interacting or "interfering" with their neighbours. This is
generally reduced by the addition of fairings at the functions of the aircraft
components.
In summary, zero-lift drag is a combination of form and skin-friction drag, with the
probable addition of interference drag. It is related to the separation of the airflow
into a turbulent wake. This will be linked to the separation point, itself a function
of Reynolds Number. Increased velocity leads to increased Reynolds Number
and earlier separation. In fact, zero-lift drag is directly proportional to speed2.

4.10 INDUCED DRAG


Lift dependent drag is commonly referred to a (lift) Induced drag, although
another term, Vortex drag might be more descriptive. Consider the diagram
below.

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4.10.1 VORTEX DRAG


The presence of regions of different pressure (as happens when lift is generated)
will cause a flow to develop from high to low pressure. This results in a
spanwise component forming in addition to the chordwise component. It will
be, root to tip on lower surfaces and vice-versa on the upper surface.
At the tip, the flow will rotate as shown. The greater the pressure differences, the
greater will be the rotation. Now flow rotations are sometimes weak (eddies) or
sometimes form extremely strong vortices (as in hurricanes) and a feature is the
high kinetic energy (or rotation), but a low (static) core pressure. At the trailingedge the chordwise plus spanwise components on the upper and lower surfaces
meet to create a series of vortices, termed a vortex sheet. These also drift
towards and combine at the tip.

The net effect of these vortices is to induce a downwash additional to that


resulting from lift generation. The creation of the vortices, the creation of a
downwash component, must imply an expenditure of energy; an increase in
(induced) drag. Vortex drag arises from introducing wings of finite span.

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The factors affecting induced drag are:

Lift (weight)

Aspect ratio

Wing planform

Speed

Obviously the greater the weight, the more lift must be created which is the
result of greater pressure difference. Greater pressure differences create more
downwash / stronger vortices.
A high aspect ratio means that the strength of the spanwise flow component is
reduced. Hence, the vortex strengths are reduced.
The vortices tend to combine towards the wing-tip and so an ideal wing-planform
will create a lift distribution that minimises these vortices. This ideal is the socalled elliptical distribution or loading, which was attempted on the Spitfire by
using an elliptical wing. In practice, the ideal is impossible to achieve totally.
The factors all influence the equation for induced drag coefficient.
CDI =

kCL2
A.R.

k = a coefficient introduced to take account of the deviation from the ideal


elliptical lift distribution.
It can be deduced that induced drag is directly proportional to weight2, and
inversely proportional to the speed2.

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4.11 TOTAL DRAG


The effect of speed on zero-lift and induced drag can be shown on a single
graph, and clearly the total drag is the sum of the two.

The total drag, is a minimum at the point at which the two curves intersect.
Here, ZLD = ID and this point gives the minimum - drag speed.
4.11.1 DRAG POLAR
The overall or total drag coefficient CD = CDO + CDI,
Total drag coefficient CD = CDO +

kCL2
A.R.

The CD Total can be plotted against CL to give a curve known as the Drag Polar.

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The second diagram compares two different aerofoils, curve (a) is a conventional
section, curve (b) is a low-drag section. Note that this aerofoil has a significant
reduction in profile-drag between the CL range of CL1, and CL2. This shape is
commonly termed the drag bucket and is a characteristic of an aerofoil designed
to maintain laminar flow. For efficient cruise performance, such a section must
obviously be operated within these parameters.

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5. FORCES IN FLIGHT
The Lift and Drag forces resulting from the passage of air past a body have now
been studied in isolation. It is now appropriate to consider them acting on an
aircraft in flight.

5.1 FOUR FORCES


The first (and most common) case of an aircraft in flight is when the aircraft is
considered to be straight and level (i.e. no change in heading or altitude), and at
constant speed. Immediately it can be stated to be in an unaccelerated
condition and hence any forces present must be in equilibrium.

From the diagram, we can deduce that L = W, T = D.


(This is simplified here as much as possible - all four forces pass through the
same point and no other forces are considered e.g. tailplane forces).
If the equilibrium of the forces is upset, e.g. Thrust (T) is increased, the aircraft
will accelerate (until the increase in drag balances the increases in thrust). If the
Lift is increased, the aircraft will change direction or altitude.

5.2 STRAIGHT & LEVEL


In reality, of course, the lift and weight do not act through the same point. The
CP moves as the angle of attack changes, and the CG depends on the weight
distribution. This means that although L = W, their different lines of action
means that they create a couple. The different thrust and drag lines are also
likely to create a couple. Ideally, the two couples should cancel each other.
What is desirable is that a reduction in the thrust / drag couple should lead to a
nose-down pitching tendency - this requires that the CG should be forward of
the CP. (This arrangement will also improve longitudinal stability).

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Given that the two couples are most likely unequal, a further moment must be
created to restore equilibrium. This is provided by the tailplane. Because the
distance from the CG is comparatively large, the size (area) of the tailplane can
be small. With a conventional tailplane, it is usual to find that it produces a
downward force.

5.3 FORCES IN CLIMB


When analysing forces in the climb, it is first necessary to draw the forces
according to the previous definitions (see diagram below).

Again, it is assumed that the forces are in equilibrium. The analysis then begins
by resolving the weight force into two components, perpendicular and parallel
to the flight path. The forces in these directions can now be equated.
L = W cos
T = W sin + D
Two interesting and important facts emerge. If the aircraft is climbing, O and
cos 1
therefore Lift is less than Weight.
Similarly, sin O and Thrust is greater than Drag.
We can therefore deduce that aircraft climb because of increased thrust, and not
increased lift. (Theoretically, this makes sense, because the aircraft gains
height and therefore potential energy. The energy input is through the increase
in thrust, itself resulting from the 'burning' or expenditure of fuel (chemical
energy).

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5.4 FORCES IN GLIDE & DESCENT


The arrangement of forces in the descent (or glide) is similar but not identical to
the climb. The diagram below clarifies the situation. The weight has again been
resolved into two
components.

The equations becomes:


L = W cos
T + W sin = D (the W sin component has changed in direction)
In the glide, T is assumed to be zero, and W sin = D. The weight component
now balances drag 'gap' - potential energy is now traded in order to maintain
kinetic energy or flying speed.
In both climb and descent, the greatest angle of climb, or minimum angle of glide
(giving greatest gliding range) is when the aircraft is flown at minimum drag
speed, coincident with best L/D ratio.

5.5 RATE OF CLIMB (PERFORMANCE)


Climb performance, or rate of climb (ROC), is theoretically a little more
complicated. In the previous discussion, climb performance was considered in
terms of angle of climb and by equating forces. Rates of climb (usually
expressed in feet per minute) involve lifting the aircraft (weight) at a certain rate
(speed). Hence, rate of climb implies lifting a weight (force); i.e. doing work. But
rate of doing work is power, power is force x speed.
We have seen that when work is done, energy is expended (or converted).
When climbing, extra fuel (energy) is expended, potential energy is gained. But
the fuel energy is expended in two areas; in maintaining speed whilst overcoming
drag, and in increasing altitude. But how much is used in each area?

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The left-hand diagram shows that

sin =

Rate of Climb
Airspeed

The right-hand diagram restates that

sin =

T-D
W

Combining these two equations,

ROC =

V (T - D)
TV - DV
=
W
W

But, TV = Power Available (from engine), and


DV = Power Required (by airframe)
TV - DV therefore equals the excess of power available to increase the
altitude.
It should be noted that the kinematics of bodies in motion requires that True Air
Speed (TAS) is employed.
5.5.1 POWER CURVES
Another graph becomes of fundamental importance to analysis of climb
performance; the plot of power required and power available, against TAS.
Clearly, the excess of power available for climbing is equal to the vertical

distance (difference) between the power available and power required curves.
Study of the diagram shows that this difference is dependent on the aircraft
speed. So to achieve the best rate of climb, a particular speed must be selected,
i.e. the best climb speed.
To the maintenance engineer, Rate of Climb represents a useful measure of
aircraft performance (and therefore of aircraft condition). Reduced thrust or
increased drag will both have the effect of reducing the vertical distance which
represents excess power. If an aircraft on test fails to achieve the scheduled
ROC, then an investigation as to the possible cause should be made. Note the
importance of operating at the best climb speed.

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5.5.2 EFFECT OF ALTITUDE


Of interest, but of less importance, to the maintenance engineer is the effect of
altitude on ROC.
The curves move to the upward and to the right, but the net effect is to offer a
reduced ROC.

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6. FORCES & MANOEUVRE


6.1 CENTRIPETAL FORCE
The word "manoeuvre" is introduced here so as to imply a change of direction or
flight path. (The speed may also change but this will not be considered here. A
change in direction must imply a change in velocity (velocity is a vector quantity)
and by definition, an acceleration must be present. If an acceleration is present,
a resultant force must exist to cause it. (The forces present are not in
equilibrium). Change of direction therefore requires a resultant force, termed the
centripetal force (CPF); the force that must be present in order for a body to
change its direction of motion.
But the only forces available to act on an aircraft are aerodynamic forces, (thrust
vectoring - forces will not be considered here), and changes to these forces are
dependent on changes in CL (itself dependent on and shape changes).
Fundamentally, therefore, manoeuvre will depend on the changes in C L applied
to the main aerofoil (wing). Manoeuvres can be accomplished in the vertical
(looping) plane or in the horizontal (banking) plane, (the combination of both
forms is often present, but not considered here for reasons of clarity and
simplicity).

6.2 LOOPING
Consider an aircraft diving towards the ground. At some point, the pilot wishes to
stop the descent and position the aircraft to climb away from the ground.

At A, he pulls back on the control column, which raises the elevator so as to


increase the download on the tailplane. The resulting moment pitches the aircraft
so as to increase the angle of attack of the mainplane , this increases CL. The
effect is to increase the mainplane Lift, perhaps considerably. The excess of lift,
over and above that required to overcome weight, provides a CPF in the looping
plane and the aircraft now follows a curved flight path towards B. At B, the
aircraft is now in the desired attitude, back pressure on the column is reduced,
mainplane and CL regain their original values and the flight path again follows a
straight line.
Throughout that portion of the flight-path AB, the increased lift puts additional
force or stress on the airframe and occupants. They experience the reaction to
the CPF, the centrifugal force (CFF). The excess of force is often termed the
'g' force.

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6.3 LOAD FACTOR


The 'g' force can be considered as a comparison between the lift generated and
the weight of the aircraft.
g =

Lift
, this is often termed the Load Factor.
Weight

Note that if the flight path is as shown, the lift force (and CPF) is considered as
negative and hence the Load Factor is also negative.
Because of the increased stresses, aircraft are designed with 'g' limits. Because
violent manoeuvres could result in over-stressing, aircraft are operated within 'g'
limits, both positive and negative. Combat aircraft are designed to be more
manoeuvrable and therefore have higher 'g' limits than transport aircraft.
Similarly, pilots are provided with 'g' suits to increase their personal 'g' thresholds.

6.4 LEVEL TURNS


A similar situation is found in the horizontal plane when the aircraft changes
heading. The pilot must bank the aircraft so that the horizontal component of lift
provides a CPF. But to maintain the vertical component equal and opposite to
weight, he must apply back-pressure on the control column in order to increase
lift. Hence, the load factor increases beyond 1 in a horizontal turn as well.

It is worth recalling that CPF is equal to:


CPF =

W v2
g r

where v = speed, r = radius of turn and w = weight.


Also, it can be proved that tan =

v2
rg

where = angle of bank.

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So increased weight, high speed and "tight" radius of turn all impose high load
factors on aircraft.
It should also be appreciated that increased angle of attack leads to increased
drag coefficient and increased drag. Therefore, manoeuvres involving high 'g'
forces require considerable increase in thrust.

6.5 STALLING
Recalling the graphs showing variation of CL and CD which accompany changes
in , it was stated that the wing stalled beyond a certain . This is known as the
stalling angle.
If an aircraft is flown straight and level and the thrust is reduced, the aircraft will
reduce speed (drag is exceeding thrust). The pilot can maintain lift, by raising the
nose to achieve a higher CL. At some point (speed), however, the aircraft will
reach the stalling angle, the CL reduces and the aircraft stalls, suddenly losing
altitude.
L (=W) = v2S CL
To maintain equality, as v2 decreases, CL must increase. When CL reaches its
maximum value, v reaches its minimum value of flying speed - the basic stall
speed.
The stall has occurred because the separation point has now moved so far
forward that the bulk of the airflow over the upper surface has separated or
become detached. (On many of the relevant graphs, a dotted line indicates
theoretical behaviour of an airflow, a full line shows actual behaviour because of
separation).
A pilot is introduced to the stall and stalling speed, at an early stage of his
training. He learns to recognise and recover from it, and is encouraged to avoid
it!
6.5.1 STALLING SPEED
But it is important to appreciate that the stall is primarily dependent on angle of
attack (), not speed (v). An aircraft can in fact stall at any speed, if the critical
stalling angle is exceeded. This may happen during a manoeuvre when the
maximum CL is exceeded. The new (higher) stalling speed can be deduced from;
Manoeuvre stall speed = basic stall speed

load factor

6.5.2 EFFECT OF WEIGHT / LOAD FACTOR


Increase in weight will require increase in lift, and so affect in turn the basic
stall speed.
Stall speed = basic stall speed

new weight
old weight

The stall speeds at higher load factors, the positive and negative 'g' limits and the
maximum (diving) speed form the boundaries of the aircraft's flight envelope.

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6.5.3 AEROFOIL CONTAMINATION


Aerofoil performance is fundamentally influenced by shape and surface
characteristics, which determine flow-pattern and degree of separation. Any
surface irregularity can cause a marked change, which may include changes in
stall behaviour. Such irregularities may result from contamination by ice and
snow accretion. Several accidents have been the result, and for this reason,
careful inspection and rectification is essential before aircraft operation in adverse
weather conditions.

6.6 FLIGHT ENVELOPES


The so-called flight envelope encloses an area in which the aircraft may
operate, without either stalling, exceeding 'g' limits, or exceeding speed limits.
An example is shown below.

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7. STABILITY
7.1 BASIC CONCEPT & DEFINITION
The aircraft has now been considered in both the steady flight path condition and
during changes of direction (manoeuvre). It is now necessary to investigate
how the designer includes features in order to maintain or encourage either
condition.
For example, it will be presumed that a steady flight path is to be maintained. If
the aircraft deviates from this flight path, the aircraft should be able to regain it,
without control input from the pilot.
In any dynamic system, the ability of the system to regain the desired (set)
condition is termed stability.
A pendulum is a classic example. It (the weight) normally hangs vertically. If it is
displaced and released, it immediately moves back towards the original
position. (In fact, of course, it swings past that position - the restoring force of
gravity reverses its effect and it swings back again. It will swing to and fro
(oscillate) many times before the oscillations (displacements) die away). Such a
system is a stable system.
But a system can be unstable. Consider the 'bowl and ball' analogy.

7.2 STATIC STABILITY


If the ball is displaced and released, its initial reaction will describe its stability.
In the first diagram, it will move back towards the initial position, it has positive
stability.

In the second diagram, it will not move, it remains in the new position and is
described as having neutral stability.
In the third diagram, it will move further away from the initial position, it has
negative stability, or is unstable.
Note that the above is the initial part of considering stability, the immediate
reaction or tendency to movement following initial displacement is used to
determine the static stability of the system.

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7.3 DYNAMIC STABILITY


So, following initial displacements the system may oscillate about the neutral
position if the system is statically stable. The manner of the oscillations
(meaning the change in amplitude) is used to describe the system dynamic
stability.
The diagram considers the oscillation of an aircraft in the pitching plane, above
and below the desired horizontal flight path. The oscillation resembles a
sinusoidal function. (This is characteristic of many oscillations or vibrations). In
theory, such oscillations continue indefinitely. In practice, the oscillations
steadily reduce and die away.

The first diagram is unusual and represents 'dead-beat' stability.


If the amplitude decreases, the aircraft is dynamically stable, if it increases it is
dynamically unstable.
When the amplitude remains constant, it is neutrally stable in the dynamic
sense.
Most systems are designed to be statically and dynamically stable.

7.4 AIRCRAFT STABILITY


Considering the stability of an aircraft, we might ask two questions. Can it
oscillate, and if so, what are the neutral or zero displacement positions?
The first answer is 'yes', where the oscillations are related to angular
displacements about any of the three axes. The zero displacements are
considered to be those associated with straight and level flight.

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Rotation about the lateral axis is termed pitch;


Rotation about the longitudinal axis is termed roll;
Rotation about the normal axis is termed yaw.
A stable aircraft will dampen oscillations that may occur about any axis, following
some initial (probably random) displacement.

7.5 DESIGN FEATURES


If an aircraft is to be stable, it is obvious from the previous paragraphs that if the
aircraft has been momentarily displaced relative to its flight path, there must be a
restoring force or moment to return it to its original altitude. Recalling that a
moment is the product of force and distance, we then deduce that an
aerodynamic force must be generated at some distance from the aircraft's
centre of gravity (about which the aircraft has been displaced / rotated).
Displacements about all three axes must be considered.

The easiest one to consider is displacement (yaw) about the normal axis. The
diagram shows that this will cause an angle of attack to be created between the
fin (vertical stabiliser) and the relative airflow, such that an aerodynamic force /
moment will be created that restores the aircraft towards its original heading /
direction. (As the displacement reduces, the moment reduces and the aircraft will
again 'heads' towards the relative airflow - just like a weathercock heads into
wind).
The fin gives an aircraft directional stability (about the normal axis).
The manner in which the tailplane (horizontal stabiliser) acts is similar in
principle but somewhat more complicated in detail. The diagram below shows
the aircraft displaced in the pitching plane. Now two aerofoils are involved, the
mainplane and tailplane.
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The mainplane angle of attack increases, and as drawn, this creates more lift and
a forward movement of the centre of pressure. This creates an upsetting
moment tending to destabilise the aircraft. (A tail-less aircraft is therefore
inherently unstable).
The tailplane also generates lift so as to create a restoring moment. For the
aircraft to be statically stable, clearly the restoring moment must be greater than
the upsetting moment. By comparing these moments, it becomes clear how
important the position of the centre of gravity becomes.
As the centre of gravity moves aft, the aircraft becomes less stable, due to the
changing distances and the effect on the moments.
As the centre of gravity moves forward, the aircraft becomes more stable.
The tailplane gives an aircraft longitudinal stability (about the lateral axis).

Lateral stability considers aircraft movement / displacement in the rolling plane.

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If an aircraft has 'dropped' a wing, it should be obvious from the preceding


paragraphs that a moment to raise that wing is required. But how is this to be
achieved? Consider the first diagram. An aircraft that has 'dropped' a wing will
side-slip towards that wing because of the imbalance of the two forces which
has resulted. It is the change in aerodynamic forces resulting from this sideslipping motion which will create a restoring moment.

The most common design feature employed to promote lateral stability is the
introduction of dihedral. The diagram indicates the angle concerned. Dihedral
results in the 'dropped' wing meeting the revised relative airflow (due to side-slip)
at a greater angle of attack than the upper wing. The net effect is therefore to
create a restoring moment which is tending to roll the aircraft back towards
straight and level (at which point the side-slip stops and the restoring moment
becomes zero).

The next diagram shows the effect of the 'keel' area above the centre of gravity.
This will also 'right' the aircraft (similar to a yacht-keel). Note that if the keel-area
is mostly aft of the centre of gravity, then an additional effect is to yaw the aircraft
towards the dropped-wing.

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In later studies, it will be appreciated that designers employ swept-wings to allow


flight at high speeds. But an added bonus is that swept-wings encourage lateral
stability. Consider the diagrams. In the first, the aircraft is flying straight and
level.
The relative airflow meets both left and right leading edges at the same angle.
(The RAF is then shown as two components - one normal and one parallel to
the leading edges).

In the second diagram, the aircraft has dropped the left wing and is side-slipping.
Due to the angle of sweep-back, the RAF now meets the leading-edges at
different angles, and now has different components in respect of each wing. It
will be recalled that it is the chordwise (or normal) component that creates lift
and reference to the diagram shows that greater chordwise component occurring
over the dropped-wing will therefore generate more lift, so as to create a rolling
moment that restores the aircraft to (straight) and level flight.

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Another feature which results in enhanced lateral stability is that of a high(mounted) wing. The designer has probably employed a high-wing because of
the intended role for the aircraft but with the centre of pressure above the centre
of gravity, there is an inherent 'righting' effect, in the manner of a pendulum.

Several design features have been considered which result in lateral stability.
But an aircraft that is very stable will be unresponsive to control movements.
Stability requirements have to complement control requirements. An aircraft
that has excessive stability is as undesirable as one that lacks stability. The right
'balance' between stability and control is often dictated by the intended role of the
aircraft. An aircraft that possessed all the features described would probably be
too stable. So a swept-wing, high-wing aircraft might incorporate anhedral (the
opposite to dihedral) in order to reduce the degree of stability.
The above paragraphs have analysed features which create a moment so as to
restore the aircraft towards its undisturbed or original position. They contribute
static stability. Dynamic stability in the manner in which the aircraft moves or
oscillates towards / about that position. This will depend on the variation of the
forces in respect of displacement / time and is too complex for this module.

7.6 CONTROL
The previous section has considered stability, where design features have been
included in order to maintain or regain a desired flight path.
If the aircraft is to be manoeuvred, (i.e. the flight path is to be changed) it will be
necessary to de-stabilise the aircraft. So it appears that stability and
manoeuvrability are conflicting requirements - increasing one characteristic
decreases the other.

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To de-stabilise the aircraft, aerodynamic forces must be created for as long as is


necessary to cause a rotation about one or more of the axes. These forces are
created simply by modifying the shape and angle of attack of the appropriate
aerofoil. This is done generally by hinging the trailing-edge, thus allowing it to
respond to control inputs from the pilot or autopilot.
Elevators are hinged to the tailplane and cause the aircraft to pitch, up or down.
(It should be clear that the control surface movement will create a force in the
opposite direction).
The Rudder is hinged to the fin and causes the aircraft to yaw, left or right.
Ailerons are hinged to the out-board trailing edge of the mainplanes. They
must move so as to create a difference in the forces on the left and right wings.
In so doing, they cause the aircraft to Roll. They must, therefore, move in
opposite directions, one goes up, the other goes down.
A problem that arises with the operation of the ailerons is that of adverse yaw.
What is this? It will be assumed that a pilot wishes to make a change of
heading (direction), and that he must first bank or roll the aircraft towards the
"inside" of the turn. The aircraft will then follow a curved path, yawing as it does
so in the same direction as the turn. However, the rising (upward) wing in
generating more lift also generates more (induced) drag than the descending
wing. This unbalance in the drag forces results in a moment which causes a
rotation (yaw) in the opposite direction to that first intended, hence, it is termed
adverse yaw.
It can be alleviated by the use of rudder, but subtle aerodynamic features can
produce the same effect.

Frise ailerons - where the leading-edge of the aileron is designed to


protrude into the airstream when the aileron is raised, thus causing extra
(and equalising) drag.

Differential ailerons - where the geometry of the control system is such as


will cause the down-going aileron to move through a smaller angle than the
up-going aileron. This results in greater drag on the up-going aileron.

Control coupling - where the rudder may be geared to the aileron control
system, so as to link same rudder movement to aileron movement.

Spoilers - spoilers are often found on more sophisticated aircraft and may
be used for a variety if purposes. Basically, they reduce lift and increase
drag, and so their operation can reproduce what is required from the aileron
system.

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7.7 CONTROL ABOUT 3 AXES


To the maintenance engineer, the effect of the controls is very simple - as
movement of the control column produces a control-surface movement which
creates a force which causes a rotation about one of the three axes. In practice,
and from the pilots viewpoint, it is less simple as there is usually some crosscoupling response. This is sometimes termed as the secondary effect of control,
meaning that movement of the control-column produces the desired primary
effect, but may be accompanied by a secondary effect, involving rotation about
another axis.

7.8 AERODYNAMIC BALANCING


The purpose of control surfaces has now been defined and the basic operation
has been established. But what factors contribute to their effectiveness?
Obviously, as they are aerodynamic devices, the same factors that govern
aerodynamic forces - speed, size and shape. In this case, shape is related to the
deflection angle.
It must not be overlooked that in deliberately creating an aerodynamic force by
moving a control-surface, this force is trying to move the surface back towards
the streamlined or neutral position. The surface will only deflect or remain
deflected as long as there is an input (force) from the control system. This input
force will vary in proportion to the force output by the control-surface.
The input (force) is in fact a moment which must be applied at the hinge and
which must always be large enough to produce the required control deflection.
Due to increases in speed and size, it is quite possible that this hinge moment will
require unacceptably large forces to be exerted by the pilot. This can be
overcome by power assistance but aerodynamic methods have been developed
as an alternative. This balancing of the forces required has led to the term
aerodynamic balance.
Aerodynamic balancing, designed to reduce the physical effort of moving the
controls can include:

Horn balance

Inset hinge

Internal balance (sealed hinge)

Balance tabs

In each case, the aim is to reduce the pilots contribution to the hinge moment
necessary to cause deflection.

The effect of the air-flow acting on the horn is to produce a moment assisting
control movement.

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The inset-hinge moves the hinge rearwards, thus moving closer to the Centre of
Pressure of the control. Again, the hinge-moment reduces.

The sealed-hinge maintains a pressure difference between the upper and lower
surfaces. This results in a net pressure force acting forward of the hinge,
creating a moment assisting deflection.

7.9 BALANCE OF TABS


The action of Tabs need some explanation. A tab is a small hinged surface
forming part of the trailing-edge of the control surface itself.
Consider that an aircraft is tail heavy (aft CG). The pilot must apply a steady
push force to maintain straight and level flight. He must maintain a hinge
moment. It a tab is added, and deflected in the opposite direction to the control
surface deflection, it will create a hinge moment to assist the pilot. When the tab
deflection is large enough, the effect of the tab exactly balances the effect of the
control. The pilot could then take his 'hands-off' the control, the aircraft would be
in equilibrium; it is said to be "trimmed".

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Several types of tab exist, their operation is the same in terms of the
aerodynamic principle.
Examples include:
Fixed tabs,
Trim tabs,
Balance tabs e.g. geared, servo and spring tabs.

7.10 FIXED & TRIM TABS


Fixed and Trim tabs are used to maintain a control deflection, so as to trim the
aircraft.
A fixed tab can only be adjusted on the ground, by an engineer following
consultation with the pilot. It is only truly effective therefore for a given set of
conditions, e.g. a particular weight and CG position, a particular thrust setting,
and at a particular speed. (This would typically be a cruise configuration).
The fixed tab is obviously simple, but its effect has been shown to be limited. A
trim tab can be adjustable, operated by the pilot in the cockpit. The classic
method of operation is by a handwheel, positioned and operated instinctively, ie.
Movement of the elevator trimwheel is similar to the response required by the
aircraft. (Note however that the pilot should move his control column, and then
trim-out the load).
On light aircraft, it is usual to find an adjustable trim-tab only fitted to the
elevators. Larger aircraft will generally have such tabs fitted to all three controls.
For example, a multi-engined aircraft with (one) engine failure would develop a
strong yawing tendency, which would be opposed by a large rudder deflection,
maintained by rudder trim.

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7.11 BALANCE TABS


Whereas trim tabs maintain control deflection, balance tabs assist deflection.
Aerodynamic balance tabs are then further categorised according to the
mechanical principle of their operation.
The geared tab is connected by a link to some part of the fixed structure.
Movement of the control surface by the pilot will cause a deflection of the tab,
dependent on the geometry or gearing.

If the tab is operated directly by the pilot, the tab is termed a servo tab. A servo
tab is considered to lack effectiveness at low speeds. The main control surface is
not connected to the control system, it "floats". If a large deflection is required,
the servo tab must be able to generate a sufficient moment to cause this. At low
speed this is difficult.

The spring tab is an effective compromise. In effect, a tab is created when


needed, and deleted when not required.

At low speeds, no assistance is needed and the pilot moves the control surface
without tab deflection. If the speed rises, the increasing air resistance requires
the pilot to apply an increasing hinge moment via the control system. At some
stage, the forces in the control system overcome the spring forces, which allows
the link to pivot and create a movement of the tab. The greater the force, the
more the link and tab will move, the greater will be the assistance to the pilot.

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7.12 LIFT AUGMENTATION


One of the greatest attractions of air transport is its relatively high speed and
consequent ability to travel great distances in minimum time. This is important to
operator and passenger alike. This has resulted in the development of aerofoils
which have low drag but also low lift coefficient. (This means that the lift is
derived largely as a result of the V 2 term, rather than CL).
In turn, this means that as the aircraft slows down, the pilot tries to compensate
for the reducing V2 term, by increasing the CL term towards a maximum. But
there is a limit to this CL maximum (i.e. the stalling speed angle) and so the
stalling speed will be relatively high for a modern aerofoil. This has a profound
disadvantage as far as airfield performance is concerned, as it means that takeoff and landing distances are lengthened considerably.
What is needed is the ability to change the shape of the aerofoil (giving higher
CL values) and/or the ability to delay separation (giving higher stalling angles,
and consequent higher CL values). These are the features of Lift
Augmentation.
The devices which are commonly incorporated in order to increase C L are flaps
(generally on the trailing-edge, but increasingly common on the leading-edge as
well), slats and slots (typically on the leading-edge), and systems which allow
some control of the boundary-layer behaviour.
Flaps are used change the shape of the wing. They generally consist of a
hinged trailing-edge to the mainplane, extending from just inboard of the
ailerons, to the wing-root. They range from the simple plain flap to the multisection Fowler flap, which moves rearwards at the same time as hinging
downwards. (Hence, the area increases as well as the CL value). The different
types and their individual characteristics are shown in a later diagram.
In order to delay separation which is a feature of high angles of attack, it is usual
to modify the leading-edge in order to present the wing at a more favourable
angle. This can be achieved by leading-edge flaps or by slats (and maybe
slots). The airflow does not encounter such a strong adverse pressure gradient,
and so separation is delayed. The addition of a slot allows air from beneath the
aerofoil to accelerate into the airflow above the aerofoil thus adding to its energy,
so delaying separation. Again, characteristics are shown in the diagram.
Boundary Layer Control in where high-energy air is bled from a source (e.g. the
engine) and added to the boundary layer.
The above characteristics of these devices are shown on the diagram on the
following page, with CL plotted against . The graphs confirm the information
given on the diagram listing the devices in detail.

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7.13 USE OF HIGH LIFT DEVICES


A modern airliner may have several different flap-settings (often designated by a
setting in degrees e.g. 10, 22, 27 and 30) which will be selected at different
stages during the flight. These setting are essentially related to particular aircraft
types, and it is more appropriate to consider the settings as simply Up (for the
Cruise), Intermediate (for Take-off and climb) and Full (for Landing). This is
because use of the flaps increases lift and drag, but in varying amounts, as
shown in the table.
Effect on:Flap Setting

Lift Coefficient

Drag Coefficient

Lift / drag

Up (cruise)

Maximum

Intermediate (t/o)
(e.g. 10 and 22)

Large Increase

Small Increase

Decrease

Full (landing)
(e.g. 27 and 30)

Small Increase

Large Increase

Large Decrease

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7.14 FLAPS, SLOTS & SLATS

Increase
of
maximum
lift

Angle
of basic
aerofoil
at
max. lift

Remarks

--

15

Effects of all high-lift


devices depend on
shape of basic aerofoil.

12

Plain or Camber Flap

Increase camber.
Much drag when fully
lowered. Nose-down
pitching moment.

14

Split Flap

Increase camber.
Even more drag than
plain flap. Nose-down
pitching moment.

13

Zap Flap

Increase camber and


wing area. Much drag.
Nose-down pitching
moment.

16

Slotted Flap

Control of boundary
layer. Increase
camber. Stalling
delayed. Not so much
drag.

18

Double-slotted Flap

Same as single-slotted
flap only more so.
Treble slots sometimes
used.

15

Fowler Flap

Increase camber and


wing area. Best flaps
for lift. Complicated
mechanism. Nosedown pitching moment.

20

Same as Fowler flap


only more so.
Treble slots sometimes
used.

High-Lift Devices

Basic Aerofoil

50%

60%

90%

65%

70%

90%

100%
Double-Slotted Flower
Flap

table continue.

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table continued.
Angle
of basic
aerofoil
at
max. lift

Remarks

50%

20

Nose-flap hinging about


leading edge. Reduces
lift at small deflections.
Nose-up pitching
moment.

40%

20

Controls boundary
layer. Slight extra drag
at high speeds.

20

Fixed Slat

Controls boundary
layer. Increases
camber and area.
Nose-up pitching
moment.

22

Movable Slat

Controls boundary
layer. Increases
camber and area.
Greater angles of
attack. Nose-up
pitching moment.

25

Slat and Slotted Flap

More control of
boundary layer.
Increased camber and
area. Pitching moment
can be neutralised.

28

Slat and Double-Slotted


Fowler Flap

Complicated
mechanisms. The best
combination for lift;
treble slots may be
used. Pitching moment
can be neutralised.

80%

16

Effect depends very


much on details of
arrangement.

60%

High-Lift Devices

Increase
of
maximum
lift

Krueger Flap

Slotted Wing

50%

60%

75%

120%

Blown Flap

Depends even more on


angle and velocity of
jet.

Jet Flap

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7.15 DRAG DEVICES


In the preceding section, mention was made of aerofoils with low drag
coefficients which result in reduced fuel consumption.
But how do these aircraft with low drag / 'slippery' shapes slow down quickly or
descent at steep angles without accelerating to dangerously high speeds?
The design will normally include devices whose purpose is the provision of extradrag, such spoilers and airbrakes. They are designed to produced high-drag
(whilst possibly maintaining lift) and to avoid variation in pitching-moment or trim.
They may vary considerably in appearance and location, and may have varying
degrees of movement, depending on the flight-phase. An example is shown in
the diagram below.

Conventional low-speed ailerons have certain disadvantages, which can be


eliminated by the use of flight spoiler. When raised differentially, they will
create a rolling moment, and also a tendency to yaw. They will be activated in
this sense by normal inputs from the manual flight control system or the autopilot.
Spoilers may also be raised symmetrically in order to create high-drag or to
destroy lift (when they are often termed lift-'dumpers') during the landing-runs
(hence the common-term 'ground' spoilers).
Airbrakes are fitted to bring about a large increase in drag, thus allowing the
aircraft to lose speed or descend steeply and quickly. Careful positioning by
design should avoid any significant change in balance or trim.

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8. HIGH SPEED FLIGHT


8.1 HIGH SPEED AIRFLOW
Compressibility. At subsonic speeds, flow through a venturi can be said to obey
the predictions of Bernoulli's Theory. That is, to maintain a constant mass flow,
pressure energy (static pressure) is converted to kinetic energy (dynamic
pressure) at the throat of the duct. At relatively small speeds, up to about half the
speed of sound this is correct to within a small and acceptable degree of error.
However, there is always an error if Bernoullis' Theory alone is used for
calculation purposes.
This error is due to the fact that Bernoullis' Theory is based on the flow of an
incompressible medium, water. However, air which is the medium we are
concerned with is highly compressible and so at high air speeds 'compressibility
errors' are introduced and must be accounted for. In fact even at low speeds,
the density of the air will change slightly, but this is such a small effect that it can
generally be ignored. However, this is not the case in high speed flow where
compressibility is a major factor.

8.2 SHOCK WAVES


Noise, or sound is a series of pressure variations transmitted through the air and
can be generated from a variety of sources. In fact every part of an aircraft flying
through the air is vibrating and therefore every point on the airframe is producing
sound waves (pressure waves) which emanate in all directions. If the aircraft
were stationery (e.g. hovering Harrier Aircraft) the pressure waves would be
concentric, like the ripples on a pond when a stone is dropped.
These pressure waves move outwards at the speed of sound.
If the point is moving, see
diagram (b) below, the pressure
waves will no longer be
concentric but closer together in
the direction of movement. The
faster the point travels the closer
together will become the
soundwaves in that direction.
Diagram (c) below, shows the
situation where the point is
travelling at the same speed as
the pressure waves (the speed of
sound). In this situation the
pressure waves build up to
produce a shock wave. The
shock wave can be considered as
a build-up of all the pressure
waves emitted by the point and
as such produces a very thin line
of highly compressed air which
moves with the point and is at
right angles to the directions of
airflow.

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8.2.1 MACH ANGLE & MACH CONE


The diagram below shows what will happen if the point emitting the pressure
waves is travelling faster than the speed of sound.

The angle, or , is called the Mach Angle and by simple trigonometry


it will be clear that:
sin =

a
1
=
V
M

The point emits a pressure wave at position A and by the time the point has
reached D the pressure wave has attained a radius A.E. All subsequent
pressure waves emitted between A and D will have reached the tangent D.E.,
which is known as a Mach Line.
Angle alpha (a) is known as the Mach Angle.
Viewed three dimensionally, the point will be emitting pressure waves as spheres
and so in reality a point produces a Mach Cone, see diagram below.

The effect of the irregularity can only be felt within the 3-D Mach
cone which has a surface made up of Mach lines.
The mach cone could be considered as being made up of a series of mach lines
and so the included angle of a mach cone will be 2.
The Mach Angle only holds true for a weak shock wave at some distance from
the point (or aircraft) where is may be referred to as a Mach Wave, see diagram
below. Nearer the aircraft, where the shock wave is stronger, the shock wave
progressively becomes a 'normal' shock wave, i.e. at 90 to the airflow.

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In practice a fully formed, strong shockwave travels slightly faster than the speed
of sound and so will be in front of the mach cone.

The bow shock wave becomes progressively weaker further out from the
Aircraft eventually becoming a very weak 'Mach Wave'.

8.3 GROWTH OF A SHOCKWAVE SYSTEM


There are three accepted terms which are used when considering airflow in
relation to the speed of sound. They are pertinent to airflow over the any shape
of object, but for this discussion we will use airflow over an aerofoil section.
These terms are:

Subsonic Flow - In this condition the air flowing over the aerofoil is
subsonic (below the speed of sound) at all points of the aerofoil.

Transonic Flow - In this condition part of the aerofoil will be experiencing


subsonic flow and part will be experiencing supersonic flow (faster than the
speed of sound).

Supersonic Flow - In this condition all parts of the aerofoil are experiencing
supersonic flow.

As the aerofoil accelerates from subsonic to transonic through to fully supersonic,


shock waves will form and move in relation to the aerofoil. As this greatly effects
the drag, lift and stability of an aerofoil (and whole aircraft) it is important to
understand the process.

8.4 SPEED OF SOUND


The speed of sound is the speed at which the pressure waves or vibrations are
actually propagated through the medium (material) concerned. The speed is a
function of the material characteristics, such as density, bulk modulus, etc. for
example, sound travels over 10 times faster through steel than through air.
In air, the speed of sound is proportional to the square-root of the air-temperature
(in degrees Kelvin). At sea-level, where the temperature is assumed to be 288K,
the speed if sound is approximately 330 m/s.
At altitude, the speed of sound
(a) = 330

Air Temperature
288

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Because of the significance of the speed of sound to the pressure wave


prorogation, the aircraft speed (V) is often considered in terms of Mach Number,
which enables us to asses the aircraft speed immediately in relation to the speed
of sound.
Mach Number (M)

Actual Flight Speed (V)


Speed of Sound (a)

(Note that the actual flight speed is the True Airspeed (TAS) which is Indicated
Airspeed (IAS) corrected for density at altitude.)
The speed of sound is adjusted according to the local (actual) air temperature.

8.5 MACH NUMBER


The following explanation references the various 'events' to the speed of the free
stream airflow, or to be more precise, the Mach Number of the free stream
airflow. The stated mach numbers however are only an approximation or
generalisation as it will be different for each differing shape or aerofoil depending
largely on its camber and fineness ratio.

Subsonic - At free stream airflows up to approximately M = 0.6, airflow over


all points of the aerofoil is subsonic. However it accelerates up to the point of
maximum camber and then decelerates towards the trailing edge, see
diagram below.

Transonic - As free-stream airflow increases to approximately M = 0.8,


airflow at the point of maximum camber reaches sonic speed (M = 1.0). A
weak shock wave termed an Incipient Shock Wave, forms at the point of
maximum camber at right angles to the surface and local airflow.
As the free-stream airflow increases in speed the shockwave strengthens and
inclines backwards, see diagram below.

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High Transonic - As the free stream airflow continues to gain speed up to


sonic speed (M = 1.0), the incipient shockwave move backward toward the
trailing edge and increases in strength, see diagram below.

Supersonic - As the free stream airflow reaches supersonic speed (e.g.


M = 1.1) the strengthened shock wave has moved back and attached itself to
the trailing edge, see diagram below.
A Bow Shock Wave also forms some distance in front of the leading edge.
This may be known as the Normal shockwave as it is initially at 90 to the
free-stream airflow but with increasing speed it strengthens and inclines
backward.

High Supersonic - As the free-stream airflow increases to the region of


M = 2.0, the bow wave attached to the leading edge and inclines back at an
increased angle. The tail wave angle is also increased with speed, see
diagram below. At this point the shock waves are considered to be 'fully
developed'.

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8.6 EFFECTS OF A SHOCKWAVE


As we saw previously shockwaves form at a point where the local airflow over an
object becomes sonic or supersonic. At other points the airflow is still subsonic.
As a shockwave is physically extremely thin (a few thousandths of a millimetre)
the effects it has on the airflow as it passes through it are extremely dramatic.
The diagrams below show the five stages of shock wave formation from fully
subsonic to fully supersonic over a symmetrical aerofoil at 0 angle of attack.

Subsonic - The diagram (a) below the aerofoil is all subsonic and there is a
relatively small turbulent wake aft of the transition point where the laminar
boundary layer becomes turbulent.

Transonic - As the free-stream airflow increases speed to the value where


the local airspeed at the point of maximum camber is sonic (M = 1.0) and
Incipient Shock Wave forms. This is initially very weak and at 90 to the
airflow.
This speed is the point at which a variety of adverse effects start to be felt and
it is therefore called the Critical Mach Number. The Incipient Shock Wave
has four effects on the (sonic) airflow as it passes through:
i. The airflow speed is instantaneously reduced.
ii. The density of the air is instantaneously increases (compressed).
iii. The pressure is instantaneously increased.
iv. The temperature is instantaneously increased.

The diagram (b) below shows conditions when the free-stream airflow has
further increased in speed (but is still subsonic). At this point three very
important changes take place:

i. An area forward of the shock wave (inside the dotted lines) is now

supersonic, caused by the increase of airspeed over the cambered


surface.
ii. Aft of the shockwave the air is,

Subsonic
Higher in density (compressed
Higher in pressure
Higher in temperature
iii. As the shockwave develops and strengthens, the 'transition point'

moves forward to near the shockwave causing the boundary layer to


separate from the aerofoil surface. This is called Shock Induced
Separation which causes a large, turbulent subsonic wake.
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High transonic - The diagram (c) shows the free-stream airflow at M = 1.0.
The shockwave has moved back taking the 'transition point' and the shock
induced separation back with it. The supersonic area forward of the shock
wave has grown. Airflow aft of the shockwave is still reduced to supersonic
speed.

Supersonic - The diagram (d) below shows the position with the freestream airflow supersonic in which:

i. A bow shockwave has formed.


ii. An area around the stagnation point of the aerofoil has supersonic

airflow.
iii. The original shockwave has moved to the trailing edge.
iv. There is no separation flow over the aerofoil.
v. As the air passes through the shock waves the speed, pressure,

density and temperature are modified by each successive


shockwave, but the initial high airspeed ensures that the airflow
remains supersonic throughout.
vi. A small turbulent subsonic wake is still present.

High Supersonic - The diagram (e) below shows conditions with the freestream airflow further increased in speed.

i. All airflow is now fully supersonic with no subsonic area at the

stagnation point.
ii. The bow wave is now attached to the leading edge.
iii. The wake is further reduced and is now supersonic.

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8.7 SHOCK INDUCED SEPARATION


As stated earlier, when the incipient shockwave forms, the boundary layer
separates from the point at which the shockwave meets the airframe causing a
large turbulent wake. This can happen at any point on the wings, tailplane or
fuselage where the local speed of the air reaches sonic or supersonic. Shock
induced separation has four detrimental effects, which are:
Shock induced drag
Buffet
Rapid centre of pressure changes
High speed/low incidence stall (shock stall)

8.8 SHOCK INDUCED DRAG


Shock induced drag is the combination of two effects which cause an extreme
rise in drag around the transonic region.

This drag reduces from its peak as speed further increase, but never returns to
it's subsonic levels.
The two components of shock-induced drag are:

Wave Drag - The changes in speed, pressure, density and temperature of


the airflow which happen in the shockwave require energy. This dissipation of
energy is observed as an increase in drag.

Boundary Layer Drag (Viscous Drag) - This is always present at any


speed of flight, but as shock-induced separation occurs, the much larger
turbulent wake produces a correspondingly high drag.

8.8.1 BUFFET
This is caused by the turbulent wake striking the airframe (fuselage, wings
tailplane etc) with considerable force causing a high amplitude 'vibration' which
physically shakes the whole aircraft.

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8.8.2 HIGH SPEED / LOW INCIDENCE STALL ( SHOCK STALL)


Shock induced separation, when it occurs over the wings had as effect similar to
the high incidence stall. The large, turbulent wake produced aft of the incipient
shockwave acts in a similar manner to that produced by the high incidence stall.
The turbulence destroys, or at best reduces the lift produced by the area of wing
over which it occurs.
If the incipient shockwave forms far enough forward on the wing, enough lift is
lost, which coupled with the rapid increase in drag (shock induced), causes the
aircraft to stall. This happens at a very small angle of attack and is totally
independent of it.

8.9 CENTRE OF PRESSURE CHANGES


The diagram below shows the pressure distribution you might expect at subsonic
speeds with the approximate position of the centre of pressure this distribution
would produce.

However, once the shockwaves form, this situation will change. As we saw
earlier as the air passes through the shockwave it is slowed down. More
important when we are considering lift is the effect on pressure and density.
These both rise.
The pressure over the top surface reduces rapidly up to the shockwave where
pressure and density instantly rise. This may contribute to shock stall. The
pressure then continues to rise toward the trailing edge. This has the effect of
moving the centre of pressure forward producing a nose up pitching moment on
the aircraft. This effect is only apparent in the transonic range. As the
shockwave moves to the trailing edge the centre of pressure returns to
approximately its original position. This effect may be cancelled or reversed by
similar effects on the lower surface.
As shock induced separation occurs the shock wave may also rapidly oscillate
back and fore over the wing. This causes a rapid up and down movement of the
nose accentuating buffet.
The movement of the centre of pressure associated with shock-wave
development results in trim changes throughout the transonic speed-range.
This requires an automatic response or correction input to the pitch control
system, which is termed Mach Trim.

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8.10 CONTROLLED SEPARATION - CONICAL VORTEX LIFT


As stated earlier, a wing with a sharp leading edge is subject to boundary layer
separation at small angles of attack. If the leading edge is swept back at an
acute angle this property can be used to produce lift. The diagram below shows
the highly swept inboard section of Concorde's wing. This wing is designed so
that the airflow over the sharp leading edge is encouraged to separate. In fact
Concorde flies with separated flow at all speeds and angles of attack.

This is possible because when the air separates it rolls up into conical vortices
over the wing, see diagram below. As these vortices are rotating at high speed,
the pressure within them is low and therefore lift is produced.
Whilst Concorde is designed to fly with separated flow at all speeds, other aircraft
such as the F16 are designed to fly with attached flow at low angles of attack and
separated flow at high angles of attack.

8.11 TRANSONIC FLIGHT


Supersonic flight, whilst glamorous is almost totally the realm of the military. This
is because high speed is a vital necessity for some military operations, with
speed over-riding all other considerations.
Civil aviation, with the one exception of Concorde, has remained in the subsonic
and transonic speed range, mainly because of financial considerations, in which
the aircraft designer must balance two opposing requirements when deciding
on the cruise speed of an aircraft:

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A Gas Turbine (Jet) engine is more fuel efficient at high speeds.

As an aircraft reaches the transonic region a sharp increase in drag is


encountered due to wave drag and shock induced separation. This means
higher fuel consumption.

Taking these two effects into consideration it has been found that flying at speeds
just below the onset of wave drag is the most economical. However, to obtain
the highest cruise speeds possible a great deal of design work has been directed
at delaying the onset of shockwave formation and reducing its effect.

8.12 CRITICAL MACH (MCRIT)


This high cruise speed introduces a further term i.e. Critical Mach Number
(MCRIT ). This is the aircraft speed (expressed in terms of Mach Number) at which
detrimental effects like shock wave formation, shock induced separation and
buffet first occur. It is therefore vital that this speed is not reached or exceeded in
normal operation. MCRIT will vary from aircraft to aircraft but M0.7 to M0.8 is a
representative valve and coincides with the buffer boundary.
8.12.1 TRANSONIC WING PLANFORM
Most (if not all) aircraft which are designed to cruise at transonic speed have
swept wings. This is because it has been found that a swept wing will delay the
onset of the compression (high speed) effects such as shockwave formation.
This is because the free-stream airflow meets the leading edge of a swept wing
at an angle. The vector of this airflow can be divided into two components, one
parallel to the wing (spanwise component) and one at ninety degrees to the wing
(normal component).

Velocity components on a swept wing


Only the normal component contributes to the generation of lift
It has been found by observation and experiment that as long as the velocity of
the normal component is subsonic, the flow patterns and characteristics will be
similar to ordinary low speed flow. This may be true even if the normal and
spanwise components add up to a supersonic free stream velocity.
From this it appears that:
Normal component = free stream velocity cosine of sweep angle.
Therefore the amount of sweep required to maintain subsonic flow characteristics
must increase with aircraft speed.

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Page 8-11

8.13 SWEEP BACK


Unfortunately swept wings have detrimental characteristics that must be
balanced against their advantages.
The detrimental characteristics are:

Lift Generation - The normal velocity component is the only component of


flow that effects shock formation. Unfortunately it is the only component that
effects lift. Therefore to generate the same amount of lift as a straight wing it
must be larger and heavier.
(Lift = V2.S.CL. so if V2 is reduced S must be increased to maintain a
constant lift).

Drag - Although lift is dependent on the normal component, drag is


dependent on both components. Therefore a swept wing will have a poorer
lift to drag ratio than an equivalent sized straight wing.

Tip Stall - In a swept wing configuration, trailing vortex generation and


resulting downwash differs from that of a straight wing. In a swept wing the
trailing vorticity and hence downwash is not as strong as the tips. In some
cases there may even be an upwash.
This has two results:
i. The wingtips have a higher angle of attack and stall before the inner

wing causing the C of P to move forward. This produces a divergent


upward pitching moment.
ii. Ailerons become ineffective.

As a result the benefits of wing-sweep must be balanced against the bad


characteristics. This limits the amount of sweep employed and therefore to
an extent, the aircraft speed.
Because Tip-stalling is generally undesirable, one method of reducing this
tendency is to reduce the angle of attack at the tips, in comparison to that of
the inboard wing-sections. This is achieved by twisting the wing between
root and tip so as to reduce the angle of incidence at the tip. This is termed
wash-out.

Boundary Layer Separation - In addition to the problem of upwash, the tips


of a swept wing are also inherently prone to a thicker, more turbulent
boundary layer which makes them prone to boundary layer separation before
the inner wing. This adds to the previous problem of tip stall.
This problem can be controlled by the use of several devices as shown in the
diagram below. These control the spanwise flow of air which is the cause of
the thickening boundary layer at the wingtips.

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Devices for inhibiting flow separation on swept wings


(a) Wing fence, (b) Vortilon, (c) Saw-tooth leading edge
i. Wing fences mounted chordwise extending back from the leading

edge, see diagram (a) above. These effectively split the wing into
separate sections and also shed a vortex which rotates in the
opposite direction to the wingtip vortex.
ii.

A saw tooth or dog tooth leading edge, see diagram (c) above, may
also be used. This also generates a vortex.

iii.

The vortilon, see diagram (b) above, is a small fence which extends
forward from beneath the leading edge to create a vortex over the top
surface at high angles of attack.

iv. Vortex Generators are small 'brackets' attached near the leading

edge. These shed small vortices which mix with the thickening
boundary layer to re-energise it and so prevent or delay separation.
They may extend over the whole span or just part of it.

8.14 INSTABILITY
Another disadvantage is the common-tendency to demonstrate a degree of
dynamic instability, particularly with respect to lateral and directional stability.
There instabilities are often coupled and produce a phenomenon called Dutch
Roll. This is overcome by sensing the resultant motion and then generating an
automatic response or correction to the rudder. Such a system is commonly
found on swept-wing aircraft and is termed yaw damping.

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8.15 THE SUPER CRITICAL WING


The diagram below shows the pressure distribution over an aerofoil designed for
low speed operation. This has a high degree of camber which causes high
speeds of flow over the top surface with a large suction peak at the leading edge
and a steep adverse pressure gradient towards the trailing edge.
Low Speed Aerofoil Pressure Distribution

Mach number below 1.0 over surface


Note: Leading edge suction peak and adverse pressure gradient
on top surface
These properties produce supersonic flow over the top surface and a strong
incipient shockwave. Even at relatively low free stream airflow velocities.
Therefore this is not a shape suitable for high transonic airspeeds. The
supercritical wing, see diagram below, has been developed to overcome these
problems.

'Roof Top' Pressure Distribution


Local surface Mach number is close to 1.0 between A and B
This design, is used on most modern transonic airliners and although there will
be slight differences between aircraft, the basic design is the same.
The main features are:

The camber is reduced at the front.

The camber is increased at the rear.

The thickness is reduced as much as possible without detracting from the


strength and stiffness of the structure.

This had the effect, with a given free-stream airflow of lowering the 'local' high
airflow speeds at the leading edge and reducing the adverse pressure gradient
over the rear of the aerofoil. This gives a pressure distribution with a more even
spread of pressure known as a roof top distribution with a shock-free
recompression at increased free-stream airflows.
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8.16 SHOCK-FREE COMPRESSION


As the air over the wing accelerates and becomes supersonic, the expected
result is for a shockwave to form. This shockwave is the result of a series of
'weak compressive waves' coalescing into a shockwave, see diagram below.

This can be observed in a wind tunnel. The incipient shockwave forms at a


distance from the aerofoil surface and as it 'strengthens' it grows in length to
attach itself to the surface.
If the aerofoil can be designed so that the weak compressive waves are angled
so that they will coalesce outside the supersonic flow region, a shockwave will
not form and shockless re-compression will occur as in the diagram below.

Weak compression waves in supersonic region reach sonic


boundary before forming shock wave
Despite the possibilities of shock-free re-compression some supercritical aerofoils
do fly with a weak incipient shockwave.
The diagram below shows an aerofoil with a large area of supersonic airflow over
the forward part ending in a weak shockwave.

Peaky Pressure Distribution


Flow on top surface is supersonic up to weak shock wave
This produces an aerofoil capable of higher wing-loadings (more lift) but with a
minimum wave drag penalty.
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8.17 THE TRANSONIC AREA RULE


To produce minimum Boundary Layer Normal Pressure (or Form) Drag a body
must be streamlined. That is, it must have a high fineness ration with a
maximum thickness about halfway along its length and a gradual change in
cross-section area.
It has been found that for an aircraft in transonic flight to meet these conditions,
the total cross-section including the wings, tailplane etc must be taken into
account. In some designs this had led to the fuselage being "wasted" to
counteract the large cross-section change caused by the wings and empenage.
This however, has been normally restricted to military designs as a civil aircraft
requires an untapered fuselage.
Area rule, then, is where the designer has carefully controlled the development
of the total cross-sectional area (c.s.a) from fore to aft, avoiding sudden
changes which are known to promote premature formation of shock-waves.
Area-rule was investigated by a NACA aerodynamicist (Whitcomb) who
conducted experiments which evaluated the variation in CD of similar (but not
identical) shapes at transonic speeds, as the diagram shows.

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The other diagrams show the typical change in appearance when area-rule is
applied to an aircraft, and also the additional aerodynamic benefits resulting from
extending or stretching the upper deck on a Boeing 747.

8.18 BUFFET BOUNDARY


As we have seen, buffet is the result of shock-induced separation and the rapid
movement of the incipient shockwave back and forth along the wing chord line.
Not only can buffet be a warning of imminent shock-stall, it is in itself a condition
which can threaten the safety of the aircraft. For this reason the 'buffet boundary'
is the marker for the top speed of a transonic aircraft.

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8.19 AIRFLOW THROUGH AN OBLIQUE SHOCKWAVE


Airflow, when it passes through a 'normal' shockwave, (i.e. the shockwave is a t
90 to the flow) is slowed down (to a sub-sonic speed), but its direction is not
altered. If the shockwave is an oblique shockwave, inclined at an angle to the
flow, this is not the case. The diagram below shows the effect of an oblique
wave.

The velocity vector V1, can be divided into two. A vector normal (at 90) to the
shockwave Vn and one Tangential (parallel) to the wave V t. The wave only has
an effect on the normal vector, reducing it.
Therefore Vt behind the wave is unchanged but V n2 is shortened (speed
component reduced). So V2 must be inclined outward in relation to V 1.

8.20 SUPERSONIC AEROFOIL SECTIONS


Previously we have considered airflow over chambered wings. These may be
adequate for subsonic or transonic flight but are not suitable for fully supersonic
flight. To generate lift with minimum drag at supersonic speeds, totally different
aerofoil cross-sections are required. These utilise to the full, the shockwaves
produced and their effect of compressing air; and mach waves which expand air
as it passes through them.
We are therefore studying Compressive Airflow.

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8.20.1 FLAT PLATE AEROFOIL


The most efficient supersonic aerofoil is a flat plate held at a small angle of
attack, see diagram below.

Being a flat plate, it has sharp leading edge which encourages the bow
shockwave to attach itself readily.
A feature of many designs of supersonic aerofoil is a razor sharp leading edge
which is employed for that purpose.
8.20.2 GENERATION OF LIFT
8.20.2.1

Flow Under the Aerofoil (Flat Plate)

The (supersonic) airflow approaches the aerofoil and is undisturbed until it


encounters the bow shockwave which is attached to the leading edge and
extends downward and backward at an angle. (Oblique shockwave).
As the air encounters the shockwave, it is:
i. Slowed down
ii. Compressed
iii. The pressure rises
iv. The temperature rises
v. Deflected instantaneously to flow parallel to the aerofoil undersurface.

The pressure rise produces a lifting force on the aerofoil.


As the flow reaches the trailing edge, it encounters an expansion wave. An
expansion wave is an area bounded by two weak shock waves termed mach
lines. These mach lines are attached to the trailing edge and form a diverging
fan shaped area. As the air passes through this area, it is:
i. Accelerated to its original velocity
ii. Expanded
iii. The pressure drops to its original value
iv. The temperature drops
v. It is gradually deflected to its original course.

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8.20.2.2

Flow Over the Aerofoil

At the leading edge, extending upward, is an expansion wave identical to that at


below the trailing edge and this has the identical effect, which is to:
i. Accelerate the airflow
ii. Expand it
iii. Reduce the pressure
iv. Reduce the temperature
v. Gradually deflect the flow within the expansion wave until it flows

parallel to the top surface.


The reduced pressure causes a suction over the aerofoil producing lift.
As the airflow reaches the trailing edge it encounters a shockwave which:
i. Decelerates it
ii. Deflects it instantaneously back to its original direction of flow
iii. Compresses it
iv. Raises its pressure to its original value
v. Raises its temperature

Unfortunately a flat-plate aerofoil has two major draw backs:

It is not able to withstand the structural forces that would be applied to it.

At subsonic speeds its lift generating capacity is almost zero.

Because of this, the lift producing effect of the flat plate is used on variations of
this shape and therefore are two main cross-sectional shapes which are
commonly used as practical supersonic aerofoils. These are:

The Double Wedge

The Bi-Convex Form

8.20.3 DOUBLE WEDGE AEROFOIL SECTION


The double wedge, like the flat plate uses shockwaves and expansion waves to
produce lift in supersonic flight.
Life the flat plate it must also have a small angle of attack for efficient lift
production. In fact for the best lift/drag ratio the front-top and rear-lower surfaces
should be parallel to the free-stream airflow.

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As this attitude the aerofoil produces shockwaves and expansion waves as


shown in the diagram above. Thus air under the forward, lower surface is at a
high pressure and that over the upper rear surface is as a lower pressure.
Elsewhere it has all the same characteristics of the free-stream airflow.
8.20.4 BI-CONVEX AEROFOIL SECTION
This shape also produces pressure differences and lift by shockwaves and
expansion waves and as it is a symmetrical shape it must also have a small
angle of attack to do this.
The diagram below shows a bi-convex aerofoil with its shockwave and mach
lines causing an extended area of expansion over the complete upper and lower
surfaces.

This bi-convex aerofoil acts in a similar way to the double wedge. The airflow
under the aerofoil first encounters a shockwave which raises its density and
pressure. These steadily reduce to original values as the airflow passes through
a 'field' of expansion waves.
Over the top surface, the airflow first passes through a 'field' of expansion waves
which gradually reduces its pressure and density to a minimum. These are
returned to their original values as they encounter the trailing-edge shockwave
which re-compresses the air.
8.20.5 PRESSURE DISTRIBUTION
The diagram below shows the pressure distribution for each of the forms along
with the location of the centre of pressure. As can be seen the centre of pressure
is in the middle of the aerofoil and the pressure is evenly distributed giving a zero
pitching moment.
It must be emphasised that these are basic shapes only. Any aerofoil section
used on an aircraft would use a complex adaptation of these basics to optimise
high speed flight but still maintain adequate low speed performance for take-off
and landing.

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8.21 SUPERSONIC WING PLANFORMS


Air, flowing at subsonic speeds can be influences by objects many metres
upstream. This is evident when watching airflow in a wind tunnel using a smoke
generator. A change in an aerofoil's angle of attack will greatly effect the path of
the oncoming air before it reaches the aerofoil. The effect can be attributed to an
object (aerofoil etc), transmitting pressure waves upstream at the speed of
sound. These 'warn' the oncoming air of its presence. The air can then flow
smoothly round the object.
In supersonic airflow this cannot happen. As the object is travelling faster than
the speed of sound, the pressure waves cannot propagate upstream in front of
the object. In fact an object (or point), can only effect the air within its mach cone
which is in effect downstream. Conversely, the airflow within a mach cone
although still supersonic may be influenced by events upstream (as far as the
apex of the mach cone) and so may act as if it is sub-sonic.
These are important considerations when the design of supersonic wings is
considered.
8.21.1 THE UNSWEPT SUPERSONIC WING
In the unswept wing, see diagram below, supersonic airflow causes a mach cone
to be produced by each wing tip and a mach wedge is produced by the leading
edge. As the wing tip can only effect the area within its mach cone the majority of
the wing acts like an infinitely long wing. This means there is no span-wise flow
over the inboard part of the wing and all flow is two dimensional.
Within the tip mach cone, the airflow is influenced by pressure waves generated
by points of the wing upstream. It therefore has 'advanced warning' that there is
something to encounter further downstream. The nett result is that within the
mach cone a span-wise flow (as in subsonic flow) is possible and a pair of wingtip vortices are produced.

With an unswept supersonic wing a sharp leading edge is required. This is to


ensure that the bow shockwave attaches as soon as possible thus reducing the
wave drag.
Unfortunately a sharp leading edge will cause boundary layer separation and stall
at relatively small angles of attack. This means an aircraft with straight
supersonic wings has a high landing speed which is dictated by the small angle
of attack that can be tolerated.
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8.21.2 THE SWEPT SUPERSONIC WING


The mach cone generated by any point on a wing is governed by the mach
number of the airstream. The higher the airspeed the smaller the mach angle. If
the whole leading edge can be placed in this mach cone then low speed handling
advantages can be gained.
8.21.2.1

Subsonic Leading Edge

The diagram below shows a wing with a degree of sweep greater than the mach
cone. In this configuration any airflow entering the mach cone produced by point
B will be influenced by pressure waves emanating from point B. This has the
effect of 'warning' the air that an obstacle is in its path and the air will then act
sub-sonically and floe smoothly over the wing, even though it may still be
travelling supersonically.
In this configuration the wing is said to have a subsonic leading edge. This
means a rounded leading edge may be employed, which will enhance the wings
low speed characteristics delaying boundary layer separation at high angles of
attack, allowing a slower landing speed and better low speed performance.

Swept wing with subsonic leading edge


Airflow approaching section AA is influences by point B, but A
Cannot affect B
The diagram below shows a complete wing with a mach cone generated from the
leading 'point'. (In reality this would be generated from the aircraft nose).

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As the whole of the wing is within the mach cone it will act sub-sonically. i.e. the
air will flow over it without generating leading edge shockwaves. Unfortunately
as the wing is 'subsonic' it will allow spanwise flow and therefore wingtip vortices
(and drag) will be produced.
If the leading edge were forward of the mach cone it would act as a supersonic
edge with all the associated shockwaves and their effects.
8.21.3 SUBSONIC & SUPERSONIC TRAILING EDGES
The same arguments may be used to predict the flow over the trailing edge, see
diagram below. If the trailing edge is 'subsonic' no trailing edge shockwave will
form.

If the trailing edge is supersonic, see diagram below, a trailing edge shockwave
will form.

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8.21.4 SUPERSONIC ENGINE INTAKES


A final consideration of shock-wave formation concerns not the aerofoil or
airframe airflows but that through engine intakes of gas-turbines.
It should be appreciated that the airflow into the engine compressor should be
sub-sonic. So a supersonic airflow must be slowed-down. This is normally
achieved by designing the intake ducts so as to create shock waves, through
which the velocities will be reduced. An additional benefit is that the pressure
increased, which is what is required as it passes on through the compressor.
The intake-geometry necessary for this to happen may be fixed or more
probably variable. (A good example is the complex intake system on Concorde
which took considerable time and effort to develop, but which was essential if the
performance targets were to be achieved).
(Variable-geometry intake (Concorde))

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9. HELICOPTER AERODYNAMICS
The Aerodynamics Module has so far considered heavier - than - air vehicles that
are able to fly by depending on fixed wings (relative to the fuselage), moving
relative to the surrounding air. The lift force is proportional to this movement
(speed) and to the angle of attack.
The same principle applies equally to the helicopter. It is often described as a
rotary wing aircraft, because the wings or blades rotate relative to the fuselage
and to the air. This of course gives the helicopter its main feature - the fuselage
does not need to move relative to the air so it can ascend vertically or hover. (It
is useful to differentiate between the helicopter and autogyro. The autogyro has
rotary wings (blades) but as these are not powered, the ability to climb vertically
or hover is absent).
Helicopters may have more than one rotor, each rotor may have 2 or more
blades. Like a fixed-wing aircraft, the larger the helicopter, the greater the power
required and the greater the number of blades. Many helicopters have a tailrotor, this is simply to overcome the torque-reaction of the main-rotor, but also
provides yaw control. They must also have some form of device to allow the
rotor to rotate, following the possible failure of the engine.
When considering aerofoil performance, a critical parameter is the angle of
attack, the angle between chord line relative airflow. A helicopter blade can
move in a somewhat complicated manner for reasons which will become clear,
but it requires the introduction of several terms or definitions at this stage.
Definitions - refer to diagrams.

Shaft axis - the axis of the main rotor shaft.

Axis of rotation - the axis of rotation of the rotor head and blade assembly.
(It is not necessarily the same as the shaft axis).

Plane of rotation - the plane of rotation of the rotor head / blade assembly,
which is at right-angles to the axis of rotation.

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Tip path plane - the path of the rotor tips, parallel to the plane of rotation.

Blade pitch - similar to the angle of incidence in fixed-wing terminology, it is


the angle between the chord-line and the plane of rotation.

Rotor thrust and drag - equivalent to Lift and Drag and expressed relative
to the plane of rotation.

Coning angle - rise of blade due to thrust, thus the blade forms an angle
with the plane of rotation.

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9.1 CYCLIC & COLLECTIVE CONTROLS


A helicopter is able to move vertically or horizontally, and its path can be a
combination of both. Whatever the movement, it is the result of the rotor blade
forces being altered, in both magnitude and direction.
Vertical movement is achieved by increasing the pitch (blade angle) of all the
rotating blades, thus increasing the angle of attack and the lift. A lever, usually
found lying horizontally to the left of the pilot, is raised in a vertical sense. It is
known as the collective pitch lever. Just as drag increases when lift increases,
the rotor drag increase necessitates an increase in power, in order to maintain
rotor RPM, see diagram. (This is often achieved automatically by governor and
computer).

Horizontal movement is achieved by 'tilting' the rotor disc in the direction of the
required movement. This tilting of the disc provides a horizontal component in
addition to the vertical force. Tilting is achieved by increasing the blade pitch on
one side whilst decreasing the pitch on the opposite side. This requires each
blade to alternately increase then decrease its pitch during 360 of disc rotation.
This represents a cyclical change in pitch and therefore leads to the term cyclic
pitch being applied to the lever which corresponds to the control column found on
fixed wing aircraft.

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9.2 ANTI-TORQUE CONTROL


The torque applied by the power unit to the rotor (and in turn to the airflow)
results in an equal and opposite reaction being applied to the fuselage. Given
that the shaft axis is vertical, this means that the fuselage will yaw. Use of a fin
and rudder is not possible (when hovering, there is no relative airflow) and so a
horizontal force creating a corrective moment must be generated. This is done
by a tail-rotor, replacing a fin and rudder, and driven by the power-unit. Because
a variation in main rotor torque requires a corresponding variation in tail-rotor
force, the tail-rotor blade pitch is variable and is controlled by rudder-pedals. This
allows the tail-rotor to both balance the torque, but also to deliberately yaw the
aircraft.

The previous paragraphs have introduced the basic concept of rotary-wing


aerodynamics, and have highlighted the cyclical nature of the aerodynamic
forces. The torque reaction required a second rotor to oppose it, in the absence
of fixed aerodynamic control surfaces. These factors introduce their own
problems which necessitate solutions that lead to added complexity.

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9.3 EFFECT OF THE TAIL ROTOR


The torque reaction of the main rotor is overcome by moment provided by the tail
rotor. Recalling basic physics, a torque is being balanced by a torque, but here
the balancing torque is not itself a couple, but a force multiplied by a distance.
Considering forces, the tail-rotor force is unbalanced, and acts as though trying
to move the helicopter sideways. This is termed tail-rotor drift. It could be
reduced by placing the tail-rotor as far as possible from the main rotor, but this is
not practical. The usual solution is to tilt the main disc to produce a sideways
force in the opposite direction, either automatically or manually.
If the tail-rotor force is below the sideways force of the main rotor, as outlined
above, another couple will be created which tends to roll the helicopter. Hence it
is termed tail-rotor roll. It can be alleviated by raising the line of action of the tail
rotor force to the same level as the corrective force of the main rotor.

9.4 MAIN ROTOR HEAD CONFIGURATION & MOVEMENT


A blade has to be able to rotate about its chord axis, i.e. to alter its pitch, either
cyclically or collectively.

As a result of these changes, the blades will also tend to rise or fall (remember
the tip path is not the same as the plane of rotation, but creates a coning angle).
To reduce bending stresses, blades are often allowed to 'flap' upwards or
downwards by a flapping-hinge.

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Similarly, variation in dragging-forces is accommodated by a drag-hinge. The


effect of drag varies cyclically for several reasons and so the instantaneous
position of the blade may lead or lag about its main position. The drag-hinge
allows movement backwards and forward but this movement is restricted by
some form of drag-damper.
Following a cycle pitch input, the variation in blade angle during rotation of the
rotor disc is theoretically complicated but practically less-so, as the blade
movements about the hinges leads to the so-called 'flapping to equality'.

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