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Lift, Drag and Straight-Level Flight

Dr. M. Turner

Spring Semester

Before anything else: some crucial equations


Drag on a wing (body)

Lift on a wing (body)


L=

1
SCL V 2
2

D=

1
SCD V 2
2

Drag coefficient:

Lift coefficient:

CD = CD0 + CL2

CL = CL0 + CL

V
S

air density
(True) Airspeed
wing area

kg /m3
m/s
m2

Below Mach 1: CD0 , CL0 , CL , are constant

Extensive use made of the above in the course!

Lift

Lift makes aircraft fly


Primarily generated by the wings
We consider a lumped lift model: L = Lwing + Lbody + Ltail + . . .
In principle can calculate lift using wing geometry etc....
...Often convenient to characterize lift in a simpler, experimental
way, using lift coefficient, CL
CL =

L
1
2
2 V S

V
S

L=

1 2
V SCL
2

Lift (Newtons)
air density (kg /m3 )
(true) velocity of aircraft (m/s)
total wing area (m2 )

CL can be considered as the normalised lift: often preferred

Lift coefficient CL

CL depends on several different factors (Mach number) but one of


the most important is the angle of attack,
is the angle of incidence to the on-coming airstream.
CL

CL

STALL

Increase in incidence
gives increase in lift
coefficient in
linear region

lift coefficient
decreases
after critical
angle reached

Increase in incidence
gives increase in lift
coefficient in
linear region

STALL
Stall point
higher than
on symmetric
wing

zero incidence gives


postive lift

zero incidence gives


zero lift

CL - graph: non-symmetric wing


CL - graph: symmetric wing
At stall point, lift coefficient is maximum: CL = CL,max
For small (in linear region):
CL = CL0 +

CL

Lift coefficient CL
Comparison of CL,max at take off for different aircraft
CL,max typically corresponds to 16
Concorde
SAAB Viggen
F16
P51-Mustang
Boeing 747

Delta, no flaps
Delta-Canard
WW2 Fighter-Bomber

SAAB Viggen - Delta-Canard Fighter

0.8
1.2
1.3
1.4
2.5

Drag

Drag impedes motion of aircraft


Contributed by wings, body, tailplane, engines...
We consider a lumped drag model:
D = Dwing + Dbody + Dtail + . . .
CD =

D=

1 2
V SCD
2

Alternatively drag can be expressed as


CD

D
1
2
2 V S

CL2
eA
= CD0 + CL2
= CD0 +

(e

efficiency factor = constant)

CD0 responsible for parasitic drag (form drag)


CL2 responsible for lift induced (or simply induced) drag

Drag variation with speed


Lumped model of drag is given by
D=

1 2
V SCD
2

Approximately:
CD = CD0 + CL2

CD0 , const

Thus
D

1 2
1
1
V S(CD0 + CL2 ) = V 2 SCD0 + V 2 SCL2
2
2
2

Using expression for CL then gives


D

=
=

1
1 2
V CD0 S + V 2 S
2
2
1 2
V CD0 S
|2 {z }

no lift drag

L
1
2
2 V S

!2

L2
1
2
2 V S

| {z }

lift dependent drag

Drag variation with speed


AIRCRAFT
DRAG
TOTAL DRAG

NOLIFT
DRAG

LIFT DEPENDENT DRAG

VS

VMD

AIRSPEED

Plot is shown for a height corresponding to a certain air density

Point-mass approximation of aircraft performance


Straight and level flight
L
V

mg

Approximating aircraft as point-mass gives


dV
dt
d 2z
m 2
dt
m

T D

L mg

V
T
D
m
L

horizontal velocity
thrust
drag
aircraft mass
lift

Thus for constant height and constant forward velocity, V , we have


T
L

=
=

D
mg

(1)
(2)

Velocity in straight-and-level flight


Lift is given by
L=

1 2
V SCL
2

Using equation (2), this means


1
CL V 2 S
2
V2
V

= mg
2mg
CL S
s
2mg
=
CL S
=

As , m, S (and obviously g !) are constant in straight-level flight


1/2

V CL

Stall speed: the lowest speed at which the aircraft can maintain steady
flight
r
mg
Vs =
CL,max S