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Aerodynamics of the 737-300

An in-depth article about the aerodynamics, and flying characteristics of the Boeing 737-300. Highly technical and detailed, this is a must read for engineers or pilots planning to flying the Boeing 737. 1. Airfoil The Boeing 737-300 airfoil, unlike some aircraft, does not have a NACA number. This is because the airfoil for the 737300 is custom made by the Boeing Company. The airfoil for the 737-300 is taken from the earlier and less efficient 737200. {mosgoogle}The main changes to the airfoil focused on the leading edge contour and improved high-speed performance and the turbulent air penetration speed. The airfoil itself is mostly symmetrical at the root but it becomes somewhat laminar the farther down you go on the wing as shown in the airfoil cross sections below. The identifier given to the wing by Boeing for the wing root airfoil is BAC 449/450/451 and the wing tip airfoil identifier is BAC 442 mod.

Thickness0.1537 Leading edge radius0.0392 Camber0.0028 Trailing edge angle[deg]14.2211

Thickness0.1256 Leading edge radius0.0212 Camber0.0075 Trailing edge angle[deg]13.2757

Thickness0.1000 Leading edge radius0.0100 Camber0.0145 Trailing edge angle[deg]11.2016

Thickness0.1080 Leading edge radius0.0117 Camber0.0158 Trailing edge angle[deg]11.6657

2. Lift Generated The Boeing 737-300 has a maximum takeoff weight of 124,500 pounds. Flying at this weight at 10,000 and 30,000 feet, in un-accelerated flight, would create lift equal to the weight of the aircraft.

At 10,000 Feet:

L= W= 124,500 lbs CL = unknown σ = .7385


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V = 320 knots S = 1135 ft2

L = CLσV2S 295

{mosgoogle} 124,500 = (CL)(.7385)(3202)(1135) 295

124,500 = 85831424 * CL 295

124,500 = 290953.98 * CL

CL = .43

The lift equation requires that the dynamic pressure, q, be known. q is equal to 256.35 using σ, found from page 20 of Flight Theory and Aerodynamics.

σ = .7385 V = 320 knots

q = σ V2 295

q = .7385 * 3202 295

q = 256.35

L = CL q S

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L = .43 * 256.35 * 1135

L = 125,111.6

Lift should equal weight in un-accelerated flight; although the equation is close, it is not exactly equal to the weight. Varying the airspeed does not give an exact equation where lift equals weight either. When V = 319 knots the answer is slightly less the 124,500 lbs. The dynamic pressure, q, again, needs to be found using the table from page 20.

q = .7385 * 3192 295

q = 75150.50 295

q = 254.75

L = CL * q * s

L = .43 * 254.75 * 1135

L = 124,330.74

Lift still does not equal weight. Therefore, lift is equal to weight between 319 and 320 knots.

At 30,000 Feet:

L= W= 124,500 lbs CL = unknown σ = .3741 V = 436 knots S = 1135 ft2


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L = CLσV2S

295

124,500 = (CL)(.3741)(4362)(1135) 295

124,500 = 80715427.9 * CL 295

124,500 = 273611.62 * CL

CL = .46

σ= .3741

V = 436 knots

q = V2 295

q = .3741 * 4362 295

q = 241.07

L = CL q S

L = .46 * 241.07 * 1135

L = 125,862.65

Again, the answer to the equation


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is larger than the actual weight. Varying the speed by two knots leads to the amount of lift being less than weight being lifted.

σ = .3741

V = 434 knots q = σV2 295

q = .3741 * 4342 295

q = 238.86

L = CL q S

L = .46 * 238.86 * 1135

L = 124709.30

At 434 knots the lift created is slight low, so the cruise speed would be between 434 and 435 knots. The POH gave a cruise speed of 436 knots at 30,000 ft at this weight, but for lift to equal weight the cruise speed would be closer to 434 knots.

Coefficient of lift at 10,000 ft

The Boeing 737-300 produces a lift coefficient of .43 at 10,000 feet at maximum takeoff weight.

W= 124,500 lbs V = 320 knots S = 1135 Ft2

CL = ____295 * W____
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7385 * 3202 * 1135

CL = 295 * 124,500 .7385 * 3202 * 1135

{mosgoogle} CL = 36727500 85831424

CL = .43

4. CL MAX

CL MAX is computed at the maximum landing weight, 114,000 lbs, at sea level.

VSO 105 knots at 30 flap

CL MAX = 295 L

σ V2 S

CL MAX = 295 * 114,000 1 * 1052 * 1135

CL MAX = 33630000 12513375

CL MAX = 2.69

VS 141 at 0 flap

CL MAX = 295 L

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σ V2 S

CL MAX = 295 * 114,000 1 * 1412 * 1135

CL MAX = 33630000 22564935

CL MAX = 1.49

5. Coefficient of lift at approach speed and gross weight.

The coefficient of lift during the landing phase is 1.6 at 136 knots, 114,000 lbs, the maximum landing weight, and at sea level.

CL = 295 W &sigma V2 S

CL = 295 * 114,000

1.0 * 1362 * 1135

CL = 33630000 20992960

CL = 1.6

6. High Coefficient of Lift Devices:

Lift Devices

Introduction
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The high lift leading edge devices are used in combination with the trailing edge flaps to increase lift during takeoff and landing. The trailing edge flaps and leading edge devices, when extended, increase the wing chord and camber, which greatly increases lift, providing slower approach speeds and greater maneuvering capability.{mosgoogle} Trailing edge flap positions from 0 to 15 provide increased lift with relatively little increase in drag, while drag rises more rapidly than lift for positions greater than 15 and up to 40.

Auto Slat System The auto slat system provides improved handling qualities at high angles of attack during takeoff or approach to landing. When trailing edge flaps 1 through 5 are selected, the leading edge salts are in the EXTEND position. As the airplane approaches the stall angle, the slats automatically go to the FULL EXTENDED position, prior to stick shaker activation. The slats return to the EXTEND position when the pitch angle is sufficiently reduced below the stall critical attitude.

Leading Edge Devices The leading edge devices consist of 4 flaps and 6 slats. Two flaps are inboard of each engine and 3 slats are outboard of each engine. Flaps are hinged surfaces that extend by rotating downward from the lower surface of the wing leading edge. Slats are sections of the wing leading edge that extend forward to for a slotted leading edge.

7. Drag Inducing Devices

Speed Breaks The flight spoilers are used as speed breaks in the air, and both flight spoilers and ground spoilers are raised to reduce lift and for aerodynamic breaking on the ground. In Flight Operation By actuating the speed break lever, all flight spoiler panels will rise symmetrically in incremental amounts to act as speed breaks. In a turn, the spoilers will greatly increase the roll rate. Spoilers Flight spoilers rise on the wing with up aileron and remain faired on the wing with down aileron.

8. Drag

Drag is the aerodynamic force that acts parallel and rearward of the direction of flight and a factor an aircraft must overcome for flight. The drag at 30,000 feet is 4946.27 pounds and at 10,000 feet, the drag is 4626.26 pounds.

At 30,000

Cd needs to be found to complete the drag equation

V= 436 knots S= 1135 ft q= 256.35 (from question 2)

CD= 295*d
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&sigma*V2*S

CD= 295 * 4650 .3741*4362*1135

1371750 = .017 80715426.94

D=CD*q*S

D=.017*256.35*1135

D= 4946.27 lbs of drag

At 10,000

V= 320 kts S=1135 q= 254.75 (from question 2.)

CD = 295*d σ*V2*S

CD= 295*4650

.7385*3202*1135

1371750 85831424

=CD

CD = .016

D = CD*q*S
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D = .016 * 254.75 * 1135

D = 4626.26 Lbs of drag

9. Dmin at gross weight

The Dmin drag for the 737-300 is 8,300 lbs. The minimum drag occurs at L/D max where the aircraft is most aerodynamically efficient.

L/D max = 15

Dmin=

L/D MAX

{mosgoogle} Dmin = 124,500 15

Dmin=8,300 lbs

10. 737-300 Wing Planform

S (Wing Area) = 1135 square feet

b (Wing Span) = 94 9 from tip to tip

AR (Aspect Ratio) = 9.16

Cr (Root Chord) = 7.32 % Ct (Tip Chord) = 1.62 %

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Taper ratio = 0.240

Sweep Angle = 25 degrees

MAC (Mean Aerodynamic Chord) = 8-27.6 %

11. The following graphs depict the Thrust Required and the Drag Curves.

This chart shows the thrust required for various airspeeds at sea level, on a standard day. At sea level, the engines produce 20,000 pounds of thrust on a standard day.

{mosgoogle} The jet engines used on the Boeing 737-300 are made by CFM. The 300 series uses the CFM 56-3.

Total, Parasite, and Induced Drag

This graph shows the different types of drag and their effect on flight at various airspeeds. The low point on the graph is where L/D MAX occurs. Although the graph does not depict it the low airspeed and AOA will create more parasite drag than shown.

Airspeed

Power Required

Dp=1/2Dmin(V2/V1)^2

Di=1/2Dmin(V1/V2)^2

Dt=Dp+Di

125

13180.4

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1469.1

11711.3

13180.4

150

10250.5

2116.5

8134

10250.5

200

8337.35

3764.05

4573.3

8337.35

210

8300

4150

4150

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8300

250

8810.45

5880.55

2929.9

8810.45

300

10499.5

8466

2033.5

10499.5

350

13022.7

11528.7

1494

13022.7

400
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16201.6

15056.2

1145.4

16201.6

12. Winglets

The original 737-300 aircraft did not come with or have the option to have winglets. Now there is an option for winglets. Testing of the 737-300SP (Special Performance) started in November 2002 and gained its Supplemental Type Certificate on 30 May 2003.

{mosgoogle} Benefits of winglets on the 737-300

Depending on the airplane, its cargo, the airline's routes and other factors, winglets have the potential to give: Improved Performance on Takeoff Winglets pay off in better takeoff performance, especially from obstacle-limited, high, hot, weight-limited, and/or noiserestricted airports by allowing a steeper climb. The performance, improved climb gradients increase 737-800 allowable takeoff weight (TOW).

Some examples: Chicago-Midway: ~1,600 lb additional TOW Albuquerque, Denver, and Salt Lake City: ~4,400 lb additional TOW

Reduced engine wear and maintenance costs Better climb performance also allows lower thrust settings, thus extending engine life and reducing maintenance costs. Lower Required Thrust Levels Extend On-Wing Life. Takeoff - Winglets allow up to 3% incremental derate. Cruise - Cruise thrust levels are reduced by up to 4%.

Fuel savings Winglets reduce fuel burn by lowering drag and improving aerodynamic efficiency. Depending on the missions you fly, blended winglets can improve cruise fuel mileage up to 6 percent, especially important during a time of rising fuel prices.
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Increased range versus payload. The addition of Winglets to the 737 has demonstrated drag reduction in the 5 to 7% range that measurably increases range and fuel efficiency . In addition, the Blended Winglets allow the 737 to take off from higher, hotter airports with increased payload.

Improved flexibility in operations By increasing Payload Range and Overall Performance, Blended Winglets add flexibility to fleet operations and route selection. Air Berlin notes, "Previously, we'd step-climb from 35,000 to 41,000 feet. With Blended Winglets, we can now climb direct to 41,000 feet where traffic congestion is much less and we can take advantage of direct routings and shortcuts which we could not otherwise consider."

13. Fuel Flow (sea level vs 30,000 ft)

The Boeing 737-300 POH lists the fuel burn at altitude while in a hold. The fuel burn at sea level at 210 knots is 2910 lbs of fuel per hour. The fuel burn at 35,000 feet at 210 knots is 2650 lbs of fuel per hour. These numbers are from the holding chart which does not accurately depict true fuel burn for the aircraft were it in cruise, but lacking other information these numbers show the increase in fuel burn at sea level that would be expected of a jet aircraft.

14. Change in power required with change in weight

A change in weight will change the amount of power required. With less weight, less lift needs to be produced and the engine thrust can be retarded. The equation requires the Pr to be in HP, so the thrust of 4,650 is converted to 6,238 horsepower.

HP= T Vk 325

HP = 4,650 * 436

325

HP = 6238

The change is weight from 124,500 to 100,000 shows the decrease in power required from 6,238 to 4,490 hp.

The change in velocity due to a{mosgoogle} change in weight at 30,000 feet is as shown: when the weight is at 124,500 pounds and the velocity is 436 knots, the change in velocity is 391 knots when the weight is reduced to 100,000 pounds. The following shows the change in velocity at 10,000 feet at 124,500 pounds at 320 knots, with a change in weight
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to 100,000 pounds which equals a new velocity of 257 knots.

15. Change in takeoff velocity with change in weight

Changing the weight of the aircraft will change the takeoff velocity. The lighter the aircraft is, the less weight which the component of lift has to overcome. The aircraft must overcome the increased mass during the acceleration, and there is increased rolling friction. The 737-300 at 100,000 pounds will require a takeoff speed of 142 knots, increasing the weight to the maximum takeoff weight will require a speed of 158 knots. In addition, the landing distance at 124,500 pounds will be 6,000 feet if the takeoff weight is decreased to 100,000 pounds the takeoff distance will be 3870.91 feet.

This is the Takeoff Field Limit chart. This shows the takeoff performance at a particular weight and its corresponding speed. Additional information is provided showing the stabilizer trim setting, slope adjustments, wet runways adjustments on takeoff performance.

16. Change in landing velocity with change in weight

The speed at which an aircraft lands also depends on the weight. The heavier the aircraft the more weight will need to be supported by the component of lift. The change in weight from maximum landing weight, 114,000 pounds, to 100,000 pounds changes the landing velocity from 136 to 127.

17. Hydroplaning Aircraft landing on a wet surface have to be concerned about the possibility of hydroplaning. Dynamic hydroplaning creates an upward pressure force, when the aircraft is at a certain speed, which lifts the tires of the surface of the runway. The Boeing 737-300 has a tire pressure of 181 PSI. The 737 will have total dynamic hydroplaning at 121 knots.

Vh = 9 * Sqrt(P) Tp = 181 psi

The total dynamic hydroplaning (V h) = 121 knots.

Pilot Reports:

{mosgoogle} The Boeing 737-300 I fly has two CFM 56 high bypass jet engines that produce 20,000 pound of thrust. The 737 can seat 150+ plus passengers, depending on the seating configuration. There is a 737-300LR model (long range) which adds a few more thousand pounds of fuel, which will give it about a six hour flying range. The longest segment I flew was from Charlotte North Carolina to Seattle, Washington. Maximum cruising altitude is 37,000 feet with a recommended max cruising mach speed of .770. You can control the 737 during taxi by use of a tiller wheel on the Captains side panel or the rudder pedals. At the start of the take off roll you push the thrust levers forward just a bit to let the engines stabilize, then a auto throttle button, located near the power levers, is pressed and will automatically increase the levers to the desired thrust. As the airplane accelerates the rudders pedals will become quite effective early on in the take off roll due to its large rudder. Depending
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on the weight of the aircraft, it will lift off at about 130 knots of speed, 4500 feet down the runway. The speed and runway length I am using are just and average to give you an example of a normal take off. At Vr speed you rotate at a recommended 3 degrees pitch per second to 15 degrees of pitch up attitude. Like any other airplanes you follow up all the recommended control inputs using the seat of your pants, if you rotate too soon ,the airplane will feel like a ton of bricks, experience in the airplane will let you know when it is ready to create lift not just the indicated speed. At 1000 feet, you retract the flaps, usually 5 degrees, and reduce power to recommended climb thrust. The auto-pilot is recommend after the initial climb out, but lets say we decided to hand fly to altitude to get the feel of the airplane in different phases of flight. Compared to lets say a Cessna 172, the hydraulic controls on a 737 make it very responsive. Just a little bit of control movement is needed and rudder movement is almost never required except for take off and landings. The powerful engines can give you a rapid climb rate, so you have to plan level offs way ahead of time especially at the lower altitudes. At the higher cruise altitudes, the airplane is less responsive due to the thinner air and you have to stay ahead of it to remain level. During all phases of flight the airplane handles turbulence quite well with the help of the yaw dampener, although the flight attendant in the back will get the worse ride and I have seen many new ones look a little pale after a bumpy flight. During decent, the airplane is very clean and has a high glide ratio, about 3 miles for every thousand feet of altitude. For ballpark planning purposes you have to be at 10,000 feet or less by 30 miles from landing in order to assure a comfortable descent. There are many different methods to plan your decent profile. You could use the on board FMC (Flight Management Computer) but a good practice is to back the FMC computer up with the slower computer between your headsets. For every 1000 feet up you need three miles, so to descend from 31,000 feet to 10.000 you will need approximately 63 miles to make a comfortable descent. You can do a quicker descent buy using the speed brakes if ATC requires it, but as an old Captain once told me he does not like to use the speed brake for ATC because they cause some vibrations to the aircraft that passengers may not like. And I quote the Captain, These speed brakes are for my mistakes to get down in time, not for ATC mistakes.{mosgoogle} On short final with 30 degrees of flaps, 40 degrees for shorter runways, the 737 is like any other airplane, airspeed control and path are important; you just have to stay ahead. On any large aircraft it is important to keep your engines spooled up because from idle to positive thrust there is a lag time of a few seconds, which will seem like hours if you get behind the power curve. On touch down you gently lower the nose to the runway, the ground spoilers should deploy automatically, but you need to verify this, while applying reverse thrust. The brakes are very sensitive but backed up by an anti-skid breaking system that feels similar to anti-lock brakes in cars if you need max braking on a slippery runway. This article was not meant to qualify you for your type rating but to give you a short summary on what is like to fly the 737300. I feel that the 737 is a very well built and reliable airplane that has been my pleasure to fly. -John Duros

Some interesting facts about the 737 include: - The 737 has had the basic airframe and aesthetic appearance since 1967. - 40,3% of occupants survive fatal B737 accidents - At any given moment, 800 737s are in the air around the world.

Works Cited

Boeing 737-300/400 Pilots Handbook.

Brady, Chris. The Boeing 737 TECHNICAL SITE . 21 Nov. 2004 .

Duros JR, John. E-Mail interview. 28 Nov. 2004.

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NASG Airfoil database. 21 Nov. 2004 .

UIUC Airfoil Coordinates Database - Version 2.0. University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. 21 Nov. 2004 .

"CFM 56-3 Technology." CFM56: Engines. CFM. 29 Nov. 2004 . {mos_ri}

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