Lifting Surface Correction Factor

The calculation below provides an estimation of the lifting surface correction factor used when compiling an estimation of the zero lift drag produced by the wing. This is described in the tutorial on the Drag Polar. The graph shown below was originally published in USAF Stability and Control Datcom [1] and reproduced in Roskam Part VI Chapter 4.2 [2]. The calculator provides an estimation of the correction factor based on the digitization of the graph and an interpolation between datapoints. The methodology is described below.

Select Nearest Mach:

Sweep angle \( \Lambda_{{\frac{t}{c}}_{max}} \):

Lifting Surface Correction Factor:

Lifting Surface Correction Factor

Calculation Methodology

The variation of \( R_{LS} \) with the cosine of the sweep angle at maximum thickness-to-chord ratio was digitally extracted from the graph (26 to 37 datapoints per Mach line). This formed the input into a linear interpolation using the sweep angle specified by the user. It is left to the user to determine whether the methodology employed is appropriately accurate for use (see the disclaimer below).

[1] Hoak, D.E, et al, USAF Stability and Control Datcom, Flight Control Division, Air Force Flight Dynamics Laboratory, WPAFB, Ohio, 45433-0000, 1978, (approved for public release). Link to document.

[2] Roskam, J, Airplane Design Part VI: Preliminary Calculation of Aerodynamic, Thrust and Power Characteristics, Roskam Aviation and Engineering Corporation, 1987.

Disclaimer (the simple version):

I have made every effort to ensure that all the calculations that form part of this tool are correct and accurate, I have back-tested it and validated it against the original graph published. HOWEVER, I cannot and do not guarantee that the results output from the calculator are correct. You should always double check the results being output – especially if you are using the results for engineering calculations. Finally, if you do discover any bugs in the calculations I would really appreciate it if you would drop me an email at and let me know so I can make the correction.

Disclaimer (the legal version): has made this calculator freely available to use by accessing it from the address. Be aware that the content on this site is copyrighted and redistribution or copying of this content is prohibited. The release of this calculator does not and cannot warrant that any functions contained within are accurate or error free. The use of this software comes with NO WARRANTY or LIABILITY of any kind. The entire risk as to the software applicability, performance and quality lies solely with you as the user and not It is the responsibility of the user to ensure that the correct values have been selected at all times and to cross-reference the results with those contained in the cited references. In no circumstance or event shall, or the domain owner associated with the website, be liable for any damages, whether direct or indirect, incidental, special, or consequential arising out the use of or any defect inherent in the software. By using this calculator, you as the user expressly agree to the terms of this disclaimer in full.