Fundamental Forces in Flight

Welcome to the first of a ten part series on the fundamentals of aircraft design. The aim of this series is to give you an introduction to the principles used by engineers in the design of a new aircraft. We start at the very beginning with Fundamentals of Flight, and progress through the various components of the aircraft: wing, fuselage, tail design. Finally we’ll end off with a off with some basic mathematical modelling of aircraft performance.

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The Drag Polar

Welcome to Part 9 in the Fundamentals of Aircraft Design series. In the previous posts we have covered the fundamentals of flight, studied the wing, fuselage and empennage, and have been introduced to aerodynamic lift, drag and moment coefficients. Now we put it all together and run through a preliminary drag estimation of a new aircraft design. Let’s get started!

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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.
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