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By Chambers J.R.

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Additional info for Concept to Reality: Contributions of the NASA Langley Research Centerto U.S. Civil Aircraft of the 1990s

Sample text

Following his intensive studies that led to the development and application of supercritical airfoils, Langley’s Richard T. Whitcomb continued his quest to reduce cruise drag for high subsonic speeds. Inspired by an article in Science Magazine on the flight characteristics of soaring birds and their use of tip feathers to control flight characteristics, Whitcomb zeroed in on the wingtip flow phenomena associated with induced drag. Although many scientists had proposed wingtip configurations that mimicked birds (numerous wingtip feathers) for the reduction of induced drag, Whitcomb’s guiding principle was to analyze the detailed aerodynamics involved in the flow at the wingtip Vector and develop a more practical Vector on lower wingtip configuration.

The principles of the area rule, however, continued to be employed by designers for solutions to configuration integration issues. S. large commercial aircraft operate at cruise speeds high enough to require the radical area-ruled fuselage shapes necessary for a near-sonic transport. However, designers of large commercial transports have used the principles of area ruling to solve “local” flow problems and interference effects—especially nacelle integration issues for wingor fuselage-mounted engines.

DC-10 model during winglet studies in 8-Foot Transonic Pressure Tunnel in 1974. Concept to Reality 37 WINGLETS Flight Evaluations particularly for high subsonic supercritical conditions. In achieving this side-force requirement, designers can make use of Whitcomb’s supercritical airfoil technology for the crosssectional shape of the winglet airfoil. The winglets must also be designed to avoid flow separation both on the winglet surface and the winglet-wing juncture at low-speed, high-lift conditions as well as cruise conditions.

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