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Chapter 3: Theory of Flight

Prepared by Zuliana Ismail for Diploma in Aircraft Maintenance, MSU

Chapter 3
Theory of Flight 1. Lift Augmentation 2. Wing Planforms 3. Flight Phase 4. High Speed Flight

Part 1

Lift Augmentation devices

Lift augmentation devices are used to increase the maximum lift coefficient (CLmax), in order to reduce the air speed at take off and touchdown. Devices used to augment CLmax

Slats Flaps Vortex Generator

Vortex Generator

Slats - either automatic or controllable by the pilot. With slats, CLmax may be increased by as much as 70%. The effect of the slat is to prolong the lift curve by delaying the stall until a higher angle of attack. The slat is use only at high angles of attack ,

The operation of the flap is to vary the camber of the wing section. The effect of flap is to increase the lift by increasing the camber The flap is use at touch down and take-off. Types of flaps are either leading edge flap or trailing edge flaps.

Types of Flap

stalling angle: the angle relative to the horizontal at which the flow of air around an aerofoil changes abruptly, resulting in significant changes in the lift and drag of an aircraft trailing edge flap is lowered the angle of attack for level flight is reduced.

Effect of flaps and slats on Lift

A vortex generator (VG) is an aerodynamic surface , consisting of a small vane or bump that creates a vortex. Vortex generators delay flow separation and aerodynamic stalling, thereby improving the effectiveness of wings and control surfaces.

Part 2

Wing planforms
Planform is the geometrical shape of the wing when viewed from above, and it largely determines the amount of lift and drag obtainable from a given area, it also has a pronounced effect on the stalling angle of attack. Types of wing planforms:

Straight Wing Sweepback Delta Swing


Used on small, lowspeed airplanes. provide good lift at low speeds, but are not suited to high speeds. However, the straight wing provides good, stable flight. It is cheaper and can be made lighter, too.

for high-speed flights. create less drag Heavier Structure Increased Additional Loading Pitch up at stall not very stable at low speeds

A B-52 Stratofortress showing wing with a large sweepback angle.


is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. so called "tailless delta", i.e. without the horizontal tailplane. gives the largest total wing area (generating useful lift) for the wing shape,

The adelta wing Avro Vulcan bomber


During landing and takeoff, the wing swings into an almost straight position. During cruise, the wing swings into a sweepback position.

Aspect Ratio (A)

Aspect ratio is a measure of how long and slender a wing is from tip to tip. The Aspect Ratio of a wing is defined to be the square of the span divided by the wing area and is given the symbol A


Low aspect ratio

High aspect ratio

LOW ASPECT RATIO HIGH ASPECT RATIO short and stubby long and slender wing. wing. More efficient More efficient structurally and higher aerodynamically, instantaneous roll having less induced rate. drag. They tend to be used They tend to be used by fighter aircraft. by high-altitude subsonic aircraft.

Two wings with same span of 45 feet has an area of 265 square feet and 165 square feet, respectively. a) Calculate the aspect ratio for both wings. b) Sketch their wing shapes. c) Compare both of the wings in terms of their aspect ratio and performance.