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Private Pilot

Ground School
Lesson 3 - Aerodynamics

How Airplanes Fly

Forces of flight

Lift
Weight
Thrust
Drag
In equilibrium during
unaccelerated flight
(lift = weight;
thrust=drag)

LIFT

Airfoils

Wing Design
Aspect ratio relationship between
length and width
Wing area total surface area of the
wings
Planform the shape of the wing as
viewed from above
Angle of incidence angle between
wing chord line and aircrafts
longitudinal axis

Wing Types

Newtons Laws of Motion


1.
2.

3.

A body at rest tends to stay at rest; a body


in motion tends to stay in motion (Inertia)
When a body is acted upon by a constant
force, its resulting acceleration is inversely
proportional to the mass of the body and is
directly proportional to the applied force.
(F=ma; It takes more force to accelerate a
larger object)
For every action there is an equal and
opposite reaction

Bernoullis Principle

As the velocity of a fluid increases, its


internal pressure decreases
Greater curvature on the upper portion of an
airfoil causes air to accelerate as it passes
over the wing; results in lower pressure

WEIGHT

Weight of airplane acting towards


center of earth

THRUST

Increase throttle to
increase thrust
Airplane will accelerate
as long as thrust
exceeds drag
Once thrust and drag
are equal, acceleration
will stop
Reduction of thrust will
cause aircraft to
decelerate until the
drag decreases to point
where it equals thrust

DRAG
Parasite caused by any aircraft
surface that interferes with smooth
airflow
Induced - the component of lift acting
in a rearward direction

Induced Drag

No machine is 100% efficient


Induced drag is inversely proportional to the square of
airspeed (a doubling of airspeed cuts induced drag
fourfold)

Wingtip vortices downward spiraling airflow at the


wingtips
Vortices have the affect of creating an average relative
wind which is declined downward and rearward
Lift is always perpendicular to the relative wind, so lift in
angled slightly back

Parasite Drag

Parasitic drag is proportional to the square


of airspeed (a doubling of airspeed
quadruples parasitic drag)
Form

results from the turbulent wake


caused by the separation of airflow from the
surface of a structure
Interference results from varied currents of
air over an airplane interacting with each
other (at joints in aircraft wing attachment)
Skin friction results from the roughness of
airplane surfaces

Total Drag

Sum of parasite and


induced drag
As airspeed increases
parasite drag
increases, but induced
drag decreases
Low point on the total
drag curve is L/Dmax

Airspeed at which L/D


ratio is largest
Airspeed at which
drag is minimized
Best glide speed

Controlling Aerodynamics

Lift change angle of attack, airspeed,


high-lift devices
Increase

in angle of attack increases drag


Increase in airspeed increases lift (doubling
airspeed quadruples lift)
If pilot decreases airspeed, must increase
AOA to maintain same amount of lift
Use of flaps increases lift
Increase in lift also increases drag

Flaps

Allow flight at slower


airspeed
Plain simple hinge
Split hinged on lower
portion produces lots of
drag
Fowler increases total
wing area as well as
camber and chord line
Slotted allows some
high pressure air to travel
over the flap

Axes of Flight

Longitudinal
movement (roll)
controlled by ailerons
Lateral movement
(pitch) controlled by
elevator
Vertical movement
(yaw) controlled by
rudder
Airplane always moves
about its CG

Forces in a Climb / Descent

Gliding Flight

Fly at L/Dmax for best gliding distance

Too fast, and parasite drag increases


Too slow, and induced drag increases
L/Dmax get you best glide ratio (most
forward distance per altitude lost)
In an engine failure immediately
pitch to best glide speed

Factors Affecting the Glide


Weight: heavier airplane will glide at a
faster airspeed, but will cover the
same distance (same glide ratio as
lighter airplane, but will hit the ground
sooner)
Configuration: clean airplane (no
flaps) has higher glide ratio
Wind: headwind decreases gliding
distance; tailwind increases it

L/D max

Turning Flight

The horizontal component of lift causes an airplane to turn


As airplane is banked a component of the lift is directed toward
the turn, leaving less lift available to support the weight more
lift is needed to maintain level flight (back pressure on stick)
Adverse yaw: increased lift on the raised wing causes
increased drag on that wing
Overbanking tendency: outside wing is traveling
faster/producing more lift

Coordinated Turns

Turn Rate and Radius

Rate: number of degrees per unit time (180 per minute)

If bank angle is constant, but speed is increased, rate of


turn will decrease (i.e. takes more time to complete a turn at
higher airspeed)
If airspeed is constant, but bank angle is increased, rate of
turn will increase (i.e. takes less time to complete a turn at
steeper bank angle)

Radius: the horizontal distance an aircraft uses to complete


a turn

If bank angle is constant, but speed is increased, radius of


turn will increase (i.e. takes more distance to complete a
turn at higher airspeed)
If airspeed is constant, but angle of bank is increased,
radius of turn will be smaller (i.e. takes less distance to
complete a turn at steeper bank angles)

Stability

Tendency for an aircraft to


return to a condition of steady
flight after its been disturbed
Positive Static the initial
tendency to return to the
position from which it was
displaced
Positive Dynamic the overall
tendency of the airplane to
return to its original position
directly or through a series of
decreasing oscillations
Combined positive static and
dynamic stability results in
damped oscillations

Longitudinal Stability

Stability around the


lateral axis (pitch
stable)
Longitudinal stability
primarily determined
by the location of the
CG relative to the
center of pressure
Most airplanes
designed with CG
slightly forward of
center of pressure
(nose heavy)

CG Effects on Longitudinal
Stability

Too far forward

Longer t/o runs


Higher stall speeds
At the extreme, may not
have enough elevator to
lift the nose

Too far aft

Less stable at all speeds


More dangerous than
too far forward since
elevator may not be
effective enough to
recover from stall (wont
be able to lower nose)

Power Effects on
Longitudinal Stability

A power reduction will


decrease the downwash on
the horizontal stabilizer
causing the nose to pitch
down
If thrustline is above CG, an
increase in power will cause
the nose to pitch down
These two power effects tend
to offset each other, however
at high power settings and low
airspeeds, these two forces
may not be in balance be
careful on power-on
approaches and go-arounds

Lateral Stability
Stability around the longitudinal axis
(roll stability)
Dihedral upward angle of the
airplane wings
Sweepback
Keel Effect

Directional Stability
Stability about the vertical axis
Vertical tail is the primary contributor
Weather vane

Ground Effect

The result of the earths surface altering the


airflow patterns about the airplane (not a
cushion of air)
Induced drag is decreased close to the
ground (within one wingspan)
Takeoff: In ground effect, an airplane may
become airborne before it reaches its
recommended takeoff speed
Landing: Excess speed in the flare may
cause the aircraft to float

Adverse Yaw
Downward deflected aileron produces
more lift, also produces more drag
Yaw towards wing with increased lift
More pronounced at low airspeeds

Takeoff

/ during a turn

Add rudder in direction of turn

Stalls

Rapid separation of
airflow from the wings
upper surface resulting
in rapid loss of lift
Always happens at the
same angle of attack
(critical angle of attack)
regardless of airspeed,
altitude or weight

Stalls

Airplanes can stall at different airspeeds but always at


the same angle of attack
Factors that make an aircraft stall at a higher airspeed

Increased weight
Increased load factor
Snow/ice on wings
Turbulence

Types of stalls

Power-off (approach to landing)


Power-on (departure)
Accelerated (stall at higher than normal airspeed)
Cross-control (stick in one direction; rudder in the opposite)

Stalls

Stall recognition

Mushy controls
Buffeting
Reduced wind noise
Stall alarm

Stall recovery

Lower the nose


Add power

Spins

Airplane must stall in order to spin


Both wings are stalled, but one more than the other
Prevention:
dont stall
stay coordinated
dont load the plane aft of CG range
Recovery
Throttle to idle
Neutralize ailerons
Apply rudder in the direction opposite spin
Neutralize elevator
As rotation stops, neutralize rudder
Gradually pull back on stick and add power

Spin Demonstration

Load Factor

Ratio of the load supported by the wings to the actual


weight of the airplane (Gs)
Load factor increases as angle of bank increases
Stall speed increases with increased load factor
Load factors affect on stall speed is most notable in
banks over 45
60 bank results in 41% increase in stall speed
75 bank results in 100% increase in stall speed
Limit load factor how many positive or negative Gs
an airplane can withstand

Maneuvering Speed (VA)


Max speed you can apply full and
abrupt control movements
Airplane will stall before exceeding
load limit
VA decreases as weight decreases
since a lighter aircraft is subject to
more rapid acceleration from gusts
and turbulence.

Load Factor and Flight

The amount of excess load that can be imposed on an


aircraft depends on the aircrafts speed.

Left Turning Tendencies

Torque
Gyroscopic
Precession
Asymmetrical Thrust
(aka P-factor)
Spiraling slipstream

Torque

Prop rotates clockwise. Newtons 3rd causes


airplane to want to roll counterclockwise
Greatest at low airspeeds, high power, high AOA

Gyroscopic Precession

A force applied to a gyroscope causes a resulting


force ahead and 90 to the point where the force is
applied
Most notable on taildraggers when tail is raised on t/o

P-Factor

Descending blade has higher angle of attack than


ascending blade
Higher AOA = greater thrust on props descending
side
Most pronounced at high angle of attack and high
power setting (climb out)

Spiraling Slipstream

Slipstream produced by rotating prop hits


the right side of the vertical stabilizer

Countering Left-turning
Tendencies
Right rudder
Rudder trim
Offset engine mount

Test Time!