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Wing Planform

Introduction:

Wing Planform
Figure 1: Airplane Flying Handbook, Airfoil types

Rectangular:

  • Rectangular wings are best for training aircraft, as well as low speed aircraft
  • Designed with twist to stall at the wing root first, to provide aileron control in stalls

Elliptical:

  • Elliptical wings are most efficient, but difficult to produce (spitfire)

Tapered:

  • More efficient than a rectangle wing but easier to produce than an elliptical design

Swept:

  • Usually associated with swept-back, but can also be swept-foreword
  • Sweptback wings are best for high speed aircraft for delaying Mach tendencies
  • Stall at the tips first, providing poor stall characteristics

Delta:

  • Advantages of a swept wing, with good structural efficiency and low frontal area
  • Disadvantages are the low wing loading and high wetted area needed to obtain aerodynamic stability

Aspect Ratio (AR):

  • AR = Wingspan / Chord
  • High aspect ratios produce high lift
    • Think Gliders
  • Low aspect ratios produce high drag

Conclusion:

  • Aircraft design is always a game of give and take
  • Engineers balance the design of the aircraft for its given purpose

References: