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AIRCRAFT DESIGN PRACTICE

UNIT- I
1. Introduction
Aircraft Design is a separate discipline of aeronautical engineering - different from the
analytical disciplines such as aerodynamics, structures, controls, and propulsion. An aircraft
designer needs to be well versed in these and many other specialties, but will actually spend little
time performing such analysis in all but the smallest companies. Instead, the designer's time is
spent doing something called "design", creating the geometric description of a thing to be built.
Aircraft design deals with visualization or conception, preliminary design, preparation of
mockup, detailed design, construction of prototype, testing of prototype, manufacture and flight-
testing. o the uninitiated, "design" looks a lot like "drafting" !or in the modern world,
"computer-aided drafting"". he designer's product is a drawing, and the designer spends the day
hunched over a drafting table or computer terminal. #owever, the designer's real work is mostly
mental. If the designer is talented, there is a lot more than meets the eye on the drawing. A good
aircraft design seems to miraculously glide through subse$uent evaluations by specialists without
ma%or changes being re$uired. &omehow, the landing gear fits, the fuel tanks are near the center
of gravity, the structural members are simple and lightweight, the overall arrangement provides
good aerodynamics, the engines install in a simple and clean fashion, and a host of similar detail
seems to fall into place.
'esign is not %ust the actual layout, but also the analytical processes used to determine what
should be designed and how the design should be modified to better meet the re$uirements. In a
small company, this may be done by the same individuals who do the layout design. In the larger
companies, the sizing and performance specialists with the assistance of e(perts in
aerodynamics, weights, propulsion, stability, and other technical specialties do aircraft analysis.
It must be always remembered that design is an iterative effort and design analysis points
towards novel concepts and technologies.

Requireents
fro t!e User
Conce"tua#
Design
Ana#$sis and
Siu#ation of
conce"ts
Detai#ed Si%ing and
Trade-offs
). *hases of Aircraft design
Aircraft design process is broken into three ma%or areas, which as listed below+
,. -onceptual 'esign
). *reliminary 'esign
.. 'etailed 'esign
/irstly, -onceptual 'esign is a very fluid process. 0ew ideas and problems emerge as the design
is investigated in ever increasing detail. &econdly, In *reliminary 'esign, a key activity is
123/I045 and 2ofting is the mathematical modeling of the outside skin of the aircraft with
sufficient accuracy to ensure proper fit between various components. hirdly, In 'etailed 'esign
full-scale developments for fabricating the actual aircraft are designed. 'ifferent phases of
aircraft design practices the following, which are listed below as checklist which aircraft
designer must consider before implementation.
,. 4etting the specification from the user of the type, weight, purpose etc.
). Imagining the size and shape tentatively to appro(imately fi( the weight, aspect ratio,
wing loading etc.
.. o choose a suitable power plant and to estimate the power loading !hrust loading 67"
*67 and to tentatively specify their locations w.r.to fuselage, wings etc.
8. o prepare a .-view drawing of all the ma%or parts put together !ma%or components are
fuselage, wings, tail !vertical and #orizontal", engine etc.
9. o prepare a report of a tentative figures about the weight, speed etc by performing
tentative6 appro(imate calculations.
:. o make models and to test them in order to determine the aerodynamic behaviour.
;. o come out with a brochure of the likely capabilities of the airplane to be submitted to
the user and or licensing authorities.
<. After initial concurrence by the user with suitable modifications proposed. A detailed
design is carried out for the ma%or and minor parts in which different parameters such as
weight, span, aspect ratio, engine power and basic configuration is almost specific in definite
terms.
=. o build mockup using cheap materials like wood etc to demonstrate the arrangements
specially passengers and cargo, ornaments etc.
,>. ?(haustive wind tunnel test is to be carries out with the engine functioning and at
different altitudes of flying.
,,. A report is brought out to specify the most probable values of the performance, stability
etc of the airplane to be submitted to the user.
,). 3n approval from the user, fabrication of minor parts, ma%or parts and their assemblies
are taken up in a systematic fashion with structural testing at each stage, which will include
the effect of %oints etc if any.
,.. /light testing of the aircraft and estimation of true performance of the aircraft.
,8. 3n suitable modifications preparation of detailed brochure or report to be submitted to
the user and licensing authorities.
he above steps are achieved by intuition, detailed survey of similar products available or
proposed in the market and finally innovation of the e(isting analytical and manufacturing
methods. he main aim of airplane design is discussed as follows+
,. @inimum weight
). @a(imum 26' ratio
.. @inimum 67 or *67 ratio
8. @a(imum cruise speed and ma(imum speed
9. 2ong range
:. #igher safe life
;. Aeasonable good stability
<. #igh maneuverability
=. 2ower takeoff and landing speed
,>. 2arger rate off climb
,,. 2ow initial and maintenance cost
&ome of the above re$uirements are contradicting each other and hence airplane design is not of
ma(imizing the desirable parameters or minimizing the undesirable parameters but of optimizing
the different parameters to obtain the best results.BAefer appendi( AC
.. 'esign -oncepts
4enerally components of design are designed based on the following concepts+
,. /ail &afe concept
). &afe 2ife -oncept
&.1 Fai# Safe Conce"t
In this approach failure of one or more minor components is permitted which will not lead to
total failure of the entire structure, as alternate paths are available for the loads to flow or get
diffused. his is possible in highly redundant structures such as trusses and some of the open
sections beams such as built-up I-sections etc. his approach leads to adopting smaller factors of
safety, which will result in lower structural weight. his approach is used for minor components
such as skin, spars and minor bulkheads etc.
&.' Safe (ife Conce"t
In this approach no component is permitted to fail as all components are designed based on
statistical approaches to achieve certain specified reliability against failure. his leads to
adopting high factor of safety resulting in higher structural weight. his approach is used for
ma%or components such as spars, main bulkheads, landing gear etc.
8. ake-off 7eight
ake-off weight is defined as the total weight of the aircraft as it begins the mission for which it
is designed. It is also called as D'esign ake-off gross weightE or DAll up weightE. his weight
consists of crew weight, payload !including passengers", and the remaining weight !empty
weight". he empty weight includes structure, ?ngines, 2anding gear, /i(ed ?$uipment, avionics
and others, which are not considered.
7o F 7crew G 7payload G 7fuel G 7empty
In the above e$uation, aircraft designers can easily estimate crew and payload weight for which
they are doing design. hese are known $uantities of aircraft design and usually this information
is given by Hsers like ?mirates, Air India, Iritish Airways etc. he fuel and empty weight are
unknown items initial design process and these can be estimated by referring previous designs.
/urther, It is a good practice to e(press fual and empty weight as fractions !7fuel67o" and
!7e67o"
7o F 7crew G 7payload G !7fuel67o"(7o G !7e67o"(7o
&olving for 7o we get,
7o F B7crew G 7payloadC 6 B, J !7fuel67o" J !7e67o"C
If both the factions are estimated then ake-off weight can be known.
).1 E"t$-*eig!t Estiation
he ?mpty-7eight estimation can be estimated statiscally from historical trends. !7e67o"
varies from >.. to >.;.
!7e67o" F A7o
-
K
7here, K ia variable sweep constant and for fi(ed wings the value is , and for variable sweep
the value is ,.>8. /urther, A !>.<9 to ).9" and - !->.>. to J>.,<" are constant obtained for graphs.
/or ransport aircraft, A F ,.>) and - F ->.>:
Let fighter aircraft, A F )..8 and - F ->.,.
).' Fue#-Fraction Estiation
/or the first appro(imation, the fuel used can be considered to be proportional to the aircraft
weight, so the fuel fraction !7f67o" is initially independent of the aircraft weight.
7fuel F 7mission G 7reserve fuel G 7trapped fuel
7fuel F )9M of the total weight of the aircraft. he other factors that must be considered are
&pecific fuel consumption !-" and 26' Aatio. &/- is the rate of fuel consumption divided by the
resulting thrust or horse power. ?(ample+ /or pure turbo %ets, &/- at cruise is estimated at >.=
and for loiter case it is estimated at >.<. /urther, 26' ratio is mostly affected by two aspects such
as wing span and wetted area that are to taken into account.
7fuel67o F ,.>:B,-N7(67i"C
7here 7(67o is total mission weight fraction !@7/", which is e(plained in problem below.
).& +ission Segent *eig!t Fraction
he aircraft weight at the end of a mission segment divided by its weight at the beginning of that
segment is called as D@ission segment weight fractionE or shortly @&7/. he various mission
segments starting from warmup to landing are numbered with zero denoting the start of the
mission. /or a simple cruise mission, mission segments or legs could be numbered as below+
,. 7armup and akeoff
). -limb
.. -ruise
8. 2oiter
9. 2and
he value for warmup and takeoff !7iG,67i F >.=;>", -limb !7iG,67i F >.=<9" and landing
!7iG,67i F >.==9". he cruise segment weight fractions can be determined from range e$uation
A F BNO6'PN26'P.2n !7iG,67i"C
And from the above we can determine
7iG,67i F e(pBN-A-P 6 ON26'PC
/urther loiter weight fraction can be calculated from the endurance e$uation as given below+
? F BN26'P6- . 2n !7iG,67i"C
And
7iG,67i F e(pBN-?-P6N26'PC
-onsider a simple mission consisting of seven segments+ 7arm-up and take off, -limb, -ruise,
2oiter,, -ruise, 2oiter) and 2anding. he value re$uired for estimating akeoff weight are given
below BAeference+ Aircraft design IookC+
akeoff
-ruise
-ruise
2oiter
2oiter
2anding
7,67o F >.=;
7)67, F >.=<9
Aange, A F ,9>> nmi , - F >.9 l6hr, 26' F ,9
/or loiter,, ?ndurance, ? F . hrs, - F >.8 l6hr, 26' F ,:
/or loiter), ?ndurance, ? F ,6. hrs,- F >.>>>,,,, l6s, 26' F ,:
7;67: F >.==9
So#ution
,. 7armup and takeoff !7,67o" F >.=;
). -limb !7)67o" F >.=<9
.. -ruise !7.67)" F e
B-NA-P6NO.!26'"PC
/rom the above data and using range e$uation !7.67)" F >.<:)8
8. 2oiter, !7.67)" F e
B-N?-P6N26'PC
/rom the above data and using endurance e$uation !7867." F >.=);;
9. -ruise !79678" F e
B-NA-P6NO.!26'"PC
/rom the above data and using range e$uation !79678" F >.<:)8
:. 2oiter) !7:679" F e
B-N?-P6N26'PC
/rom the above data and using endurance e$uation !7:679" F >.==,;
;. 2anding !7;67o" F >.==9
@7/,7;67o F !7;67:"(!7:679"(!79678"(!7867."(!7.67)"(!7)67,"(!7,67o"
F !>.=;"!>.=<9"!>.<:)8"!>.=);;"!>.<:)8"!>.==,;"!>.==9"
F >.:9>9
7fuel67o F ,.>: B, J N7;67oPC
F >..;>9
7empty67o F >.=;7o
->.>;
All up weight 7o F B,><>> 6 N, J >..;>9 J !7e67o"C
F B,><>> 6 N, J >..;>9 - >.=;7o
->.>;
C
7o 4uess 7e67o 7o -alculated
9>,>>> >.8.:, 99,<.8
&o on
99,>>; >.8..) 99,>>8
&uppose range is varied and calculated for A F ,>>> nmi and A F )>>> nmi and if payload is
varied for 9>>> ,>,>>> and ,9,>>> pounds the result as shown in the graph are obtained.

9.
*arameters influencing the design
he parameters that influence design are mainly aerofoil, 7ing loading, aspect ratio, 7A
,.1 Airfoi#
he airfoil affects the cruise speed, takeoff and landing distances, stall speed, handling $ualities
and overall aerodynamic efficiency during all the phases of the flight.
0A-A >>,)+ &ymmetric airfoil with ,)M thickness
0A-A ).,)+ -ambered airfoils
7here ,) indicated thickness ratio in percentage of the chord,
. indicates positon of ma(imum camber in terms of the chord
) indicates appro(imate chamber in percentage of the chord and further
multiplying with .6)> factor gives design -
2
he camber increases -
2
at any angle of attack i.e. it shifts the -
2
- curves to the left !parallel
shifts only". Additionally, the thickness ratio !t6c" increases drag but reduces structural weight.
/urther, smaller the nose radius earlier will be the flow separation.
An ideal aerofoil has the following features+
,. #igh 2ift curve slope
). #igh -
2
ma(imum
.. #igher hickness ratio
8. 2arger aspect ratio
9. #igh hickness6'rag !t6'" ratio
hin aerofoils are used towards the tip of the wing and thick aerofoils are used towards the root
section.
7ing aerodynamic center F >.)8- for &ubsonic
>.8>- for &upersonic
and
- F BN)6.P-root ( N!,GG
)
"6!,G" for tapered wing and F -root6-tip !apper ratio"
,.' As"ect Ratio
AA F b
)
6s for general airfoil
F b6c for rectangular wing
F )b 6 !-o!,G"" where F aper ratio, -o F Aoot chord , -t F ip chord
F -t6-o
F 8-ot!", for 'elta wing, where is the angle sweep of leading edge
Aspect ratio is infinity for a )' flow wing or the flow should be constrained between walls to
make it two-dimensional. /inite wing is one which is used in practice which has finite aspect
ratio. In such cases effective lift curve slope is @e F ) 6!,G!)6A""
Aspect ratio is related to induced drag coefficient as -
'i
F -
2
)
6 !. A?" hence increase in aspect
ratio reduces -
'i
. Increase in aspect ratio leads to higher bending moment at the root leading to
larger structural weight.
,.& *ing (oading
7ing loading !w6s" is defines as the total weight of the wing divided by planform area of the
wing. his must be as high as possible for heavy aircrafts and fighters and as low as possible for
light aircrafts and gliders. #igher 1s5 increases the structural weight.
Rectangu#ar -ing
,. ?arly tip stall
). 2arger bending moment at the root and hence more structural weight
.. &maller induced drag coefficient
8. ?asy to construct
9.
Ta"ered *ing
,. ?arly root stall
). &maller structural 7eight
.. 2arger Induced 'rag
8. 0ot very difficult to construct
E##i"tica# *ing
It is one, which has the wing loading distribution along the span in an elliptical manner for this to
happen the distribution of circulation along the span must also be elliptical.
,. 0o early tip stall and no early root stall
). 2east induced drag
.. Aeasonable smaller structural weight
8. 'ifficult to construct
,.) Effects of S-ee"
7ing sweep is primarily used to reduce the adverse effects of transonic and supersonic flow.
&weep back or forward increases the drag divergent mach number and it is the @ach number at
which drag starts increasing abruptly.
,. &weep backward decreases the torsional moment at the root section of the wing , which
results in lower structural weight.
). &weep forward increases the structural weight.
.. &weep backward delays stalling at higher angle of attack.
,., Effect of Di!edra# and Un!edra# -ings
'ihedral
,. @ore stable
). @ore stick force
.. 2ess maneuverable
8. 2ess Agile
Hnhedral
,. 2ess stable
). 2ess stick force
.. #ighly maneuverable
8. @ore Agile
,.. Tai##ess aircraft
?(amples are @irage, -oncorde
,. It produces more lift and less drag
). Ae$uires more control surface area
.. 2ess stable
8. -4 travel is limited

:. 'rag
'rag is the resistance offered to the movement of airplane in air. It is to be compensated
generating thrust using engines. 'rag can be grouped under following headings+
..1 S/in Friction or 0iscous Drag
his arises mainly due to viscosity of air leading to the formation of boundary layer on the
surface of the aircraft over which it flows. &hear resistance offered is
F !v6 y"
'
f
F >.9O
)
&-
f
-f F Oiscous coefficient
his is based on planform area or wetted surface area
..' Pressure Drag or *a1e Drag
*ressure drag term is associated with subsonic flow and wave drag is the term associated with
supersonic flow. his arises due to the pressure difference between front half and the rear half
arising due to viscosity, flow separation.
'
p
F >.9O
)
&-
d*
his drag is based on frontal area means area blocking the flow and is much less for streamlined
bodies than bluff bodies.
..& Induced Drag
In order to generate lift by a wing it becomes necessary to provide circulation !vorte(", which
induces a downward velocity behind the wing that results in change in the angle of the attack.
#ence angle of attack tilts the lift vector rearwards by
i
and its component in the free stream
direction is '
i
F 2&in
I

I
F -
2
6 !. A?"
'
i
F 2&in
I
2
I
F >.9O
)
& -
2
N-
2
6 !. A?"P
F K-
2
)
!>.9O
)
&"
/or a )' wing -
'i
will decrease with increase in aspect ratio and when aspect ratio tends to
infinity -
'i
F >. /or a finite wing -
'i
will be minimum for an elliptical wing.
..) Tri Drag
Arising due to the defection of control surfaces like elevator, aileron, trim tabs etc.
.., Aerod$naic Interference Drag
Individually the drag of the components is some value when it is alone kept in the airflow if
another body is present nearer to the first body in the airflow then flow changes on both leading
to increased drag on both known as aerodynamic interference drag.
... Coo#ing Drag
Air taken from the free stream into the aircraft and passed over parts of engine to cool them,
which !leads to lose of momentum" additional drag known as cooling drag.
otal 'rag F '
f
G '
p
G '
i
G trim drag G cooling drag G aerodynamic interference drag
' F '
o
G '
i
!where 'o contains all five drags and is known as *arasite 'rag"
'
f
G '
p
F /orm drag or *rofile drag
-
d
F -
do
G -
di
F -
do
G K-
2
)
F 'rag polar of airplane
..2 +et!ods used to reduce drag
Iy providing
,. 7inglets
). Ioundary layer fence
.. Ioundary layer suction or Ioundary layer control
8. Ioundary layer blowing
9. Increase Aspect ratio during design
:. *roviding high lift devices like flaps, slots and slats
;. hrust to 7eight Aatio
7A is important parameter affecting the aircraft performance. It is essential that a credible
estimate of 7A is made before the initial design layout is begun. It 7A is higher, the aircraft
will climb more rapidly, accelerate $uickly, reach a higher ma(imum speed, and sustain higher
turn rate. 7A is not constant as the fuel is burnt during the duration of flight. 3n the otherhand,
for propeller driven aircrafts, 7A is replaced by D*ower 2oadingE and for aerobatic aircraft the
value is around :. /or initial estimates
/or Let ?ngines
67o F A@
ma(
-

Let rainer+ A F >.8<< and - F >.;)<
Let /ighter+ A F >.9,8 to >.:8< and - F >.,8,->.9,8
Let ransport+ A F>.):; to - F >.))
/or *ropeller driven aircraft
7A F BN9>>0p6OPN#p67PC
7here 0p is the propeller efficiency and 76#p is the classical power loading
#p67o F AO
ma(
-
&ail plane+ A F >.>8., - F >
4eneral aviation-&ingle engine+ A F >.>)8 , - F >.))
ypical power loading for a sailplane is about )9 and for general aviation Jsingle engine is
around ,8. /or the current generation fighter aircrafts 7A is typically ,. At combat conditions
when some fuel has been burnt off, these aircrafts have a 7A values e(ceeding ,, and are
capable pf accelerating while going straight up.
/or aircrafts deigned primarily for efficiency during cruise, a better initial estimate of the
re$uired 7A can be obtained by Dhrust matchingE. his refers to the comparison of the
selected engine thrust available during cruise to the estimated aircraft drag. &o
!7A"
cruise
F , 6 N26'P
cruise
Iut aircraft deign engineer has to specify this with reference to takeoff conditions therefore
!7A"
takeoff
F !7A"
cruise
( N7
cruise
67
takeoff
P ( N
takeoff
6
cruise
Pfor Lets
!0p67"
takeoff
F !O
cruise
69>>0p" ( N,6!26'"
cruise
P ( !7
cruise
67
takeoff
P ( N0p
takeoff
60p
cruise
P
7here 0p is typically greater than >.<