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MAXIMIZATION

OF FLIGHT DURATION
OF A FREE FLIGHT GLIDER

IEE 572 DESIGN OF ENGINEERING EXPERIMENTS

Fall 2012

Term Project Report

Instructor: Dr. Douglas C. Montgomery


PROJECT TEAM

Arjun Gopal Radhamani

1205215995 (In Person)

Ramachandran Sundaram

1204102583 (Hybrid)

Sriram Arunachalam

1205035334 (In Person)

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Contents
Contents .......................................................................................................................................... 1
Figures ............................................................................................................................................ 3
Tables .............................................................................................................................................. 3
1.0 Introduction ..................................................................................................................................... 3
2.0 Pre-Experimental Planning ............................................................................................................. 3
2.1 Recognition of and statement of the problem ................................................................................. 3
2.2 Selection of Response Variable ........................................................................................................ 4
2.3 Choice of factors, levels, and range ................................................................................................. 4
2.3.1 Design Factors ............................................................................................................................... 4
2.3.2 Held Constant Factors .................................................................................................................. 6
2.3.3 Uncontrollable Factors ................................................................................................................. 6
3.0 Choice of Experimental Design ....................................................................................................... 5
3.1 Design ............................................................................................................................................... 6
3.2 Factor Type and Levels ................................................................................................................... 7
4.0 Experimental Procedure .................................................................................................................. 7
4.2 Experimental Run............................................................................................................................ 7
4.3 Design Matrix .................................................................................................................................. 7
5.0 Results and Statistical Analysis ....................................................................................................... 7
5.1 Actual response versus Predicted response ..................................................................................... 9
5.2 R-Square ........................................................................................................................................ 10
5.3 Analysis of Variance ...................................................................................................................... 10
5.4 Effect Tests..................................................................................................................................... 11
5.5 Prediction Profiler ......................................................................................................................... 12
5.6 Residual Plots................................................................................................................................. 13
5.6.1 Residual by Predicted Plot.......................................................................................................... 13
5.6.2 Residual by Row plot .................................................................................................................. 13
5.7 Interaction Profiles ........................................................................................................................ 14
5.8 Normal Plot .................................................................................................................................... 15
5.9 Plot of Residuals versus Factors .................................................................................................... 16
6.0 Conclusion...................................................................................................................................... 18
7.0 References ...................................................................................................................................... 19

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Figures
Figure 1: Chord Length ............................................................................................................................ 4
Figure 2: Maximum Airfoil Thickness ...................................................................................................... 5
Figure 3: Dihedral Angle.......................................................................................................................... 5
Figure 4: Wing Sweep ............................................................................................................................ 6
Figure 5: Actual by Predicted Plot .......................................................................................................... 9
Figure 6 : Prediction Profiler ................................................................................................................. 12
Figure 7: Residual by Prediction Plot .................................................................................................... 13
Figure 8: Residual by Row Plot .............................................................................................................. 13
Figure 9: Interaction Profiles ................................................................................................................. 14
Figure 10: Normal Plot .......................................................................................................................... 17
Figure 11: Plot of Residual vs Chord length .......................................................................................... 16
Figure 12: Plot of Residual vs Maximum Airfoil Thickness .................................................................... 16
Figure 13: Plot of Residual vs Dihedral Angle ........................................................................................ 17
Figure 14: Plot of Residual vs Sweep Angle ........................................................................................... 17
Figure 15: Plot of Residual vs Blocks ..................................................................................................... 18

Tables
Table 1: Factor Type and Levels .............................................................................................................. 7
Table 2: Design Matrix ............................................................................................................................ 5
Table 3: Summary of Fit .......................................................................................................................... 5
Table 4: Analysis of Variance .................................................................................................................. 9
Table 5 : Parameter Estimates .............................................................................................................. 12
Table 6: Effect Tests .............................................................................................................................. 13
Table 7: Sorted Parameter Estimates .................................................................................................... 14

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

1. INTRODUCTION
Free flight glider
Free flight gliders are scaled down model of aircrafts. They are unpowered aircrafts which
means that they do not have any motors or propulsion systems to power the aircraft. Hence its
flight is primarily dependent on its wings which produce the lift. As the glider moves faster
through the air, the body and the wing of the glider produces drag which affects the flight
duration. It is therefore essential to build free flight gliders that are aerodynamically efficient to
obtain maximum flight duration.
Free flight gliders are usually made using light-weight materials such as balsa wood, styro-foam,
fiber glass, etc. Free flight gliders are launched predominantly by hand. They are also launched
using elastic bands.
Free flight glider modeling
Building free flight glider is a famous hobby with the primary challenge being building the most
efficient glider that yields maximum flight duration. There are many competitions held around
the world, notably the World Championships held by FAI (Fdration Aronautique
Internationale), a governing body for air sports and aeronautics world records.

1. PRE - EXPERIMENTAL PLANNING


2.1 Recognition of and statement of the problem
This project deals with the design and analysis of the experiment involving free flight gliders
that have different wing geometry and dimensions. This project primarily focuses on identifying
the factors that influence the flight duration of a free flight glider and possibly obtaining the
optimal combination of wing configuration and wing dimensions that will result in maximization
of flight duration. The sole objective of a free flight glider is to render maximum flight duration.
In this experiment, the wing configuration and wing dimensions are varied to find the optimal
combination. The geometry and dimensions of the body and tail section are kept constant.

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

2.2 Selection of Response Variable


The Response Variables that can be considered for this experiment are flight duration and the
distance covered by the glider. Since the flight path is not linear always and unpredictable, the
most suitable response variable is flight duration. Hence, flight duration (in seconds) is selected
as the response variable for this experiment.
The glider is hand launched and the flight duration is measured from the instant the glider is
launched to the instant the glider touches the ground. Time is measured using a digital stop
clock.

2.3 Choice of factors, levels, and range


Wing is the most primary component of the glider that produces lift and helps the glider sustain
its flight. In this experiment we are varying the wing configuration and wing dimensions to find
out the factors that affect the flight duration and possibly obtain the optimal combination that
produces maximum flight duration.
2.3.1 DESIGN FACTORS
1. Chord Length
Chord length is the distance between the leading edge and trailing edge of airfoil.
Levels in this factor:
High chord length (4.5 cm )
Low chord length ( 3 cm )

Figure 1: Chord length

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

2. Maximum Airfoil thickness


Airfoil is the cross sectional shape of the wing.
Levels in this factor:
High maximum airfoil thickness ( 8mm)
Low maximum airfoil thickness (6mm)

Figure 2: Maximum Airfoil Thickness


3. Dihedral Angle
It is the angle the wing makes with a horizontal reference.
Levels in this factor:
No dihedral angle ( 0)
Positive dihedral angle ( 5)

Figure 3: Dihedral Angle


4. Wing sweep
The wing angles backward from the root of the wing to the tip of the wing.
Levels in this factor:
Straight ( No wing sweep )
Swept back ( 20 )
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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

IEE572

Figure 4: Wing Sweep


2.3.2 HELD CONSTANT FACTORS
1. Wingspan ( 18 cm )
It is the distance between the two wing tips.
The wingspan of the glider wing is kept constant for the entire experiment.
2. Body and Tail section
The geometry and dimensions of the body and tail section are kept constant for the entire
experiment.

2.3.3 UNCONTROLLABLE FACTORS

Wind gust
Thermal current

3. CHOICE OF EXPERIMENTAL DESIGN


3.1 Design
It is feasible to perform the entire runs of this experiment; hence the experiment is run using a
full factorial design. In this experiment, there are four design factors under consideration with
two levels assigned to each design factor. Therefore it is a 24full factorial design. Since the
glider is being launched by a person, it is ideal to run the experiment in two blocks with
different operators assigned to each block. Introduction of blocks in this experiment is to
eliminate any nuisance source of variability that adversely affects the statistical analysis among
the levels of the factors.

Number of replicates : 2
Number of runs : 32
Center points : No center points
Blocks : 2
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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

IEE572

3.2 Factor Type and Levels


Factors

Factor Type

High Level

Low Level

Airfoil Thickness

Categorical

8 mm

6 mm

Chord Length

Categorical

4.5 cm

3 cm

Dihedral Angle

Categorical

Sweep Angle

Categorical

20

In JMP software the factor type was chosen to be categorical as we are interested only in the values at
the high and low levels and not any continuous range of values between limits.
Table 1: Factor Type and Levels

4. EXPERIMENTAL PROCEDURE
4.1 Glider Construction
The Free Flight Glider is built using balsa wood. The geometry and dimensions of the body and
tail section of the glider for all the sixteen models are kept to be constant. Sixteen different
wings are built obtained by varying the design factors (The combination of factors is obtained
from the design matrix). The Wings are attached the body of the glider whose dimensions are
identical to obtain sixteen different models of the free flight glider. The airfoil shape of the wing
is selected to be asymmetrical and it obtained by shaping the balsa wood used for wings with
emery sheet. The body, tail and wings of the aircraft are attached together with the help of
super glue. The sharp edges in the model are chamfered to reduce the drag.
4.2 Experimental Run
Runs are made as per the design matrix run order generated from JMP software (which is
randomized to reduce the variations caused by the experimental pattern). In each run, the
flight duration is noted which is the response variable. The flight duration is the time (in
seconds) from the moment the glider is launched to the moment it touches the ground. It is
noted using a digital stop clock. The experiment is run in two separate blocks with the glider
being launched by different operators for each block. Each operator is allowed two trials for
each factor combination and the average of the two values is taken as the observation.
4.3 Design Matrix
The design matrix was obtained using JMP 10 software. Randomization was performed in JMP
software. The experiment is run in two blocks. The response of the experiment is displayed in
the Flight Duration Column.

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Table 2: Design Matrix

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

5. RESULTS AND STATISTICAL ANALYSIS


5.1 Actual response versus Predicted response
The figure below shows the Actual versus the Predicted response (Flight duration)

Figure 5: Actual by Predicted Plot


The figure above shows that the regression line and the 95% confidence curves cross the
sample mean, hence it indicates that the model explains a substantial proportion of the
response yield variation.

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

5.2 R-Square
The various R-Square values are enumerated below:

Table 3: Summary of Fit

We use the R2 term to measure the total variability proportion suggested by the model. This
particular model has an R2 value of 0.883518 which indicates that there is approximately 88% of
variation in the observations. The adjusted R2 value is 0.819452. These R2 values are relatively
good. The adjusted R2 value is slightly lower than the R2 value probably because of the presence
of a non-significant factor as indicated by the analysis. Root mean square value of 0.675023 is
generally the variation in the response attributed to random errors.

5.3 Analysis of Variance

Table 4: Analysis of Variance


The ANOVA gives us an F ratio value of 13.7909 and a prob>F value of <.001 which indicates
that the model is significant.

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Table 5: Parameter Estimates


5.4 Effect Tests

Table 6: Effect Tests


The results from the Effect tests run using JMP 10 software is shown above. In the above table,
the values of Sum of squares, F Ratio and p-values for the main effects and the two factor
interactions are enumerated. From the results obtained it is indicated that the factors: Chord
length, Maximum airfoil thickness and Dihedral angle are significant. The interaction between
Chord length and dihedral angle is also found to be significant. The significance of these effects
are evident from their p-values all of which are <= 0.05. All these are indicated by their
respective p-values which are highlighted using * symbol. The block effect was not found to be
significant as opposed to our expectation before commencing the experiment. This indicates
that response was less affected by different operators performing the experiment.
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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Table 7: Sorted Parameter Estimates

5.5 Prediction Profiler

Figure 6: Prediction Profiler


From the prediction profiler shown above, it is evident that keeping the chord length at high
level (4.5) significantly increases the flight duration with greater magnitude as compared to
other factors. It also indicates that keeping the maximum airfoil thickness at high level (0.8)
slightly reduces the response (flight duration). Having a positive dihedral angle (5) increases
the flight duration. The change in sweep angle has little negative or almost no effect on the
response.

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

IEE572

5.6 Residual Plots


5.6.1 Residual by Predicted Plot

Figure 7: Residual by Predicted Plot

The above figure displays the Residual by Predicted Plot. The above plot is structure-less and
does not expose any noticeable pattern. Hence, the model is correct and the assumptions are
satisfied. There is no visible evidence of non-constant variance as there is no increase in the
variance of the observations as the scale of the response increases.

5.6.2 Residual by Row plot

Figure 8: Residual by Row Plot


The above plot of Residuals by Row plot does not disclose any issues as the variance does not
indicate any specific pattern or show increase over the run order. There is no violation of
constant variance or independence assumptions.
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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

5.7 Interaction Profiles


The interaction profiles for the various factor levels are shown below:

Figure 9: Interaction Profiles

We see interaction between the levels of the sweep angle for the limits considered in the
experiment. Few other factors like dihedral angle, maximum airfoil thickness and chord length
do not show interaction in the limits considered in this experiment but will show significant
interaction if the limits are extrapolated

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

5.8 Normal Plot

Figure 10: Normal Plot

The normal plot above signifies that the effects chord length (high level 4.5cm), Dihedral
angle (high level - 5), Maximum airfoil thickness (high level 0.8 cm) and the interactions
between chord length (high level 4.5cm) & Dihedral angle (high level - 5) and chord length
(high level 4.5cm) & sweep angle (high level - 20) are the significant effects. But the statistical
analysis indicates near significance of the chord length (high level 4.5cm) & sweep angle (high
level - 20) interaction.

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

IEE572

5.9 Plot of Residuals versus Factors

Figure 11: Plot of Residual vs. Chord length

Figure 12: Plot of Residual vs. Maximum Airfoil Thickness

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Figure 13: Plot of Residual vs. Dihedral Angle

Figure 14: Plot of Residual vs. Sweep Angle

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

Figure 15: Plot of Residual vs. Block


The above figures display the Plot of Residuals versus Individual factors. The plot of factors
chord length, maximum airfoil thickness, dihedral angle, sweep angle and blocks versus the
residuals have almost the same variability at both the levels of the factor. There is no evidence
of any abnormality in the above graphs.

6. CONCLUSION
The objective of this experiment is to screen for the factors that affect the flight duration of the
free flight glider and possibly arrive at a combination of factor levels that yield maximum
response. From the statistical analysis of the experiment, it is inferred that it is desirable to
have the factors chord length and dihedral angle at their high levels respectively. In the case of
maximum airfoil thickness, it is advisable to keep the factor level low because keeping this
factor at the high level adversely affects the flight duration. For the final main effect sweep
angle, it is inferred from the analysis that this main effect is not significant and has little or
effect on the response. With respect to interactions, we find that there is significant interaction
between chord length and dihedral angle at their respective high factor levels.
Ideally the optimal combination of factors renders a wing having a chord length of 4.5 cm,
maximum airfoil thickness of .6 cm and a configuration that has positive dihedral angle (5) and
no wing sweep. Wing sweep though not indicated as significant in the analysis is preferred to
be kept at the low factor level because the statistical analysis shows that high level interaction
between wing sweep and chord length has negative effect that is close to significance. The
above combination yields maximum glider flight duration for the given dimensions of body and
tail section and the factor limits considered.
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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam

IEE572

Maximization of flight duration of a free flight glider

7. REFERENCES
Montgomery, C. Douglas, Design and Analysis of Experiments, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 8th
edition
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_flight_(model_aircraft)
SAS Institute Inc. 2009. JMP 8
Introductory Guide, Second Edition. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.
SAS Institute Inc. 2009. JMP 8
Design of Experiments Guide, Second Edition. Cary, NC: SAS Institute Inc.
Images: www.wikipedia.org

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ArjunGopalRadhamani, RamachandranSundaram, SriramArunachalam