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Performance Evaluation Method for Dissimilar Aircraft DesignsA rationale is presented for using the square of the wingspan rather than the wing reference area as a basis for nondimensional comparisons of the aerodynamic and performance characteristics of aircraft that differ substantially in planform and loading. Working relationships are developed and illustrated through application to several categories of aircraft covering a range of Mach numbers from 0.60 to 2.00. For each application, direct comparisons of drag polars, lift-to-drag ratios, and maneuverability are shown for both nondimensional systems. The inaccuracies that may arise in the determination of aerodynamic efficiency based on reference area are noted. Span loading is introduced independently in comparing the combined effects of loading and aerodynamic efficiency on overall performance. Performance comparisons are made for the NACA research aircraft, lifting bodies, century-series fighter aircraft, F-111A aircraft with conventional and supercritical wings, and a group of supersonic aircraft including the B-58 and XB-70 bomber aircraft. An idealized configuration is included in each category to serve as a standard for comparing overall efficiency.
Document ID
Document Type
Other - NASA Reference Publication (RP)
Walker, H. J.
(NASA Hugh L. Dryden Flight Research Center Edwards, CA, United States)
Date Acquired
September 3, 2013
Publication Date
September 1, 1979
Subject Category
Aeronautics (General)
Report/Patent Number
Funding Number(s)
PROJECT: RTOP 505-11-24
Distribution Limits
Work of the US Gov. Public Use Permitted.

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