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Java Calculator : Lift, Drag, Size, etc.

Wings Calculations


Lift calculator in development - not yet available

Coefficient of Lift CL


Density of Air p  

Velocity V

Surface Area of Wing   A  






   Looking from above a wing, the wing has a definite shape or planform. 

   The distance from one wingtip to the other side of the aircraft wingtip is called the wingspan.  The front of the wing facing the air moving toward the aircraft is called the leading edge, behind it - the trailing edge. The distance between the leading edge and the trailing edge is called the chord.

   The root chord is closest to the fuselage of the airplane.  Away from the center of the airplane on the wing you find the tip chord or the distance from the wing front to the wing back.

   Probably the most important characteristic of this planform is the aspect ratio. For a rectangle shaped wing, the: 

     Aspect Ratio = Span x Span (wing)
                                           area of wing

     Higher aspect ratio or wing elongation means the higher the lift to drag ratio but it may also mean careful structural analysis and more demanding wing structure. 

       Sailplanes push the aspect ratio to squeeze out the most lift while reducing drag with long slender wings. The tradeoff of long wings may limit performance and flight envelope speed range.

   Aircraft design is the result of many design, engineering and construction aspects coming together; their confluence and interaction.

Lift to Drag ratio does not depend on the weight of the airplane or its wing loading; ideally, L/D ratio tells you how far forward the plane will travel in exchange for the altitude diminished.  Increasing wing loading results in a faster airspeed at the Lift to Drag ratio. Increasing the Aspect ratio or wingspan to chord ratio will increase the L/D ratio.

A Cessna 150 trainer airplane has a L/D ratio around 7, a glider may have a L/D ratio around 30 or more.

At 1,000 feet AGL (above ground level) having a L/D ratio of 20 means a 20,000 foot radius or roughly a four mile landing radius with zero winds aloft.  

As drag is the divisor, the LD calculation makes plain the major importance of keeping drag to a minimum.

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