Вы находитесь на странице: 1из 18

Estimation of aircraft aerodynamic center for

conventional, canard, or three-surface aircraft v0.9


Based on Dr. Jan Roskam’s Aircraft Design Series

Tim Woodbury
twoodbury@tamu.edu

February 12, 2012

Nomeclature
b wingspan (ft)
S wing surface area (ft2 )
M Mach number
cl α aerofoil lift-curve slope (rad−1 , unless specified)
df maximum fuselage diameter
A wing aspect ratio
hh vertical (z) distance between the horizontal tail mean quarter-chord and wing root
chord plane (ft)
lh horizontal (x) distance between the wing mean quarter-chord and horizontal tail
mean quarter-chord (ft)
mgc, c̄ mean geometric chord
Λx wing sweep measured at position xc̄ on the wing
λ wing taper ratio
a.c. aerodynamic center
q̄ free-stream dynamic pressure (psf)
lf fuselage length (ft)
µ air viscosity ( N−s
m2
)
CL aircraft lift coefficient
hnw wing a.c. coordinate, nondimensionalized by mgc, measured aft of the mgc apex

1 Introduction
This document is intended to guide AERO 421 students through the estimation of an air-
craft’s aerodynamic center (a.c.), working from a knowledge of the geometry of the aircraft

1
and the operating flight conditions. All of the methods described in this document were
developed based on Part V of Dr. Jan Roskam’s Aircraft Design series. This document is
intended to stand alone for a wide variety of aircraft; however, under certain circumstances,
reference should be made to Roskam’s book, which should be available in the 6th floor
computing lab and at Evans library. The basic steps to determine the a.c. are as follows:

1. Estimate the wing a.c. location and associated values.

2. Estimate the wing-fuselage a.c. location and associated values.

3. Estimate the a.c. locations of the horizontal tail(s) and associated values, if applicable.

4. Estimate the a.c. locations of the canard(s) and associated values, if applicable.

Each step is an involved process. The “associated values” refer to miscellaneous quanti-
ties, such as lift-curve slopes and downwash gradients, which are used in the estimation of
the aircraft a.c. We will begin with the steps necessary to estimate the wing a.c. location.

2 Estimate the wing aerodynamic center


To estimate the wing a.c., use the following method from Etkin.1 Determine the wing mgc,
using either Fig. 1 or Fig. 5. Use the mgc to estimate hnw from Figs. 2-4. hnw is the location
of the a.c., nondimensionalized by the mgc, measured aft of the mgc apex, as shown in the
top left of Figs. 2-4.
Fig. 2 gives hnw at low speeds as a function of the quarter-chord sweep angle Λ1/4 at
constant wing aspect ratio for taper ratios λ = 0, 0.5, 1.0. For other taper ratios, use linear
interpolation between two of the charts in Fig. 2.p
Figs. 3 and 4 both plot hnw as functions of A ||M 2 − 1|| for high speeds (transonic and
supersonic). The charts show curves of constant A tan Λ1/2 .

2.1 Estimate the wing lift-curve slope


Estimate the wing lift-curve slope CLαw . For subsonic speeds, use the following procedure:

Select or estimate the wing aerofoil lift-curve slope at M = 0 from the tables in Fig. 6.
Use the tabulated lift-curve slope to estimate the wing aerofoil lift-curve slope at the
operating Mach number (clα |M ):

cl |M =0
clα |M = √ α (1)
1 − M2

1
Etkin, B. “Dynamics of Flight - Stability and Control.” pg. 358.

2
Figure 1: Determination of the wing mgc, graphic from Etkin.

3
Figure 2: Estimation of wing a.c. at low speeds, as a function of taper ratio λ. Graphic
from Etkin.

4
Figure 3: Estimation of wing a.c. at high speeds, as a function of λ, part (1) of (2). Graphic
from Etkin.

5
Figure 4: Estimation of wing a.c. at high speeds, as a function of λ, part (2) of (2). Graphic
from Etkin.

6
Figure 5: Graphical methods for determining the wing mean geometric chord.

Figure 6: Tabulated values of aerofoil lift-curve slopes at M = 0.

Define the following three values. Note that in calculation of k, clα should be in units of
rad−1 .

b2
A= (2)
S

β = 1 − M2 (3)
(clα )|M
k=β (4)

7
Use the preceding values in Eq. 5 to estimate the wing lift-curve slope:

2πA
CLαw = q (5)
A2 β 2 tan2 Λc/2
2+ k2
(1 + β2
) +4

Use the same procedure to estimate Clαw |M =0 , which will be used in the calculation
of the downwash gradient. Note that this only requires recalculating the constant k. For
supersonic or transonic speeds, consult other references.

3 Estimate the wing-fuselage aerodynamic center


3.1 Estimate the wing-fuselage lift-curve slopes
Use the calculated wing lift-curve slope to estimate the wing-fuselage lift-curve slope. The
wing-fuselage lift-curve slope is defined in terms of a weighting factor Kwf :
   2
df df
Kwf = 1 + .025 − .25 (6)
b b
The wing-fuselage lift-curve slope is given by Eq. 7:

CLαwf = Kwf CLαw (7)

3.2 Estimate the horizontal tail downwash gradient

Figure 7: Definitions of horizontal tail geometric quantities.

Using Figure 7 as a reference, define the following three constants:


1 1
KA = − (8)
A 1 + A1.7

8
10 − 3λ
Kλ = (9)
7
1 − hh /b
Kh = (10)
(2lh /b)1/3
Using the defined constants, calculate the horizontal tail downwash gradient:

d h p 1.19 i CLαw |M
= 4.44 KA Kλ Kh cos Λc/4 (11)
dα CLαw |M =0
This is the true horizontal tail downwash gradient, which will be used later. For comput-
ing the a.c. shift due to the fuselage, compute a “fuselage downwash gradient”,
d∗
, using hh = 0.

3.3 Estimate the aerodynamic center shift due to the fuselage


Divide the fuselage into segments of approximately equal length. The example graphics use
13 segments. Tabulate the width, wf (xi ), length, ∆xi , and location relative to the wing, xi ,
according to Figure 8. The width of each segment is measured at its centroid. For segments
foreward of the wing, xi is measured relative to the leading edge. For segments aft of the
wing, xi is measured relative to the wing trailing edge. Note that segments contained within
the wing planform should be ignored as they do not contribute substantially to the a.c. shift.



For each segment i, estimate the gradient dα i
, depending on the segment number. For
segments forward of the wing LE, except for the segment immediately ahead of the wing,
use curve 1 in Fig. 9. For the segment immediately ahead of the wing, use curve 2 in Fig. 9.

Define the distance xh , shown in Figure 8, as the distance from the wing trailing edge
to the horitzontal tail mean geometric quarter chord. For segments aft of the wing, use Eq.

12. Note that the fuselage downwash gradient d dα
was calculated using hh = 0.

d∗
    
d¯ xi
= 1− (12)
dα i xh dα
Ignore segments “within” the wing, like segments 6 and 7 in Fig. 8.
Using the fuselage segmentation values, estimate the rate of change of Mach number with
respect to angle of attack. Note that in Eq. 13, CLαw is in units of deg−1 . All distances
should be in feet.
"i=13   #
dM q̄CLαw X d¯

= {(wfi )2 ∆xi } (13)
dα 2.92 i=1
dα i

9
Figure 8: Segmentation of the fuselage for Multhopp method.

Figure 9: Gradient estimation for forward aircraft segments. Cf is as defined in Fig. 8.

The equation for the shift in aerodynamic center is:


dM

∆x̄acf = − (14)
q̄Sc̄CLαw
10
IMPORTANT NOTE: If the aircraft has wing-mounted nacelles or stores ahead of the
wing, this same process should be used to compute the additional a.c. shift. Only segments
forward of the wing need to be considered in this case.

3.4 Estimate wing-fuselage aerodynamic center


The wing-fuselage aerodynamic center is calculated using Eq. 15:

x̄acwf = x̄acw + ∆x̄acf (15)

4 Estimate the horizontal tail aerodynamic center


The horizontal tail a.c. is estimated in the same method as the wing a.c. The horizontal tail
location, measured in fractions of the mgc, is x̄ach . It is measured from the leading edge of
the wing mgc, in accordance with Fig. 10.

Figure 10: Reference convention for the horizontal tail aerodynamic center.

11
4.1 Estimate the horizontal tail lift-curve slope
The horizontal tail lift-curve slope CLαh is estimated using the same method used for the
wing. Appropriate values of the horizontal tail aspect ratio, span, aerofoil lift-curve slope,
etc. should be substituted.

4.2 Estimate the wing zero-lift drag coefficient


As a step in estimating the dynamic pressure ratio for a horizontal tail, the wing zero-lift
drag coefficient, CDow , must be estimated. For subsonic aircraft, CDow is estimated via the
following empirical technique. Use Figs. 11-15 in computing the following quantities. Note
that the sea-level standard value of µ is 1.73 × 10−5 N−s
m2
.

Rwf → Fig. 11. Use the fuselage Reynolds number defined by:

ρU1 lf
RNf us =
µ

Figure 11: Wing-fuselage interference factor.

12
Figure 12: Lifting surface correction factor.

RLS → Fig. 12.

Cfw → Calculate Cf , the mean turbulent flat plate friction coefficient, using Fig 13, as
an estimate for Cfw . Define c̄we as the exposed wing mgc (i.e., recalculate the mgc using the
exposed wing alone). For Fig 13, compute the Reynolds number defined by the following
equation:
ρU1 c̄we
RNw =
µ

L0 → Fig. 14.
t/c → wing maximum thickness at wing mgc, nondimensionalized by mgc.
Swetw → wing wetted area, defined by Fig. 15.

CDow can be estimated by Eq. 16:


"  4 #
t t Swetw
CDow = Rwf RLS Cfw 1 + L0 + 100 (16)
c c S

13
Figure 13: Turbulent mean skin-friction coefficient.
14
Figure 14: Airfoil thickness location parameter.

Figure 15: Definition of wing wetted area.

15
4.3 Estimate the horizontal tail dynamic pressure ratio
The dynamic pressure ratio ηh = q̄q̄h must be estimated for the horizontal tail. The estimation
procedure for jet aircraft will be detailed here. Estimate the aircraft wing lift coefficient.
For preliminary design, it is sufficient to assume:

CLw = 1.05CL
In later design, when trim conditions are known, the definition of aircraft lift coefficient
yields Eq. 17:
Sc Sh
CLw = CL − CLc + CLh (17)
S S

Figure 16: Geometric parameters for computing dynamic pressure ratios.


Compute the following empirical quantities, making reference to Fig. 16 as necessary.
Note that in Eq. 18, the wing lift coefficient, NOT the wing lift-curve slope, is used.
1.62CLw
cl = (18)
πA
r x 
h
zw = 0.68c̄ CDow + 0.15 (19)

zh = xh tan(γh + cl − αw ) (20)


The horizontal tail dynamic pressure ratio can be estimated by Eq. 21:
p
2.42 CDow
  
2 πzh
ηh = 1 − cos (21)
2zw xh /c̄ + 0.30

16
5 Estimate the canard aerodynamic center
5.1 Estimate the canard dynamic pressure ratio
With a jet engine configuration, it is acceptable in principal design to approximate the canard
dynamic pressure ratio by ηc = 1.0 .

5.2 Estimate the canard lift-curve slope


The canard lift-curve slope CLαc is estimated using the same method as that used for the
wing. Appropriate values of the canard aspect ratio, span, aerofoil lift-curve slope, etc.
should be substituted.

5.3 Estimate canard upwash gradient


The canard upwash gradient may be found for wings swept less than 35◦ using Fig. 17.

Figure 17: Canard upwash gradient. The x-axis is the distance forward of the wing root
quarter-chord, nondimensionalized by the wing root.

17
6 Final estimation of aircraft aerodynamic center
As a prelude to the estimation of the aircraft a.c., the aircraft lift-curve slope must be
estimated. The aircraft lift-curve slope is given in terms of quantities calculated previously:
Sh d Sc dc
CLα = CLαwf + CLαh ηh (1 − ) + CLαc ηc (1 + ) (22)
S dα S dα
The aircraft a.c. is given by Eq. 23:
d Sh dc Sc
 
x̄acwf CLαwf + ηh CLαh (1 − ) x̄
dα S ach
− ηc CLαc (1 − ) x̄
dα S acc
x̄ACa = (23)
CLα
This is the end now.

Acknowledgements
The author would like to thank Grant Atkinson for insightful comments and assistance
editing the document.
As mentioned, this text is heavily derived from Jan Roskam’s Aircraft Design series, Part
V. Roskam’s series has traditionally been used by AERO 401 airplanes teams as a primary
design reference. All figures, except those attributed elsewhere, have been copied from a
scan of this book.

18