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2.2.2: Wing

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    A wing is an airfoil that has an aerodynamic cross-sectional shape producing a useful lift to drag ratio. A wing’s aerodynamic quality is expressed as its lift-to-drag ratio. The lift that a wing generates at a given speed and angle of attack can be one to two orders of magnitude greater than the total drag on the wing. A high lift-to-drag ratio requires a significantly smaller thrust to propel the wings through the air at sufficient lift.

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    Figure 2.10: Aircraft’s plant-form types. © Guy Inchbald / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0.

    The wing can be classified attending at the plant-form. The elliptic plant-form is the best in terms of aerodynamic efficiency (lift-to-drag ration), but it is rather complex to manufacture. The rectangular plant-form is much easier to manufacture but the efficiency drops significantly. An intermediate solution is the wing with narrowing (also referred to as trapezoidal wing or tapered wing). As the airspeed increases and gets closer to the speed of sound, it is interesting to design swept wings with the objective of retarding the effects of sharpen increase of aerodynamic drag associated to transonic regimens, the so-called compressibility effects. The delta wing is less common, typical of supersonic flights. An evolution of the delta plant-form is the ogival plant-form. See Figure 2.10.

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    Figure 2.11: Wing vertical position. © Guy Inchbald / Wikimedia Commons / CC-BY-SA-3.0.

    Attending at the vertical position, the wing can also be classified as high, medium, and low. High wings are typical of cargo aircraft. It allows the fuselage to be nearer the floor, and it is easier to execute load and download tasks. On the contrary, it is difficult to locate space for the retractile landing gear (also referred to as undercarriage). The low wing is the typical one in commercial aviation. It does not interfere in the passenger cabin, diving the deck into two spaces. It is also useful to locate the retractile landing gear. The medium wing is not typical in commercial aircraft, but it is very common to see it in combat aircraft with the weapons bellow the wing to be dropped. See Figure 2.11.

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    Figure 2.12: Wing and empennage devices. Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain.

    Usually, aircraft’s wings have various devices, such as flaps or slats, that the pilot uses to modify the shape and surface area of the wing to change its aerodynamic characteristics in flight, or ailerons, which are used as control surfaces to make the aircraft roll around its longitudinal axis. Another kind of devices are the spoilers which typically used to help braking the aircraft after touching down. Spoilers are deflected so that the lift gets reduced in the semi-wing they are acting, and thus they can be also useful to help the aircraft rolling. If both are deflected at the same time, the total lift of the aircraft drops and can be used to descent quickly or to brake after touching down. See Figure 2.12.

    2.2.2: Wing is shared under a CC BY-SA 3.0 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Manuel Soler Arnedo via source content that was edited to conform to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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