National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics (NACA) - Browse

The factors that determine the minimum speed of an airplane
The author argues that because of a general misunderstanding of the principles of flight at low speed, there are a large number of airplanes that could be made to fly several miles per hour slower than at present by making slight modifications. In order to show how greatly the wing section affects the minimum speed, curves are plotted against various loadings. The disposition of wings on the airplane slightly affects the lift coefficient, and a few such cases are discussed. Another factor that has an effect on minimum speed is the extra lift exerted by the slip stream on the wings. Also discussed are procedures to be followed by the pilot, especially with regard to stick movements during low speed flight. Also covered are stalling, yaw, rolling moments, lateral control, and the effectiveness of ailerons and rudders.
The testing of aviation engines
No Description Available.
Soaring flight in Guinea
The term soaring is applied here to the flight of certain large birds which maneuver in the air without moving their wings. The author explains the methods of his research and here gives approximate figures for the soaring flight of the Egyptian Vulture and the African White backed Vulture. Figures are given in tabular form for relative air speed per foot per second, air velocity per foot per second, lift/drag ratio, and selected coefficients. The author argues that although the figures given were taken from a very limited series of observations, they have nevertheless thrown some light on the use by birds of the internal energy of the air.
The determination of the effective resistance of a spindle supporting a model airfoil
An attempt was made to determine the effect of spindle interference on the lift of the airfoil by measuring moments about the axis parallel to the direction of air flow. The values obtained are of the same degree as the experimental error, and for the present this effect will be neglected. The results obtained using a U.S.A. 15 wing (plotted here) show that the correction is nearly constant from 0 degrees to 10 degrees incidence and that at greater angles its value becomes erratic. At such angles, however, the wing drag is so high that the spindle correction and its attendant errors become relatively small and unimportant.
Determination of the lift and drag characteristics of an airplane in flight
Flight tests to determine lift and drag characteristics are discussed. A review is given of the fundamental principles on which the tests are based and on the forces acting on an airplane in the various conditions of steady flight. Glide with and without propeller thrust and the relation between angle of attack and the indicated airspeed for different conditions of steady flight are discussed. The glide test procedure and the problem of the propeller are discussed.
The comparison of well-known and new wing sections tested in the variable density wind tunnel
Three groups of airfoils have been tested in the variable density wind tunnel. The first group contains three airfoils. The second group is a systematic series of twenty-seven airfoils. The third group consists of several frequently used wing sections.
Model supports and their effects on the results of wind tunnel tests
The airflow about a model while being tested is often sufficiently affected by the model support to lead to erroneous conclusions unless appropriate corrections are used. In this paper some new material on the subject is presented, together with a review of the airfoil support corrections used in several other laboratories.
The N.A.C.A. recording tachometer and angle of attack recorder
This note contains photos and descriptions of airplane flight apparatus for use in conjunction with a recording galvanometer. In measuring the angle of attack a variable resistance is used, being controlled by a vane in the airstream. Thus it is only necessary to measure the change of resistance.
The NACA CYH airfoil section
The NACA CYH airfoil section is described and its aerodynamic characteristics are given as tested in the NACA variable density wind tunnel at twenty atmosphere pressure. This section has a low drag, a high maximum lift, and a small travel of center of pressure.
NACA flight-path angle and air-speed recorder
A new trailing bomb-type instrument for photographically recording the flight-path angle and air speed of aircraft in unaccelerated flight is described. The instrument consists essentially of an inclinometer, air-speed meter and a film-drum case. The inclinometer carries an oil-damped pendulum which records optically the flight-path angle upon a rotating motor-driven film drum. The air-speed meter consists of a taut metal diaphragm of high natural frequency which is acted upon by the pressure difference of a Prandtl type Pitot-static tube. The inclinometer record and air-speed record are made optically on the same sensitive film. Two records taken by this instrument are shown.
Airfoil lift with changing angle of attack
Tests have been made in the atmospheric wind tunnel of the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics to determine the effects of pitching oscillations upon the lift of an airfoil. It has been found that the lift of an airfoil, while pitching, is usually less than that which would exist at the same angle of attack in the stationary condition, although exceptions may occur when the lift is small or if the angle of attack is being rapidly reduced. It is also shown that the behavior of a pitching airfoil may be qualitatively explained on the basis of accepted aerodynamic theory.
Wall interference in closed type wind tunnels
A series of tests has been conducted by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics, in the variable density wind tunnel on several airfoils of different sizes and sections to determine the effect of tunnel wall interference and to determine a correction which can be applied to reduce the error caused thereby. The use of several empirical corrections was attempted with little success. The Prandtl theoretical correction gives the best results and its use is recommended for correcting closed wind tunnel results to conditions of free air.
A warning concerning the take-off with heavy load
A successful take-off can be made with an airplane so heavily loaded that it cannot climb to a height greater than the span of its wings. The explanation is that the power required to maintain level flight at an altitude of the order of the wing span may be as much as 50 per cent greater than that necessary when the airplane is just clear of the ground. The failure of heavily loaded airplanes to continue climbing at the rate attained immediately after the actual take-off is a grave hazard and has resulted in great risk or catastrophe in three notable cases which are cited.
Tests of rotating cylinders
Tests were made in the no. 1 wind tunnel at Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory to determine the air forces acting on rotating cylinders with axes perpendicular to the direction of motion. One cylinder had a circular cross-section, the other that of a greek cross.
The formation of ice upon exposed parts of an airplane in flight
In order to experimentally study the conditions leading to ice formation on aircraft surfaces, an aircraft was equipped with small auxiliary surfaces and aerodynamic shapes similar to struts, wires, Pitot heads, etc. This airplane was flown at an altitude where a temperature of 32 F was encountered, at such times as cloud formations could be found at the coincident altitude. Here it was discovered that ice formed rapidly in regard to quantity,character, shape, and rapidity of formation. An examination of this data, which confirms observations of pilots, indicates that the weight of ice collected can very possibly be sufficient to force the airplane to rapidly lose altitude on account of the increased loads. However, it is more evident that the malformation of the aerodynamic shapes may so increase the drag and reduce the lift so as to produce a loss of altitude even greater in consequence, the combination of the two working in the same direction having a double effect. Other adverse consequences are noted. The recommendation for the guidance of those who must encounter these conditions appears to lie entirely along the lines of avoidance.
Langley Field wind tunnel apparatus
No Description Available.
Langley Field wind tunnel apparatus
The difficulties experienced in properly holding thin tipped or tapered airfoils while testing on an N.P.L. type aerodynamic balance even at low air speeds, and the impossibility of holding even solid metal models at the high speeds attainable at the National Advisory Committee's wind tunnel, necessitated the design of a balance which would hold model airfoils of any thickness and at speeds up to 150 m.p.h. In addition to mechanical strength and rigidity, it was highly desirable that the balance readings should require a minimum amount of correction and mathematical manipulation in order to obtain the lift and drag coefficients and the center of pressure. The balance described herein is similar to one in use at the University of Gottingen, the main difference lying in the addition of a device for reading the center of pressure directly, without the necessity of any correction whatsoever. Details of the design and operation of the device are given.
Static testing and proposed standard specifications
Static tests fall into two groups, the first of which is designed to load all members of the structure approximately in accordance with the worst loads which they carry in flight, while the second is directed to the testing of specific members which are suspected of weakness and which are difficult to analyze mathematically. The nature of the loading in the second type is different for every different test, but the purpose of the first is defined clearly enough to permit the adoption of some standard set of loading specifications, at least for airplanes of normal design. Here, an attempt is made to carry through an analysis leading to such a standard, the goal being the determination of a load which will simultaneously impose on every member of the airplane structure a stress equal to the worst it will carry in flight.
The optical wing aligning device of the Langley Field tunnel
Described here is a convenient and accurate method of aligning the wing chord with the airflow. The device was developed to permit rapid and accurate alignment of airfoils and models with the airstream passing through the tunnel. It consists of three main parts: a projector, a reflector, and a target. The arrangement, which is shown in a figure, has proven satisfactory in operation. It is far better than the old method of sighting across a long batten, as the operator of a balance may see the target and correctly judge the accuracy of his alignment. Whereas the old method required two operators and several minutes time to align to within 1/10 degree, this method enables one operator to align a wing to within 1/100 of a degree in a few seconds. This method also has the advantage of being able to measure the angle of the wing while the tunnel is running. Thus, the true angle of incidence is shown.
The NACA three component accelerometer
A new instrument known as the NACA three component accelerometer is described in this note. This instrument was designed by the technical staff of the NACA for recording accelerations along three mutually perpendicular axes, and is of the same type as the NACA single component accelerometer with the addition of two springs and a few minor improvements such as a pump for filling the dash-pots and a convenient method for aligning the springs. This note includes a few records as well as photographs of the instrument itself.
Effect of the reversal of air flow upon the discharge coefficient of Durley Orifices
Experiments were conducted to obtain information on the relationship between the coefficients for flow in two directions through thin plate orifices at low velocities. The results indicate that the ratio of the orifice discharge coefficient from standard orifice C(sub s)(sup 1) to the discharge coefficient from the reverse flow C(sub s) is always less than unity with increasing ratio of box area to orifice area. Even for areas as low as twenty, the ratios of the coefficients are not much less than unity. It is probable, however, that when the ratio of box area is less than twenty, the ratio of discharge coefficients would be greatly reduced. Specific results are given for the case of an apparatus for the laboratory testing of superchargers.
An investigation of the characteristics of steel diaphragms for automatic fuel-injection valves
This research on steel diaphragms was undertaken at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory, as a part of a general investigation on fuel injection engines for aircraft. The work determined the load-deflection, load- deformation and hysteresis characteristics for single diaphragms having thicknesses from 0.00s inch to 0.012 inch, and for similar diaphragms tested in multiple having total thicknesses from 0.012 inch to 0.180 inch. The elastic limit loads and deflections, and rupture points of single diaphragms were also determined. Some work was done on diaphragms having central orifices in order to determine the effect of orifice diameter upon the load deflection characteristics.
Gottingen Wind Tunnel for testing aircraft models
Given here is a brief description of the Gottingen Wind Tunnel for the testing of aircraft models, preceded by a history of its development. Included are a number of diagrams illustrating, among other things, a sectional elevation of the wind tunnel, the pressure regulator, the entrance cone and method of supporting a model for simple drag tests, a three-component balance, and a propeller testing device, all of which are discussed in the text.
Syphon diaphragms : a method for predicting their performance for purposes of instrument design
Here, the purpose is to show that the characteristic performance of a syphon diaphragm can be predicted from a knowledge of its stiffness and of its dimensions. The proof is based on a mathematical analysis of this type of diaphragm, together with enough experimental data to prove the validity of the assumptions and the sufficiency of the analysis. Equations are developed for the performance of syphons under various conditions of loading, both for concentrated loads and for hydrostatic pressure.
Surface area coefficients for airship envelopes
In naval architecture, it is customary to determine the wetted surface of a ship by means of some formula which involves the principal dimensions of the design and suitable constants. These formulas of naval architecture may be extended and applied to the calculation of the surface area of airship envelopes by the use of new values of the constants determined for this purpose. Surface area coefficients were calculated from the actual dimensions, surfaces, and volumes of 52 streamline bodies, which form a series covering the entire range of shapes used in the present aeronautical practice.
Tests of oil scraper piston ring and piston fitted with oil drain holes
Tests were conducted to determine whether or not a properly located and properly designed oil scraper piston ring, installed on a piston provided with oil drain holes of sufficient area, would prevent the excessive oiling of the Liberty engine, particularly with the engine running at idling speed with full oil pressure. Results showed that excessive oiling was in fact prevented. It is strongly recommended that scraper rings and pistons be adopted for aircraft engines.
Ground influence on airfoils
The question of ground influence on airplanes has recently attracted some attention in view of the claims made by certain designers that the landing speed of their airplanes is much decreased by an increase in lift coefficient due to the proximity of the ground in landing. The results of wind tunnel tests indicate that ground effect is not entirely beneficial. It decreases the landing speed and cushions the landing shock somewhat. However, it does so at the expense of an increased length of preliminary skimming over the ground. By decreasing the drag and increasing the lift, it lengthens the distance necessary for the airplane to travel before losing enough speed to land. On the other hand, its influence is helpful in taking off, especially in the case of flying boats with their low-lying wings. In the conventional tractor airplane, the height of the wings above the ground is determined largely by propeller clearance. However, a small low-speed airplane like the Pischoff and large low-speed commercial aircraft with engines between wings can utilize ground influence to good advantage.
Micarta propellers III : general description of the design
The design of propellers made of Micarta is discussed. The advantages of the material are noted, especially as compared with wood. The design changes necessitated by the use of Micarta are discussed with reference to the hub boss, the narrowing of the blade tips, the thinning of the blades, the angles of the leading and trailing edges, and the adjustment of the pitch. Results of flight tests show that the Micarta propeller gave a top speed of 2 miles per hour more than the wooden propeller while turning about 120 r.p.m slower, with about the same rate of climb. At top speed, the Micarta propeller shows an improvement of about 7 percent in fuel economy, although the plane is flying 2 miles per hour faster.
Technical preparation of the airplane "Spirit of St. Louis."
Given here is a brief history of the design and construction of the "Spirit of St. Lewis", the airplane that Charles Lindbergh flew solo across the Atlantic. Although the plan was to modify a standard model Ryan M-2, it was quickly determined that modification was less practical than redesign. Colonel Lindbergh's active participation in the design of the aircraft is noted. Given here are the general dimensions, specifications, weight characteristics, and man hours required to build the aircraft.
Micarta propellers IV : technical methods of design
A description is given of the methods used in design of Micarta propellers. The most direct method for working out the design of a Micarta propeller is to start with the diameter and blade angles of a wooden propeller suited for a particular installation and then to apply one of the plan forms suitable for Micarta propellers. This allows one to obtain the corresponding blade widths and to then use these angles and blade widths for an aerodynamic analysis.
On a new type of wind tunnel
Discussed here is a new type of wind tunnel, its advantages, the difficulties attendant upon its use, and the special methods required for its operation. The main difference between the new type of wind tunnel and the ones now in operation is the use of a different fluid. The idea is to diminish the effect of viscosity If air is compressed, it becomes a fluid with new properties - a fluid that is best suited for reliable and exact tests on models. When air is compressed, its density increases, but its viscosity does not. It is argued that the increase of pressure greatly increases the range and value of wind tunnel tests. Reynolds number, deductions from the Reynolds law, the causes of errors that result in differences between tests on models and actual flights, and the dimensions of a compressed air wind tunnel are covered.
The problem of fuel for aviation engines
No Description Available.
Performance of a vane driven-gear pump
Given here are the results of a test conducted in a wind tunnel on the performance of a vane-driven gear pump used to pump gasoline upward into a small tank located within the upper wing from which it flows by gravity to the engine carburetor. Information is given on the efficiency of the pump, the head resistance of the vanes, the performance and characteristics of the unit with and without housing about the vanes, the pump performance when motor driven, and resistance and power characteristics.
A new method of testing in wind tunnels
Now, in existing wind tunnels, using a horsepower of 100 to 300, the models are generally made to a 1/10 scale and the speed is appreciably lower than the speeds currently attained by airplanes. The Reynolds number realized is thus 15 to 25 times smaller than that reached by airplanes in free flight, while the ratio of speed to the velocity of sound is between a third and three quarters of the true ratio. The necessary increases in either the diameter of the wind tunnel or the velocity of the airstream are too costly. However, the author shows that it is possible to have wind tunnels in which the Reynolds number will be greater than that now obtained by airplanes, and in which the ratio of the velocity to the velocity of sound will also be greater than that realized in practice, by employing a gas other than air, at a pressure and temperature different from those of the surrounding atmosphere. The gas is carbonic acid, a gas having a low coefficient of viscosity, high density, and a low ratio of specific heat. The positive results of using carbonic acid in wind tunnel tests are given.
High altitude flying
This note investigates the effect of high altitude or low atmospheric pressure upon the operation of an engine and the effect of the low pressure and lack of oxygen and of the very low temperatures upon the pilot and upon the performance of the airplane itself.
The Flettner rotor ship in the light of the Kutta-Joukowski theory and of experimental results
In this paper the fundamental principles of the Flettner rotor ship (Reference I) are discussed in the light of the Kutta-Joukowski theory and available experimental information on the subject. A brief exposition of the Kutta-Joukowski theory is given and the speed of the rotor ship Buckau computed, first by using effective propulsive force obtained by the above theory, and then by direct application of wind tunnel data.
Airplane superchargers
Discussed here are the principles and operation of aircraft engine superchargers used to maintain and increase engine power as aircraft encounter decreases in the density of air as altitude rises. Details are given on the design and operation of the centrifugal compressors. A method is given for calculating the amount of power needed to drive a compressor. The effects of the use of a compressor on fuel system operation and design are discussed. Several specific superchargers that were in operation are described.
The effect on performance of a cutaway center section
The assumption is made that a skeleton or cutaway center section is desirable for forward vision and to determine the effect of such mutilation upon performance the following work was done. The airplane used was a Vought VE-7 and in addition to the cutaway center section a system of end plates or fins was installed. Various conditions and combinations were investigated in level flight and in climb. It is found that the greatest difference in the conditions investigated was a drop of 12.5 per cent in a 10-minute climb while the effect upon level speeds was negligible.
The air propeller, its strength and correct shape
It is possible to give a propeller such a shape that, under given conditions, viz., a definite speed of revolution and flying speed, the bending stresses in the blades will assume quite an insignificant magnitude.
Airplane performance as influenced by the use of a supercharged engine
The question of the influence of a supercharged engine on airplane performance is treated here in a first approximation, but one that gives an exact idea of the advantage of supercharging. Considered here is an airplane that climbs first with an ordinary engine, not supercharged, and afterwards climbs with a supercharged engine. The aim is to find the difference of the ceilings reached in the two cases. In the case of our figure, the ceiling from 25,000 feet is increased to 37,000 feet, the supercharging maintaining the power only up to 20,000 feet. This makes, in comparison with an engine without supercharging, an increase of about 50 percent.
Air flow investigation for location of angle of attack head on a JN4h airplane
The technical staff of the NACA at Langley Field, has made a series of free flight tests with a JN4h airplane in order to find the best place for an instrument for measuring the angle of attack. A "neutral zone" was found where the air remains either at rest relative to the undisturbed air beyond the influence of the airplane, or is set in motion parallel to the motion of the airplane. This zone is about midway between the two wings and slightly in front of, or at the vertical plane through the leading edges of the wings but the exact position as well as the outlines of the zone varies considerably as the conditions of flight change.
Air force and three moments for F-5-L Seaplane
A model of the F-5-L seaplane was made, verified, and tested at 40 miles an hour in the 8' x 8' tunnel for lift and drag, also for pitching, yawing and rolling moments. Subsequently, the yawing moment test was repeated with a modified fin. The results are reported without VL scale correction.
Airplane balance
The authors argue that the center of gravity has a preponderating influence on the longitudinal stability of an airplane in flight, but that manufacturers, although aware of this influence, are still content to apply empirical rules to the balancing of their airplanes instead of conducting wind tunnel tests. The author examines the following points: 1) longitudinal stability, in flight, of a glider with coinciding centers; 2) the influence exercised on the stability of flight by the position of the axis of thrust with respect to the center of gravity and the whole of the glider; 3) the stability on the ground before taking off, and the influence of the position of the landing gear. 4) the influence of the elements of the glider on the balance, the possibility of sometimes correcting defective balance, and the valuable information given on this point by wind tunnel tests; 5) and a brief examination of the equilibrium of power in horizontal flight, where the conditions of stability peculiar to this kind of flight are added to previously existing conditions of the stability of the glider, and interfere in fixing the safety limits of certain evolutions.
Airplanes in horizontal curvilinear flight
War airplanes require not only high speed and the ability to climb rapidly, but also the ability to transverse sharp curves quickly. Here, an attempt is made to give a simple method of calculating horizontal curvilinear flight. A method for determining the area of the aileron and rubber surfaces are also indicated. The discussion given here applies primarily to single and two-seater airplanes, although it can be extended to larger airplanes.
An altitude chamber for the study and calibration of aeronautical instruments
The design and construction of an altitude chamber, in which both pressure and temperature can be varied independently, was carried out by the NACA at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory for the purpose of studying the effects of temperature and pressure on aeronautical research instruments. Temperatures from +20c to -50c are obtained by the expansion of CO2from standard containers. The chamber can be used for the calibration of research instruments under altitude conditions simulating those up to 45,000 feet. Results obtained with this chamber have a direct application in the design and calibration of instruments used in free flight research.
Hydrostatic tests of an airship model
An airship model made by the Goodyear Rubber Company was filled with water and suspended from a beam. The deformations of the envelope were studied under the following conditions: 1) both ballonets empty; 2) forward ballonets filled with air; 3) rear ballonets filled with air; and 4) both ballonets filled with air. Photographs were taken to record the deflections under each of these conditions, and a study was made to determine the minimum head of water necessary to maintain the longitudinal axis of the envelope under these conditions. It was concluded that any pressure sufficient to keep the airship full may be used. It appears that a pressure of one inch of water would provide a suitable factor of safety, and therefore it is the pressure that is recommended.
Effects of varying the relative vertical position of wing and fuselage
The object of this series of experiments was to determine the influence of the relative vertical position of wing and fuselage on the efficiency of the wing.
Mutual influence of wings and propeller
No Description Available.
The effect on rudder control of slip stream body, and ground interference
This investigation was undertaken to determine the relative effects of those factors which may interfere with the rudder control of an airplane, with especial reference to the process of landing. It shows that ground interference is negligible, but that the effects of a large rounded body and of the slip stream may combine to interfere seriously with rudder control at low flying speeds and when taxiing.
Measuring an airplane's true speed in flight testing
No Description Available.