The factors that determine the minimum speed of an airplane

F. H. Norton
Mar 1921

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.

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