Determination of the profile drag of an airplane wing in flight at high Reynolds numbers

Bicknell, Joseph

Flight tests were made to determine the profile-drag coefficients of a portion of the original wing surface of an all-metal airplane and of a portion of the wing made aerodynamically smooth and more nearly fair than the original section. The wing section was approximately the NACA 2414.5. The tests were carried out over a range of airplane speeds giving a maximum Reynolds number of 15,000,000. Tests were also carried out to locate the point of transition from laminar to turbulent boundary layer and to determine the velocity distribution along the upper surface of the wing. The profile-drag coefficients of the original and of the smooth wing portions at a Reynolds number of 15,000,000 were 0.0102 and 0.0068, respectively; i.e., the surface irregularities on the original wing increased the profile-drag coefficient 50 percent above that of the smooth wing.

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