A preliminary investigation of a new method for testing aerofoils in free flight

F. H. Norton
January, 1922

This report is a description of a new method of testing aerofoils in free flight devised by the National Advisory Committee for Aeronautics. The method consists in lowering below a flying airplane a large inverted aerofoil on three small steel wires in such a way that the lift on the aerofoil always keeps the wires tight. The resultant force is measured by the tension in the wires, and the direction of the resultant by the amount the wing trails backwards. A test was made on an aerofoil of the N.A.C.A. #64 section, 6 ft. in span and the results are compared with a similar section tested in the wind tunnel. This investigation indicates that by the use of suitable recording apparatus aerofoils may be accurately and conveniently tested at a Reynolds number, a velocity and a degree of turbulence, comparable with that on the full-sized airplane. Satisfactory experiments were also made in trailing a sphere and a streamlined body on single wires.

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