Wing plan forms for high-speed flight

Jones, Robert J

It is pointed out that, in the case of an airfoil of infinite aspect ratio moving at an angle of sideslip, the pressure distribution is determined solely by that component of the motion in a direction normal to the leading edge. It follows that the attachment of plane waves to the airfoil at near-sonic or supersonic speeds (Ackeret theory) may be avoided and the pressure drag may be reduced by the use of plan forms in which the angle of sweepback is greater than the Mach angle. The analysis indicates that for aerodynamic efficiency, wings designed for flight at supersonic speeds should be swept back at an angle greater than the Mach angle, and the angle of sweepback should be such that the component of velocity normal to the leading edge is less than the critical speed of the airfoil sections. This principle may also be applied to wings designed for subsonic speeds near the speed of sound, for which the induced velocities resulting from the thickness might otherwise be sufficiently great to cause shock waves.

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