Effect of tail surfaces on the base drag of a body of revolution at Mach numbers of 1.5 and 2.0

Richard J. Spahr, Robert R. Dickey
Apr 1951

Wind-tunnel tests were performed at Mach numbers of 1.5 and 2.0 to investigate the influence of tail surfaces on the base drag of a body of revolution without boattailing and layer. The tail surfaces were of rectangular plan form of aspect ratio 2.33 and has symmetrical, circular-arc airfoil section. The results of the investigation showed that the addition of these tail surfaces with the trailing edges at or near the body base incurred a large increase in the base-drag coefficient. For a cruciform tail having a 10-percent-thick airfoil section, this increase was about 70 percent at a Mach number of 1.5 and 35 percent at a Mach number of 2.0. As the trailing edge of the tail was moved forward or rearward of the base by about one tail-chord length, the base-drag increment was reduced to nearly zero. The increments in base-drag coefficient due to the presence of 10-percent-thick tail surfaces were generally twice those for 5-percent-thick surfaces. The base-drag increments due to the presence of a cruciform tail were less than twice those for a plane tail. An estimate of the change in base pressure due to the tail surfaces was made, based on a simple super- position of the airfoil-pressure field onto the base-pressure field behind the body. A comparison of the results with the experimental values indicated that in most cases the trend in the variation of the base-drag increment with changes in tail position could be predicted by this approximate method but that the quantitative agreement at most tail locations was poor.

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