On the application of transonic similarity rules to wings of finite span

John R. Spreiter

The transonic aerodynamic characteristics of wings of finite span are discussed from the point of view of a unified small perturbation theory for subsonic, transonic, and supersonic flows about thin wings. This approach avoids certain ambiguities which appear if one studies transonic flows by means of equations derived under the more restrictive assumption that the local velocities are everywhere close to sonic velocity. The relation between the two methods of analysis of transonic flow is examined, the similarity rules and known solutions of transonic flow theory are reviewed, and the asymptotic behavior of the lift, drag, and pitching-moment characteristics of wings of large and small aspect ratio is discussed. It is shown that certain methods of data presentation are advantageous for the effective display of these characteristics.

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