Method of correcting wind tunnel data for omitted parts of airplane models

R. H. Smith
Jan 1927

Wind tunnel models do not have complete similarity to the full scale airplane. Part of the dissimilarity is due to the difference between the stationary model in the artificial wind stream of the tunnel and the moving airplane in still air. There are a number of other reasons for departing from exact geometrical similitude. For reasons of accuracy and economy, all minor parts of the full scale airplane, such as struts, wires, fittings, control horns and other parts whose scale corrections are large are removed from wind tunnel models. By omitting the minor parts of the airplane in the wind tunnel model and adding to the forces and moments of the model those omitted parts measured full scale and properly reduced, the scale effects of such parts disappear from the model data. Scale effects due to major parts of the airplane, particularly the fuselage and wings, can be corrected by omitting the propeller and making the surface of the model as smooth as possible, two further departures from geometrical similitude between model and full scale that add considerably to the accuracy and economy of model tests.

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