Wind tunnel tests on autorotation and the "flat spin."

Knight, Montgomery

This report deals with the autorotational characteristics of certain differing wing systems as determined from wind tunnel tests made at the Langley Memorial Aeronautical Laboratory. The investigation was confined to autorotation about a fixed axis in the plane of symmetry and parallel to the wind direction. Analysis of the tests leads to the following conclusions: autorotation below 30 degree angle of attack is governed chiefly by wing profile, and above that angle by wing arrangement. The strip method of autorotation analysis gives uncertain results between maximum C subscript L and 35 degrees. The polar curve of a wing system, and to a lower degree of accuracy the polar of a complete airplane model are sufficient for direct determination of the limits of rotary instability, subject to strip method limitations. The results of the investigation indicate that in free flight a monoplane is incapable of flat spinning, whereas an unstaggered biplane has inherent flat-spinning tendencies. The difficulty of maintaining equilibrium in stalled flight is due primarily to rotary instability, a rapid change from stability to instability occurring as the angle of maximum lift is exceeded. (author)

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