wing area

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by spicmart, Dec 8, 2012.

  1. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    #1 spicmart, Dec 8, 2012
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2012
    Why did the Germans tend to design planes with such small wings initially whereas other nations do the opposite and thus enabling their designs to develop without having to increase the wing area to counteract any additional weight?
    The Germans chose to enlarge the wings of their respective aircraft only if needed. And that was more the rule than exception. It's also a more complicated way that slows down production.
    And everyone then wonders that they have worse turning abilities. I know that late in the war speed and climb (turning doesn't win battles) were regarded as more important yet the reports of many pilots emphasize and praise especially the turning abilities of the certain aircraft. And wing loading as everyone knows is a key factor for turn rate.
    So it's a bit contradictory.
     
  2. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    I reckon you talk about fighters?
    Small airframe has it's benefits. Weight drag are smaller, so even if you don't have 2000 HP engines, the plane is a performer. Smaller wing should enable a better roll rate, too. About the supposed enlargement of the wing: it was done only from Fw190D -> Ta-152H, the Ta being aimed for combats between 10-13 km.
    German planes were not in need to have a multitude of heavy guns mounted in wings; the notable punch-per-weight of their armament served them well.

    You can note that most of European planes were also of small wig area, Yak-3 as a prime example.
     
  3. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    It’s also a function of the altitude at which the plane is expected to be effective. The allies sort of went the other way with clipped-wing versions for combat at modest altitudes. Soviet planes were probably designed for lower altitudes and in fact that’s where they fought.
     
  4. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    Yes, the enlargement of the wing was only realized with the Fw 190D -> Ta 152 but there were plans and drawings to enlarge the wings of the He 219 and Ta 154, so that they can carry additional weight and be better at high alt combat.
    Regarding weight if you look at the empty weights the german planes are not much lighter than other planes (in fact the P-51D was lighter than the Fw 190D) despite their smaller size and volume.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Surely you aren't referring to the Me-109 and Fw-190. Both types were produced in greater numbers and at lower cost (per aircraft) then any U.S. made fighter aircraft.
     
  6. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    With He-219 Heinkel was maybe going for too small a wing? He-112 100 were also featuring small wings.
    The heavy weight of the Fw-190 was much due to heavy power plants - 3660 lbs complete (engine, cowling, lubrication, prop etc) for the Anton, ie. circa 90% of the weight of Corsair's or Hellcat's power plants. Jumo 213 was another heavy engine, plus it was longer, necessitating addition of IIRC 50cm 'plug' between fuselage empenage, in order to restore center of gravity.
     
  7. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Just because an aircraft was produced in large numbers, it doesn't mean it was simple or difficult to build. Once a production learning curve is achieved and manpower is available, large numbers could be achieved regardless of the production "complexity" of the airframe (ex P-38 )
     
  8. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Hey Dave, he was referring to increasing the size of the wing, not regular production:

     
  9. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    I mean that changing the wings' size was an extra effort that would have to slowed down production of a certain aircraft. The Heinkel fighters would have needed wing enlargement to stay competitive development wise.
    I think that the Me 309 also needed a larger wing in the end.
     
  10. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    As was demonstrated impeccably by the Spitfire.

    Wings can evolve with other aspects of an airframe. I don't believe it will neccessarily slow down production any more than different power eggs or other equipment.

    Cheers
    Steve
     
  11. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Might be true for He-100 but it appears nobody wanted that aircraft.

    He-112B2 had a relatively low wing loading of 27 lbs / sq foot. If the He-112B had been placed into mass production it will gain weight just like other combat aircraft. However it's not going to gain enough weight to require a larger wing.
     
  12. Julian_S

    Julian_S New Member

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    Somewhat related to the subject of area, why did the Spitfire end up with an elliptical wing? It's a shape that no other fighter designer replicated and I'm sure it wasn't done to make it look pretty!

    Julian.
     
  13. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    Aerodynamics and it is not elliptical (though not far off).
    Steve
     
  14. Julian_S

    Julian_S New Member

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    So, other that debating the exact understanding of the word 'elliptical' your answer is but one word - aerodynamics. Now, even with my limited knowledge I could probably come to that conclusion.

    Would you care to elaborate? I was hoping for a useful answer.....

    Julian.
     
  15. spicmart

    spicmart Member

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    Afaik the Russian fighters like the Yak-3/9 and La-5/7 were fighters specialized only for low alt combat, so they did not need large wings.
    I think the Germans tend to prefer jack-of-all-trades aircraft designs so a sufficient wing area for all upcoming tasks should have been advisable.
    The He 112 had a hardly bigger wing than the Me 109. But so valuable resources can be saved with smaller planes.
    Otherwise I go with tomo and his explanation up there.
     
  16. KiwiBiggles

    KiwiBiggles Member

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    All other things being equal (which they never are), an elliptical spanwise lift distribution gives the lowest induced drag. Although not by a huge amount; IIRC, the difference between a perfect elliptical distribution and a straight 2:1 taper is about 10-15%. (It's been a long time, and I don't have any references with me.)

    But I think Reginald Mitchell made a comment to the effect that he didn't care what the wing looked like; that the eventual shape came about because he needed to space four guns out across the span.
     
  17. cimmex

    cimmex Member

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    Elliptical wings are difficult to build and took a lot of man hour. I think that the advantage of the elliptical wing was not so big because this shape disappeared very quick after the war.
    cimmex
     
  18. stona

    stona Well-Known Member

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    #18 stona, Dec 9, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 9, 2012
    It's been widely covered,there are articles in the public domain and on the internet.
    The aerodynamic advantage of an elliptical wing over a straight wing has been calculated at less than 1% at high speeds. Mitchell had designed an elliptical wing as early as 1929 for a six engined flying boat (AM spec.20/28 ) and it seems he resurrected this and combined it with the NACA 2200 aerofoil,details of which were brought back from the US by Shenstone in 1934.

    Mr EJ Davis,who worked in the Supermarine design office said.

    "The wing shape was decided before final detail design started in the drawing office and the key was the wing spar which was not swept back.....Also the line of the spar web was the datum for setting up the twist as each rib had a different incidence.Manufacture would have been most difficult if the spar was not at right angles to the ribs.Although the final wing shape was not a true ellipse it was evolved from one.The spar,positioned at 25% chord,together with the thick nose skin,provided all the bending and torsional strength of the wing,but in a true ellipse it would have curved backwards from the root to the tip."

    The "two sparers" might like to read the italics.

    A further influence on the final shape was the 8 gun armament.The "elliptical" wing gave greater depth for the retracted landing gear and the outer ammunition boxes.

    RJ Fenner recalled.

    "Alf Faddy,who was our section leader,would have persuaded RJM to go for the elliptical wing type since this gave greater depth for the retracted landing gear and outer ammunition boxes...... The performance of high speed being the criterion,it was essential to maintain a low t/c ratio for the wing section and to keep the armament as far inboard as possible. The compromise was the elliptical wing."

    The romantic notion that the wing shape was a purely aerodynamic consideration born of Supermarine's racing heritage looks good in a movie but is infact far from the truth. The eventual shape of the wing was a result of all sorts of compromises and manufacturing considerations.

    This is all a long way from the original topic.

    Steve
     
  19. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    Thanks :)

    I'd say that engine's capabilities are a more significant factor, than the size of the wing. Eg. MiG-1, with AM-35 engine, was a high altitude fighter, despite it's small wing. Unfortunately, the big heavy Mikulin never entered service as a two-speed engine in a fighter. Or, in Spitfires, the LF/F/HF designations were pointing 1st into an engine subtype, then in wing size.
    The Soviet specialization for low-level fighters was more a thing of necessity, than of choice. The bread and butter Klimov engines (the ones in service) were not able to develop much power above 4-5 km, the Shvetsov radials were only slightly better, but we still talk about single stage engines. The low armament fuel weight weren't making a lot of burden to the small wing. Unless we talk about unlowed Yak-9D/DD, the under-powered flying gas tanks.
    About Germans going for jack of all trades - they have had good competitive engines, that were good match for airframes available.
     
  20. bobbysocks

    bobbysocks Well-Known Member

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    just had to poke that cat again didnt you....lol
     
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