Wing tip tanks

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by wuzak, Apr 22, 2013.

  1. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Would wing tip tanks be a useful addition to fighter aircraft to extend their range?

    Or would they impose the same performance limitations as drop tanks, without the benfit of being dropable?
     
  2. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    In a perfect world (which doesn't exist) all fuel would be in fuselage located over center of gravity. That way fuel weight won't adversely effect roll.

    Putting additional weight on wing tips would probably be worse for performance then centerline mounted drop tanks. Not to mention considerable strengthening of wings to support weight so far from wing root, which would also be bad for performance.
     
  3. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Hang anything off the structure of an aircraft and it will degrade performance. Aircraft that were designed to carry tip tanks had some G loading limitations (T-33 comes to mind for me) but in some cases the tanks provide directional stability, this was true for the F-86.
     
  4. michaelmaltby

    michaelmaltby Well-Known Member

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    On some AC, do tip tanks not help stabilize the wing tip and smooth vortices ....?
     
  5. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    To a certain degree, but as Flyboyj said, g-loading limitations are a major.
    Also, I think you would find that it would degrade roll-rate, with having greater mass further away from the roll axis.
     
  6. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Weight in the wings helps counterbalance the bending in the wing due to lift.

    I can see that wing tip tanks will restrict roll rate, particularly when they have fuel in them.
     
  7. Jenisch

    Jenisch Active Member

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    Not in WWII AFAIK, but there were fighters that had them.
     
  8. CobberKane

    CobberKane Banned

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    The Grumman F9F Panther , the USN's first jet fighter, was equipped with wingtip tanks. counter intuitively, these were found to improve roll rate. No idea why.
     
  9. tomo pauk

    tomo pauk Creator of Interesting Threads

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    In ww2 fighters, the wing racks were found to reduce speed at very measurable rate, eg. P-51A was loosing 12 mph of max speed with 2 (fairly small) racks installed. The wing racks for the P-47 were also not very liked by pilots, their even bigger size contributing to drag even more.
    The wingtip tanks can be installed with negligible drag added, but I guess that really big tanks would still be needed to be hung closer to the CoG, for structural reasons.
     
  10. GrauGeist

    GrauGeist Well-Known Member

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    The U.S. Navy's F2 Banshee also had tip tanks...

    I always wondered if a "blister" tank on the fuselage sides would have been better than an outright tank slung under the fuselage, though I don't know if it was ever tried.
     
  11. GregP

    GregP Well-Known Member

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    The F-15 has conformal tanks along the side of the fuselage that apparently result in less of a performance drop than regular tanks. I believe a version was also developed for the F-16. I might be wrong, but I thought the F-16's we sold to Poland had them.
     
  12. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    It's my understanding Me-110D had one big conformal tank under fuselage. Wartime Germany didn't have time to work technical glitches out so it wasn't popular. Sometimes it didn't release properly which could be fatal for the aircraft.
     
  13. Milosh

    Milosh Well-Known Member

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    Spitfires had 3 sizes of tanks that could be attached to the underside of the fuselage.
     
  14. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    D.H. Venoms used wingtip tanks

    raf-de-havilland-venom.jpg
     
  15. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Me-110 Conformal Fuel Tank.jpg
    IMO that looks like a decent job blending fuel tank into bottom of fuselage and it's positioned not to upset aircraft balance. Something similiar might have worked for long range escorts such as P-51D or perhaps a long range Spitfire.
     
  16. gumbyk

    gumbyk Well-Known Member

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    Not likely with the P-51 - you'd disrupt the airflow into the radiator intake

    They had something similar (Slipper tank) for the Spitfire, although it wasn't as conformal:
    Spitfire_MkV_slipper_tank_web.jpg
     
  17. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    True - but one of the first things a stress analyst will look at is a high G landing with full fuel.. lift at minimum, max down load.
     
  18. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    Would wing tip tanks on a Lancaster enabled them to upgrade to Griffons and maintain the range of the Merlin Lancaster?
     
  19. wuzak

    wuzak Well-Known Member

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    #19 wuzak, Apr 23, 2013
    Last edited: Apr 23, 2013
    Understood.

    I guess then it is a case of whether the AF is prepared to have aircraft damaged in such scenarios, and some sort of risk analysis done.
     
  20. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    That looks pretty good. Could it be dropped?
     
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