As an aircraft soars through the sky during standard flight operations, it must push through air and take advantage of its flow to achieve and maintain lift. As air is a fluid with flow that is disrupted by the moving airframe, interference and a change in direction can result in aerodynamic drag. Drag is a force that opposes the movement of an aircraft, resulting in efficiency losses and increased fuel burning to maintain set speeds. In order to achieve the most optimal operations, engineers have modified numerous aircraft sections to improve their design for more streamlined air flow.
Many aircraft structures are placed in the flow of air during flight, and engineers have undertaken numerous initiatives to increase their aerodynamic qualities. Landing gear is a major area of concern, and manufacturers have achieved aircraft fairing and streamlining that ensures low performance loss. While retractable gear can remove the structure from the flow of air, the added weight of such options often make them only minimally better than one with a streamlined fairing assembly.
Wing roots are another common area of concern, regularly facing interference drag. To reduce such issues, an aircraft fairing may be implemented in order to separate and guide the flow of air. Generally, the fairing is placed at the section of the wing attached to the fuselage, though they may also be installed at the area where the vertical fin or horizontal stabilizer enters the tail section of the aircraft.
Other areas of the wing that commonly face drag include the various gaps present between ailerons and flaps. While many flaps and ailerons can be sealed for decreasing drag, fowler flaps in particular should never be sealed off as the disruption of their standard air flow can result in increased stall speeds. Additionally, other various flaps may also be sealed for the means of improving aerodynamics.
For the cooling of operating engines, cowling and inlets regularly serve to direct atmospheric air around the engine assembly. If inlets are too large, a great amount of pressure can build up in the cowling. As air expands further inside the cowling due to taking on heat, the cowling outlet must be larger than the inlet. It is important that the sizing of the inlet and outlet are established correctly to create a low pressure differential for the means of reducing drag and increasing the flow of air through the assembly.
While landing gear, wing structures, and cowling all may cause heavy amounts of drag when not streamlined, there are other various items that must be considered as well. For radio communication to be established during flight, radio antennas are commonly placed in various areas of the fuselage exterior. When a radio antenna requires exterior installation, it can be extremely useful to take advantage of streamlined types or thin metal rod types. While options such as the thin metal rod can decrease drag, it is important to know that they exhibit a lower standing wave ratio (SWR) than thicker variations.
Aircraft with tail draggers often face increased drag, similar to having extended landing gear present in the flow of air. To reduce these effects, such aircraft can take advantage of smaller tail wheels and/or streamlining. Whenever one considers reducing the size of their tail wheels, however, it is crucial that they first consult an expert on how the change will affect their ability to safely land. As smaller wheels can decrease control over landing operations, changes should be made within limitation for the means of preventing hazardous conditions.
Through the use of aircraft fairing and streamlining, aerodynamic drag may be reduced for the means of achieving more efficient flight operations. ASAP Axis is a leading distributor of aircraft tools and parts required for aircraft maintenance, and we are your sourcing solution for adapter fuselage parts, stringer fuselage fairing components, fairing assy products, and much more. Take the time to explore our vast offerings at your leisure, and our team of industry experts is always ready to help you through the purchasing process however necessary. Committed to quality, we proudly operate with AS9120B, ISO 9001:2015, and FAA AC 00-56B certification and accreditation. Get started today and experience how ASAP Axis is revolutionizing the part procurement process for the benefit of our customers.
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