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Posts Tagged ‘aerodynamic’

Close coupled vs long arm canard

Posted by picard578 on August 23, 2014

Canards overview and general effects

Canard is a small control surface placed in front of the main wing, similar to how tail is behind it. There are two main variations – long arm and close coupled canard.

Canard has a major advantage over the horizontal tail in the level flight. As aircraft passes through the transonic region, aircraft experiences an increased nose-down trim change. Control surface has to counter it; and while horizontal tail provides download, causing a large trim-drag penalty, canard can help provide upload, reducing need for elevon/tail trim and thus reducing level-flight drag. Further, canard also allows for an aerodynamically clean end of the aircraft with superior area distribution when compared to the tailed configuration, reducing supersonic drag.

Canard provides lift when aicraft is turning Read the rest of this entry »

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Aerodynamic families of jet figters

Posted by picard578 on May 4, 2013

This is division of aircraft I did by their aerodynamic characteristics, primarly interaction of wing and body:

Me-262 family


Gloster Meteor

Aircraft with two large engines mounted on swept wing. Other than that, aerodynamics are mostly similar to preceding piston-engine fighters.

P-80 family


Orange Blossom Kikka

Engines sunk into the body, with small air intakes.

F-86 family





Aircraft with tubular body and large, lightly loaded wing. Dependant solely on wing for lift during both level flight and maneuvers. Excellent air superiority aircraft primarly due to low wing loading, but angle-of-attack limited due to the intake on the nose.

F-101 family





Aircraft with tubular body that produces almost no lift during maneuvers, and small, highly-loaded wing that is aerodynamically almost completely separate from body. End result is that aircraft turning performance is entirely dependant on lift from wing. Performance-wise, aircraft in this group are bombers and bomber interceptors, not air superiority aircraft, and are as result inferior to all families of aircraft other than F-4 in air-to-air combat.

MiG-23 family


Similar to F-101 family, but with square body. Performance is very similar. F-111 would also have been in this group had USAF been stupid enough to keep it as air superiority aircraft.

F-4 family



Swept-back wing mounted low on prominent body. Low degree of wing-body blending. Very bad air superiority aircraft, but good bomber interceptors.

F-15 family



Aircraft with high-position wing and large amount of both body and wing lift when in level flight, but less so during maneuvers. Air intakes are not shielded, which may create problems at high angles of attack. Good dogfighters, interceptors and strike aircraft.

Su-27 family







In essence, a mix of F-15 and F-16 families. There is a degree of wing-body blending, and intakes are under the body, helping thrust at high angles of attack. Good dogfighters, interceptors and strike aircraft.

Mirage family

Mirage III

Mirage IV

Mirage 5

Mirage 2000




An obvious feature is low-position delta wing with very low degree at best of wing-body blending. Turn performance mostly dependant on wing lift, though well-designed body and high-lift devices can change that to an extent. Primarly supersonic interceptors, though they are also good dogfighters.

F-16 family



Saab Gripen

Dassault Rafale

Primary feature is large degree of wing-body blending, as well as high-lift devices which help both wing lift and body lift during turn – in form of LEX and/or close-coupled canards. Body lift is high both during turn and in level flight. Result is that aircraft in this group are both good strike aircraft and excellent dogfighters.


F-35 – a mix of F-101 family, F-15 family and F-16 family. Wing is small and highly loaded, and while body does produce some lift, amount produced during maneuvers is lot less than in F-16 family. Amount of wing-body interaction is also smaller. Wing itself is in a similar position to F-15 family. End performance is most similar to F-101 family. Good strike aircraft, but almost useless in air superiority role.

End note

Aerodynamically, F-16 family is best, followed by Su-27 family (very closely), Mirage family, F-15 family, P-80 family, F-86 family, Me-262 family, MiG-23 family and F-101 family (in that order).

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