I recently got the polar curve of an aircraft with the method of Anderson. But this method is too old.

Does someone know a recent method for the polar curve without using CFD?

  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Did you try Makino-san's method? If you want more precision, you need to invest a lot more work, and the best methods are not necessarily the newest ones. $\endgroup$ Apr 7, 2015 at 20:32
  • 4
    $\begingroup$ What do you mean, "too old?" Last I checked, algorithms aren't exactly perishable. $\endgroup$
    – cpast
    Apr 7, 2015 at 22:32
  • $\begingroup$ Really? How about Newton? $\endgroup$
    – rbp
    Apr 9, 2015 at 22:46

1 Answer 1


Here are some other methods (excluding CFD and computational ones) for building up a polar curve:

  • Wind tunnel testing, one of the earliest methods, still one of the most applied and explored one.
  • Flight testing ("dynamically scaled" model or a 1:1 real prototype)
  • Empirical methods (e.g. Hoerner's books on "Lift" and "Drag")
  • Reverse calculations; i.e. if the performance charts AND the engine deck (force model) is published or known, then the flight performance chapter of the aircraft operations manual could be used, at least to a certain confidence level, to guess about the polar curve for different configurations and conditions.
  • If you know a few speeds of best endurance/best range glide, you could get an idea of the CL/CD at those speeds, and if you know the mass of the aircraft, the polar curve can be plotted.
  • Asking the manufacturer certainly could help (if not a model of commercial competition)

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