See Wikipedia:Drag polar and Wikipedia:Polar curve (aviation) for example.

These curves are not on a polar coordinate system. Why are they called polars?


It is an historical name.

The first polars were drawn by Otto Lilienthal in polar coordinates.

Here (sorry, German link) we find an example:

enter image description here

  • $\begingroup$ Just a follow-up out of curiousity... Do you know what the first "incorrect" borrowing of the term was? Ie. When was first time that a curve drawn on a non-polar coordinate system called a "polar"? $\endgroup$
    – user2168
    May 1 '14 at 16:07
  • $\begingroup$ @user2168 no, I have no idea. I am sorry. $\endgroup$
    – Federico
    May 1 '14 at 16:26

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