I have a basic question that I cannot seem to find a solid answer for:

How does a gust affect a swept wing?

  • $\begingroup$ with the cosine of the sweep angle. A 60° sweep will halve the loads from gusts. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2019 at 2:09
  • $\begingroup$ What kind of effect are you asking about? It is easy to assume structural, but we can't read your mind. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2019 at 9:31

1 Answer 1


Sorry our experts did not weigh in on this one in more detail.

Sweeping the wing increases the "dihedral effect" of tending to create a greater roll force when struck with a side gust, as the windward wing is angled towards the gust, and the leeward away. This is exactly the same effect as what happens in a side slip.

Swept wings also improve yaw stability. Of course, a very sharply swept wing presents a shorter torque arm to a rolling gust than a less swept wing of equal length but greater span.

The "dihedral effect" of swept wings can be aerodynamicly countered with side area under the CG, particularly fuselage side area or landing gear spats. Ventral fins offer another alternative.

A gust from the direction of flight will affect a swept wing similarly to a straight wing, producing a momentary increase in lift.

The venerable Tiger Moth biplane has slightly swept wings.

  • $\begingroup$ Definitely some good points here; original question was overly broad. $\endgroup$ Oct 21, 2019 at 20:03

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