Questions tagged [aircraft-design]

Questions about the different choices that aircraft designers (typically aerospace engineers) make in order to create an aircraft.

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33
votes
3answers
5k views

What happens when an airplane gets struck by lightning?

I know that they certify airplanes for lightning strikes (at least some of them anyway), but does it cause any damage to the airplane or to the electronics? Are there any required inspections if an ...
21
votes
3answers
17k views

What dictates the aspect ratio of an aircraft's wing?

When designing an aircraft, there has to be a decision as to the aspect ratio of a wing. It's been said that having a higher aspect wing will reduce drag for the same wing area, however most of the ...
41
votes
9answers
80k views

What are the pros and cons of high-wing compared to low-wing design?

What are the advantages and disadvantages of a high-wing vs. low-wing aircraft design? When might one prefer one to the other? Is the answer the same for large and small aircraft?
30
votes
4answers
48k views

What materials are plane windows made of?

I've always wondered, what are those dual-layered (bonus: sometimes they have a little <2mm hole, why is it there?) windows commercial jets put next to their seats made of?
21
votes
5answers
5k views

Why the pitot tube is heated but the static port isn't?

In some light aircraft, like a Cessna 172, the pitot tube is heated but the exterior static port isn't. The usual reason I've heard is that static ports are much less susceptible to icing, but why is ...
9
votes
4answers
5k views

How to go about designing a custom airfoil?

I am familiar with the NACA 4-digit and 5-digit airfoil design system where airfoils, but I was wondering if anyone had some good reference material or software for designing a completely custom ...
27
votes
3answers
3k views

Is it safe to roll an airplane that isn't approved for it?

I have heard of pilots rolling airplanes that aren't approved for it (Cessna 172, Learjets, etc.), and other than the obvious legal issues, are there any mechanical or safety reasons to avoid it? ...
2
votes
2answers
676 views

Quadcopter Design [closed]

What would be the most optimal shape for a quadcopter design? I have tried the cross beam design, but the center joint, though epoxied, is extremely prone to shearing off on impact.
26
votes
5answers
9k views

How does an aircraft tailplane work?

How does an aircraft tailplane keep the aircraft stable, and prevent it from tipping over? Also, how does the lift generated by a tailplane compare to that generated by the wing?
13
votes
3answers
1k views

How common are conformal fuel tanks?

I know that the F-16 (F-16I and Block 50/52/60 models) have conformal fuel tanks standard now on top of the wing/fuselage area. The Silent Eagle model of the F-15E proposed by Boeing for South Korea, ...
11
votes
2answers
1k views

Why should isobars be aligned with the leading edge of the main wing for a transonic cruiser?

When designing an airplane meant to cruise at transonic speeds (or supersonic speeds), I heard that one should look at the isobars on the main wing in order to assess if the shape, sweep angle and ...
18
votes
1answer
2k views

Why the different wing and tail designs in similar sized jets vs turbo prop?

I was flying on Porter Airlines and they had an info card about how similar the Bombardier (I still say DeHavilland) Dash 8 Q400s are to the Bombardier CSeries they have ordered. There was a cool ...
18
votes
6answers
2k views

What are the factors that limit how long an aircraft can stay aloft?

The most obvious one is fuel. Many modern military aircraft, however, are capable of refueling in mid-air. Crew fatigue, another obvious one, can also be addressed by rotating a crew out, and is a non-...

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