MadSci Network: Physics

Re: Lift Distribution along Wing versus Altitude

Date: Mon Jul 24 19:15:41 2006
Posted By: Madhu Siddalingaiah, Physicist, author, consultant
Area of science: Physics
ID: 1153663382.Ph

Hi Nikos,

That's a good question. There is a simple relationship between airfoil lift
and air density, which is related to altitude:

L = CL ρ V2 A / 2

Where CL is the coefficient of lift, ρ is the air
density, V is the airspeed, and A is the area of the airfoil. CL
is a dimensionless number that is measured for a given airfoil shape and
angle of attack. ρ is a function of altitude, which is explained in
detail here.
Basically, lift decreases as altitude increases. For this reason, high
altitude aircraft must fly faster or use larger wings to generate the same
lift as those at lower altitudes.

The best discussion of lift distribution I have found is here.

Madhu - blog

Current Queue | Current Queue for Physics | Physics archives

Try the links in the MadSci Library for more information on Physics.

MadSci Home | Information | Search | Random Knowledge Generator | MadSci Archives | Mad Library | MAD Labs | MAD FAQs | Ask a ? | Join Us! | Help Support MadSci

MadSci Network,
© 1995-2006. All rights reserved.