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Aerodynamic Shape of the Wing Tips

Report Number: AF TR 5752
Author: Hoerner, Sighard
Laboratory: Aircraft Laboratory
Pages: 18
AD Number: ADA800374

The author studied the aerodynamic characteristics of wing tips, and he did, and had German research institutions do, experimental investigations concerning the mechanism of the tip vortices and the lift/drag ratio of a wing fitted with several differently shaped tip caps. There are two ways in which the wing tips affect flow and forces on a wing: (a) Considering the tip vortices the effective span of a wing does not coincide with the geometrical span; that is, the geometrical location of the tip vortices depends upon the shape of the wing tips. (b) Some parasite drag originates from the wing tips, its amount also depending upon the shape of the tip caps. The main results of the tests as mentioned, are presented in this report, and in the optimum wing-tip shape (No. 5) is described in Figure 9. This tip cap has a sharp side edge, its plane form shows a corner at the trailing edge and its upper surface extends approximately straight to the end. Employing this kind of wing tip the climbing speed is increased in the order of 1 ft/sec and the range by 1 or 2%, in comparison to disadvantageous wing tips.

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