A need exists for some quantitative measure of an aircraft's support or flotation requirements on the ground. Through use of established relations between airfield or landing strip strength and aircraft ground loading characteristics, aircraft ground flotation requirements have been developed which permit assessment of the flotation characteristics of any aircraft or proposed aircraft design. Comparisons between aircraft or setting of minimum flotation requirements for proposed aircraft are made possible by use of these developments.
This paper presents limited background on ground-flotation criteria development and some of the concepts on which current criteria are based. It gives an insight into various problem areas in development of the criteria and explains the extent or limits of applicability of flotation criteria presently in use.
Emphasis is given to the particular aircraft characteristics that contribute good or high flotation and discussion is presented of factors, not treated by current criteria, which recent research indicates may have a significant effect on flotation.