Application of Very Thick BLC Airfoils to a Flying Wing Type Transport Aircraft 901992

This paper discusses the possible application of extremely thick airfoils with powered boundary layer control (BLC) to “flying wing” transport aircraft. The results of a brief conceptual design study of such an aircraft are summarized, and the bases for key performance estimates are discussed. The intention at the outset of this study was to explore in a tentative way whether expected severe aerodynamic penalties of the very thick airfoils and the BLC system (in terms of drag, power and critical Mach Number) might be offset by expected advantages (structural weight, payload volume and arrangement in addition to the usual advantages of the “flying wing” configuration). To the author's surprise, the expected penalties were found to be largely nonexistent, whereas the expected advantages appear to be very real and very significant. In view of the rather cursory nature of the study reported on, these results can hardly be considered to be conclusive. However, they would certainly justify a much more serious study than the present author is able to undertake.


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