An improved high-lift aerodynamic prediction method for transport aircraft

  • Pierluigi Della Vecchia
  • Fabrizio Nicolosi
  • Manuela Ruocco
  • Luca Stingo
  • Agostino De Marco
Original Paper


The aim of this work is the development of a methodology to predict lift characteristics for transport aircraft in the whole flight envelope, useful in the preliminary aircraft design stage. The purpose is an attempt to improve the classical methodologies for wing load distribution and lift prediction, applicable to both clean and flapped configuration. This has been obtained considering the airfoils’ aerodynamic characteristics until stall and post-stall conditions during the process, and modifying 2D characteristics in the case of high-lift devices to take into account 3D effects introduced by the devices themselves. The method is a modification of standard vortex-lattice procedures which are capable of predicting wing aerodynamic characteristics. As regards the clean configuration, the enhanced method works by integrating airfoil characteristics, whereas as far as the high-lift devices’ effect is concerned, the improved method works by substituting clean airfoil aerodynamic characteristics for the flapped aerodynamics ones, and introducing a correction to evaluate the 3D effects induced by the high-lift devices’ geometrical discontinuities. The methodology is explained separately for these two configurations. The results of the developed method have been compared with CFD and experimental data showing good agreement, making available a fast and reliable method useful in preliminary aircraft design phase.


Aircraft design High-lift aerodynamics Transport aircraft Span lift coefficient distribution Extended lifting-line theory 

List of symbols






Aircraft third-Generation MDO for Innovative Collaboration of Heterogeneous Teams of Experts


Wing aspect ratio


Wing span


Computational fluid dynamics


Two-dimensional lift coefficient


Two-dimensional lift coefficient in clean configuration


Two-dimensional lift coefficient in high-lift configuration (high-lift devices deployed)


Two-dimensional maximum lift coefficient


Three-dimensional lift coefficient


Three-dimensional maximum lift coefficient


Wing root chord


Wing tip chord


Design of aircraft and flight technologies research group


Downwash influence function




High-lift prediction workshop


Java program tool chain for aircraft design


Mach number


One-half of total number vortex points


Multidisciplinary design optimization


Wing area


Free-stream velocity


Wing sections leading-edge coordinates along x-axis


Wing station along span (y-axis)


Geometric angle of attack

\(\alpha _{0l}\)

Angle of attack which produces a 2D zero-lift condition

\(\alpha _\mathrm{e}\)

Effective angle of attack

\(\alpha _\mathrm{s}\)

Angle of attack at stall condition


Wing angle of attack


Zone between no-flap and deflected flap wing section


Non-dimensional spanwise coordinate


Circulation strength

\(\varLambda _{\mathrm{LE}}\)

Wing sweep angle at leading edge


Number of designating vortices’ control points



The research presented in this paper has been performed in the framework of the AGILE project (Aircraft 3rd Generation MDO for Innovative Collaboration of Heterogeneous Teams of Experts) and has received funding from the European Union Horizon 2020 Program (H2020-MG-2014-2015) under Grant Agreement No. 636202. The authors are grateful to the partners of the AGILE consortium for their contribution and feedback.


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Copyright information

© Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt e.V. 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Industrial Engineering (DII)University of Naples Federico IINaplesItaly

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