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Hosting of the this spreadsheet on a website is only authorized with the permission of the author/designer. Email:
Data out is only as accurate as data in. This is not a thousand dollar program that takes into effectall of the complexities of flight in
determining the results. The use of these predictive values work well enough to build and fly a better model airplane. It has proven to
be quite accurate and is better than guessing. However, further flight testing and trimming is required. Before you change a
manufacturers recommendation please consult someone who has flown the model. Please don't hesitate to email for questions,
concerns or suggestions. The author is not responsible for the loss of your model.
General Information
- All that's required is a weight scale and ruler.
- The only measurements required are in "Inches" and "Ounces".
- Fill in ALL the yellow rectangles.
- If you see a Red triangle in the upper right of a rectangle, hover your mouse over it to read the instruction.
What does it do?
This spreadsheet will calculate wing and tiplet areas, aspect ratios, taper ratios and required twist for flying wings. It'll calculate the
percent Mean Aerodynamic Chord and Neutral Point to help determine a center of balance location for a first test flight.
The information does not take into effect, spanwise flows, etc. However, this is a very good starting point for a new model or
verifying manufacturer's supplied information.
I originally started programming this spreadsheet because I crashed a new model on its first flight. The cause of the crash was that
the manufacturer had calculated the balance point incorrectly, over 2" aft! They since submitted a change to the plans. This
spreadsheet will allow simple measurements with a ruler that will perform complicated formulas to determine where the neutral point is
and thus where the center of balance should be for an initial test flight.
Wing Tab
With the sole use of this tab you can determine Wing Area, Wingspan, Wing Loading, Sweepback Angle, Aspect Ratio, Taper Ratio
and Mean Aerodynamic Chord.
Balance Point Tab
To determine a balance point (CG) for a first flight, a static margin of 5-10 percent is generally accepted as a good starting point for
a safe test flight. Flight testing can then narrow the actual balance location by removing noseweight. I personally prefer the dive test
method for refining the balance location.
Panknin Wing Twist Tab
Method formulated by Dr. Walter Panknin for determining wing twist, or washout, for required stability of tailless aircraft.
Changing Reynold's number, airfoils, taper ratio, aspect ratio, sweepback, design lift coefficeint and static margin gives the designer
wide latitude so far as final design.
The idea is to have the elevons in trail with the wing i.e. zero elevon deflection at designed cruise airspeed
How to Find Airfoil Data
This is a tutorial on how to determine the zero lift angle and pitching moment of an airfoil from wind tunnel polar data by either graphs
or tables.
Results Tab
Single page printing of results from all of the above tabs
Glossary Tab
Credits Tab
Please read the credits tab.

Current Version July 2009. Pass Solo all letters.
Model Weight (ounces)
1/4 Chord
Sweepback Angle
Root Chord 1/4 Chord
9 Sweepback Angle
28 degrees 1/4 Chord
Sweepback Angle
Tip Chord 0 degrees
1st Panel Span 9
4.5 Tip Chord
4.57 Tip Chord
2nd Panel Span 0
3rd Panel Span
Span Chord Span Chord Span Chord
0 0 5 9 24 -2
0 9 24 -2 24 -2
Total Span 48.00 in. 4.5 9 24 -7 24 -2
Total Area 345.62 in
4.5 0 5 0 24 -7
Wing Loading 8.33 oz/ft
0 0
Effective Wing Loading 10.83 oz/ft
Mean Chord (area/span) 7.20 in. AC 0 3.21
Mean Aerodynamic Chord (length) 7.49 in.
Wing Aspect Ratio 6.67 MAC distance 10.63 5.08 MAC Length
Wing Taper Ratio 0.60 MAC distance 10.63 -2.40 MAC Length
Location of 0% point 3.99 in.
Location of 25% point 5.79 in. Red Dashed Line
MAC distance from root 10.63 in. 0.00 10.63
Average .25 chord sweep angle 14.00 degrees 3.21 3.21
Note: Red Triangle is Aerodynamic Center (AC) of the Wing
Blue line is MAC location and length
Where Blue MAC line and Red dashed line intersect is the Aerodynamic Center of the Wing
Total Wing Results
0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Does your wing look like this?
Span Chord Span Chord Span Chord
0 0 5 9 24 -2
0 9 24 -2 24 -2
4.5 9 24 -7 24 -2
4.5 0 5 0 24 -7
0 0
0 3.21
0 3.21 0.00 10.63
3.21 3.21
10.63 5.08
10.63 -2.40
Note: Blue Dash is the balance location with the static margin specified in Row 38
Red Triangle is Aircraft's Neutral Point at the Wings Root
Blue Line is the MAC location and length
Where Blue MAC line and Red dashed line intersect is the Neutral Point of the Wing
Warning!: For the first flight of a model the red Triangle, (neutral point of the plane) should NEVER be forward of the blue Line, (CG).
Margin (%)
Neutral Point (%MAC) 0.0 5.79 25.0
Enter Static Margin 0.0 5.79 25.0
Enter actual CG from L.E. 7.00 inches -16.8 %
Enter % MAC 21.0 % 4.0 %
Static Margin Converter
Static Margin
0 5 10 15 20 25 30

Does your wing look like this?
What Affects Geometric Twist?
The Reynolds number.
The wings sweepback, aspect and taper ratios.
The airfoils zero lift angle and pitching moments and the design lift coeffecient
The Static Margin i.e. Balance Point
Speed 35 mph Design Parameter Tables
Result 196568
Root Zero Lift Angle -3.650 Static Margin 8.0 CL 0.14
Root Cmo -0.097 CL Twist (degrees) SM (%)Twist (degrees) CG
Tip Zero Lift Angle 1.730 0.1 #DIV/0! 0.5 #DIV/0! 5.75
Tip Cmo 0.025 0.2 #DIV/0! 1.0 #DIV/0! 5.72
CL Manually Calculated 0.00 0.3 #DIV/0! 1.5 #DIV/0! 5.68
CL Automatic Value 0.166 0.4 #DIV/0! 2.0 #DIV/0! 5.64
Static Margin 8.00 % 0.5 #DIV/0! 2.5 #DIV/0! 5.61
Aerodynamic Twist -20.06 degrees 0.6 #DIV/0! 3.0 #DIV/0! 5.57
0.7 #DIV/0! 3.5 #DIV/0! 5.54
0.8 #DIV/0! 4.0 #DIV/0! 5.50
0.9 #DIV/0! 4.5 #DIV/0! 5.46
Geometric Twist -14.68 degrees 1.0 #DIV/0! 5.0 #DIV/0! 5.43
Geometric Twist 1.20 inches
Estimated Speed 35 mph Cl = 0.166
CL = 0.136 Speed = 38 mph
Speed Calculator
Table 2
Reynolds Number
Airfoil Data Required Twist vs SM Required Twist vs Cl
Table 1
Note: Enter the number "zero"
to have Cl automatically
Graph Method
* I've copied data from the SD7037 airfoil below:
* The polars we're interested in are Cl/Alpha and Cm/Alpha
Direct Reading Method
How to find airfoils zero lift angles (ZLA) and moment of coefficient (Cmo)
* The values for ZLA and Cmo must be obtained from published wind tunnel airfoil data (polars) with such
programs as Xfoil, XFLR5, and Java Foil among many others. See the Links Tab
* To obtain the necessary polar data I'll use XFLR5 as an example as I'm familiar with it's use
* To find the Zero Lift Angle refer to the Cl/Alpha graph. The Vertical y-axis is the lift coeffiecient (Cl) and the
horizontal x-axis is the alpha or angle attack (AoA). We're interested in where the green line crosses the Alpha at
a Cl of zero, in this case it's -2.5 which is our ZLA. This means that this airfoil will not produce any lift with its
leading edge pointed down -2.5 degrees.
* To find the moment of coefficient enter the Cm/Alpha graph with the ZLA found in the step above, move down to
the green line then to the right to find the Cm which in this case is -.07
* Shown below is the operating points view. Specify Cl and enter zero for Start and End and select Viscous then
click Analyze. After the airfoil is analyzed viscously, uncheck the Viscous box and then click analyze again and
the data will be automatically calculated in the lower center of the screen. If the CL = 0 then read the Alpha and
Cmo. This data matches exactly what I find with published airfoil data.
* Viscous or Non-viscous (inviscid)
-- It's important to note that I have no practical experience with polars or designing my own tailless swept wings.
To obtain polar information for an airfoil a Reynolds number must be specified which is Viscous data. However,
after comparing data with other modelers published work, Non-viscous or Inviscid data matches exactly with their
published ZLA and Cmo data. Reynolds numbers aren't applicable with Inviscid airfoil data. This is why you see
different values from Viscous in the Polar/Graph Method versus the Direct Reading Method that used Inviscid.
Cl = 0
Alpha = -
Decimal Metric
Total Span 48.00 in. 1219
Total Area 346
Wing Loading 8.33
Effective Wing Loading 10.83
Mean Chord (area/span) 7.20 in. 183
Mean Aerodynamic Chord (length) 7.49 in. 190
Wing Aspect Ratio 6.67 6.67
Wing Taper Ratio 0.60 0.60
Location of 25% AC 5.79 inches aft of root leading edge 147
Wing Sweepback at .25 Chord Point 14.00 degrees 14.00
Balance Point
Location of Neutral Point 5.79 inches aft of root leading edge 147
Note: Balance model forward of this location
Static Margin Specified 0.00 % 0.00
Balance point with above Static Margin 5.79 inches aft of root leading edge 147
Percent of MAC with above balance location 25.00 % 25.00
Required Wing Twist
Twist Required -14.68 degrees -14.68
Twist Required 1.20 inches measured in profile view 30
Reynolds Number 196568 196568
Designed Cl 0.17 0.17
millimeters aft of root leading edge
millimeters aft of root leading edge
millimeters aft of root leading edge
millimeters measured in profile view
mm aft of root leading edge
mm aft of root leading edge
Aerodynamic Center (AC)
The place on the glider where all aerodynamic forces may be assumed to act as a single force, i.e 25%
Aerodynamic Twist The angle between the zero-lift angle of an airfoil and the zero-lift angle of the root airfoil." In essence,
this means that the airfoil of the wing would actually change shape as it moved farther away from the
Airfoil Moment Coefficients (Cmo)
A number that gives you a relative measure of how much nose-over torque the airfoil is generating. It is
typically measured about the 25% of the chord. A negative sign implies that the airfoil wants to naturally
rotate nose-down.
Airfoil Zero Lift Angles (ZLA)
The angle of attack of the airfoil that produces zero lift. The zero lift angles of the root and tip airfoils
influence the geometric wing twist required.
Angle of Attack (AoA)
Angle between the chordline of an airfoil and the oncoming wind. It's the difference between where you
are pointed and where you are going. Not referenced to horizon, but direction of travel.
The total surface area of a wing, tail or fin
Aspect Ratio (AR)
The ratio of the wings span to the wings average chord. The greater the aspect ratio, the less twist is
required. However, as aspect ratio increases, and the wing chord gets proportionally smaller, it becomes
more difficult to build a strong stiff wing.
Center of Gravity (CG)
For modeling purposes, this is the point at which the glider balances fore and aft
A line connecting the leading edge to the trailing edge of a surface
Coefficient of Lift (Cl)
Is a number associated with a particular shape of an airfoil, and is incorporated in the lift equation to
predict the lift force generated by a wing using this particular cross section. The greater the design
coefficient of lift, the more wing twist will be required. The design coefficient of lift should be the
coefficient of lift at cruise speed so that trim drag is minimized. Some amount of up trim is expected to
be necessary for thermalling.
Drag Coefficient (Cd)
A unitless number for estimating the effective force produced by drag on an object.
Geometric Twist
An actual change in the airfoil angle of incidence, usually measured with respect to the root airfoil.
Lift Coefficient (Cl) A number that tells you a relative measure of how much lift an airfoil is producing at a given angle of
attack. It grows linearly by about 0.10 per degree of angle of attack until stall; typically around 15
Mean Aerodynamic Chord (MAC)
The average chord length of the wing
Neutral Point (NP)
This is the aerodynamic center of the whole aircraft. It's the position through which all net lift acts
Reynolds' Number (Re)
The most important parameter in aerodynamics. This number has no dimensions, but it encompasses
almost everything about a certain flight condition; among these parameters are chordlength, flight
velocity and air density. Low-Reynolds Numbers, 200,000 or less, refer to smaller chordlengths or slower
flight speeds such as those found on R/C Models.
The distance from wingtip to wingtip
Static Margin (SM)
The distance between the aerodynamic center and the center of gravity as measured in percent of the
mean aerodynamic chord. A measure of the amount of static stability possessed by a glider. Increased
static stability (CG further ahead of the neutral point) dictates increased wing twist.
Sweep Back Angle
The angle in degrees the leading edge is swept aft from root to tip. The greater the sweep back angle,
the less twist will be required. However, angles of sweep in excess of 20-degrees adversely affect air
flow over the wing and may lead to control problems
Taper Ratio
The ratio the wings chord tapers from root to tip. The greater the taper ratio, the more twist will be
required. This is due to the loss of airfoil efficiency as the wing tip chord gets smaller.
Wing Loading
This is the amount of gross weight that each square foot of wing must support in flight to provide lift,
expressed as "ounces per square foot"
Leading Edge of Wing twists nose down when going from wings root to tip
Leading Edge of Wing twists nose up when going from wings root to tip
Herk Stokely
I've never met Herk in person but he helped me understand terms such as the Mean Aerodynamic Chord, Static
Margin etc. Thanks so much to Herk for all his excellent knowledge and patience with my numerous questions.
Martin Simons
Martin's book "Model Aircraft Aerodynamics" is a must read for any model airplane designer or wanting to
understand more about aerodynamics.
There are to many others to name that have answered my questions throughout the years. Many have come
from the internet newsgroups. I highly recommend reading these groups and other periodicals as there is a
wealth of information on the design and flying of R/C sailplanes.
I started this spreadsheet in the early 1990's as I got interested in sailplanes, I was previously a "wet" flyer. As I
trained for my full size fixed wing pilots certificate I found that I enjoyed the learning of the aerodynamics involved
in what makes airplanes fly. Reading Martin's book I thought it'd be nice to input this data for quick comparison
between models. It's grown into what you see today. All I have done is take others knowledge and placed their
formulas into a spreadsheet.
I encourage constructive comments to improve this work. Please email suterc@msn.com
Curtis Suter, Designer.
XFLR5 Airfoil and Wing Analysis Tool
SoarTech Aero Publications
UIUC Applied Aerodynamics Group