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Aircraft Performance Considerations - Lesson Summary

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Module two
Aircraft Load Factors
Load factor is defined as the ratio of net force acting in a direction and aircraft weight N = F/W where f= Net force in a direction.
Factors that govern the upper limit of the load factor:
(a) Structural strength of the aircraft –
(i) High load factor means designing the aircraft structure to bear higher loads.
(ii) Safety and comfort of passengers and pilot.
(b) The point in the v-n diagram that corresponds to the highest load factor (Nz) permissible and also the maximum lift coefficient of an aircraft leads to the fastest turn rate.
(c) Many airworthiness requirements suggest a cut in the upper and lower right end of the v-n diagram because flight is not permissible in these regions because of powerplant limitations.
Effects of gusts
Gusts are vertical draught of air that can act upwards or downwards on an aircraft. They imposed additional load (factors) on an aircraft.
Limit combined envelope = limit manoeuver envelope + gust loading lines.
High altitude Long Endurance (HALE) aircraft
Key mission features of HALE UAVs
(1) They fly above restricted regimes – They can fly above weather, intercept altitudes and commercial flights.
(2) They carry payloads which can cover a wider area of the earth at a time.
Applications of UAV
(1) They can be used for aerial surveillance involving military or civilian missions.
(2) For experiments on earth science
(3) A pseudo satellite
Morphing of aircraft configurations
Morphing aircraft refers to aircraft that changes its shape during flight for improvements.

Benefits of Morphing
(1) Improved aircraft performance
(2) Replacing conventional control surfaces
(3) Reduced drag
(4) Reduce Vibration or control flutter
Rigidization – This refers to the process which stiffens the wing fabrics using an external agent. This will lead to reduced leakage, thinner and stiffer wings, and, smaller and lighter wings.
The Fighter Aircraft Mission and the Threats
The threats to aircraft have been defined as those elements of man-made environment designed to reduce that ability of an aircraft to perform mission related function.
The threats are divided into terminal and non-terminal threats.
Non-terminal treats – They are electronic and optical systems used by the enemy to support the terminal threat elements e.g. target tracking, target identification, fire or weapon control, etc.
Terminal threats – They have the capability to cause damage to airborne targets. They consist of firing platform and threat propagators, guided missiles, guns, etc.