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Are Winglets for the Birds? The trials of a working configuration aerodynamicist

Date: Tue 7 Jul 2015, 15:00 - 16:00

Location: Room 324, SEMS building (3rd floor), Mile End

Guest Speaker: Prof. Tim Takahashi, Arizona State Univeristy

This talk will broadly summarize my research and development experience in industry and Academia working in the broad areas of Aircraft Design, Multi-Disciplinary-Optimization (MDO) and Configuration Aerodynamics. Having broad industrial experience, I became privy to which theoretical methods worked out well in practice and which ones did not. In this talk, I will focus on discussing my observations concerning aircraft drag prediction, weight prediction and how they collide when computing aerodynamic performance. For me, Winglets are a famous sore point. It is well known that non-planar lifting systems can produce lower vortex drag than planar lifting systems; an aircraft with a winglet fitted to a baseline wing might develop 10% less induced drag than the production reference. Offsetting its improvements, a large retrofit winglet comes with known weight and skin friction drag penalty. Winglets also produce unintended consequences to aircraft structural fatigue life, and dive performance.
I am interested in how these phenomena contribute to system performance. In this talk, I will explain how, in my opinion, technologies such as winglets are satisfactory remedial prescriptions for a compromised production design but a poor choice to incorporate at a conceptual level into new high- performance aircraft.

Short Bio: Professor of Practice Timothy Takahashi is a member of the teaching faculty at Arizona State University. Before joining ASU, he spent many years in industry. He worked at NASA, Lockheed-Martin (the Skunk Works in Palmdale, CA and Lockheed-Martin Aeronautics in Marietta, GA), Northrop-Grumman (Aerospace Systems in El Segundo,

Contact:Dr Ettore Barbieri & Dr Yury Korolev;