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4 Answers

Clean configuration and induced drag

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Aerodynamics, Flight Instructor

If flaps increase lift, why does induced drag increase in a clean configuration

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4 Answers



  1. Felix on Feb 27, 2014

    Induced drag is drag that you get from the wind hitting the wing when the angle of attack is increased. When you fly fast you don’t need a large angle of attack to get lift so your angle of attack is small and therefore the induced drag is small. (There is no wind hitting the bottom of the wing).

    Now when you fly slow you need more angle of attack to maintain the same amount of lift. Now the wind is hitting the bottom of the wing more, and you are getting “induced” drag. When you use Flaps, you are changing the chord line of the wing. This new chord line also increases your angle of attack (that’s why you get more lift).

    So when you use Flaps, you get more induced drag. The only time induced drag is small is when your angle of attack is small. (but then you are dealing with parasitic drag).

    Hope that makes sense

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  2. psequeira on Feb 28, 2014

    Thanks a ton Felix, i’m all clear now

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  3. Brian on Feb 28, 2014

    “If flaps increase lift”

    “So when you use Flaps, you get more induced drag.”

    Well said Felix, I just want to nail this one home to psequeira here. Flaps increase drag, allow you to fly slower, and change the shape of the wing; lift remains equal to weight in steady flight regardless of your flap setting.

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  4. psequeira on Mar 03, 2014

    thank you brian

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