Date of Award:


Document Type:


Degree Name:

Master of Science (MS)


Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering


Douglas Hunsaker


Geordie Richards

Third Advisor:

David Geller


Most modern aircraft make use of modifying the main wing in flight to begin a roll. In many cases, this is done with a discrete control surface known as an aileron. The lift, drag, and moments for the wing are affected in part by the location and size of the ailerons along the length of the wing. The lift, drag, and moments can be found using a lifting-line theory that considers the circulation in airflow from many small sections of the wing. To minimize the drag due to lift on the wing, the ailerons must be optimized for the best location and size. In every case, the optimum aileron size extends to the wing tip. Results are provided in plots that can be used during the early design process to select optimum aileron size and location, as well as find the corresponding moments and drag due to lift. Compared to morphing wings, or wings that can change their shape for a new lift distribution along the wing, optimum discrete ailerons produce 5–20% more drag due to lift at the same rolling moment.