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Determining An Optimum Vortex Generator Configuration For A Piper Cherokee Wing

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1999 Annual Conference


Charlotte, North Carolina

Publication Date

June 20, 1999

Start Date

June 20, 1999

End Date

June 23, 1999



Page Count


Page Numbers

4.175.1 - 4.175.6

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Paper Authors

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Kerri Raykowski

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Charles Eastlake

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NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Session 2206


Kerri A. Raykowski, Charles N. Eastlake Cessna Aircraft Company / Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University


When progressing through a preliminary design, engineers must make many compromises. In fact, very little of an initial concept even survives to see the detail design phase. Many factors are involved with aircraft design--mission requirements, time constraints, cost effectiveness. Design teams often-times find that their optimal solution may not be readily least not without special tools or even machines, which can easily cause the cost of manufacturing an aircraft to skyrocket. In order to meet the mission requirements without exceeding a project’s budget, last-minute quick- fixes are nothing short of reality. To increase directional stability on an aircraft that cannot support a larger vertical tail, a strake or ventral fin can be added. To increase the range of an aircraft to meet a business’ needs, external fuel tanks are an option. To reduce the landing speed of an aircraft, vortex generators can be added to the surface of a wing.

Although the concept and use of vortex generators (VG’s) is not new, there really is no comprehensive source of generalized design data for aircraft applications. Designers-- especially those at the student level--are aware that they exist and understand what they are capable of as far as performance enhancement goes, but few if any know what types of VG’s they need (or have to choose from), as well as how many and what size they need to do the job. Many after-market VG kits are available for existing aircraft. But what if a manufacturer chooses to put them on prior to sale (as seen on the Beech Starship)? Even if he were to contract out to have the VG’s made, he would need to specify dimensions as well as quantity.


Flight testing with various VG configurations is certainly an option. However, this can prove costly, time-consuming, and even dangerous. Altering the flow over a wing without being able to predict the effects is not wise. The author has performed an extensive series of wind tunnel tests on a 1/4-scale Piper Cherokee wing in hopes of removing some of the guesswork in the VG and VG configuration design processes.

Raykowski, K., & Eastlake, C. (1999, June), Determining An Optimum Vortex Generator Configuration For A Piper Cherokee Wing Paper presented at 1999 Annual Conference, Charlotte, North Carolina.

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