Trent_800 From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 136 posts, RR: 0 Posted (12 years 8 months 5 days 16 hours ago) and read 13382 times:
Is there any aerodynamic reason why nearly all airliners adopt the low wing design instead of the high wing C17 type design. I may be wrong but it seems to me that most of the heavy lifting transport aircraft have the high wing design (C17, Hercules, Anotov)
Jetguy From , joined Dec 1969, posts, RR:
Reply 2, posted (12 years 8 months 5 days 6 hours ago) and read 13342 times:
Why no high-wing airliners? In a few cases, it wasn't for the lack of trying. I'm not sure about the Russian airplanes, but Lockheed either certified or had civilian versions of the C130, C141, and C5 on the drawing board. Boeing is trying to lease a fleet of C17's to a 121 freight/cargo operator as we speak. Civilian operations have evolved to use a jetway, military operations favor "drive on, drive off" loading. (Hmmm... That's the way they load ferry boats. Maybe some startup airline will... Naw dumb idea, very dumb.)
I believe that Lockheed has made a few civilian C130's - as I remember, they were known as L100's. I don't believe that any civilian C141's were ever built, nor were there ever any civilian C5's. However, I had an instructor at FlightSafety, who in a former life flew C5's in the Air Force. This guy got a "civilian" C5 type rating and it was on his ATP certificate. I believe it was listed as a "L500", but it's been a long time, so I'm not positive. It seemed that at one point, Lockheed was real serious about selling them on the civil market and the FAA (or who ever does things like that) assigned the civilian type designator to it in anticipation. He was simply at the right place and at the right time and got the type-rating added to his license by way of his military competency. Shortly there after Lockheed dropped the program and the FAA quit giving C5 type-ratings.
Top Gun From Canada, joined May 1999, 101 posts, RR: 2
Reply 4, posted (12 years 8 months 2 days 7 hours ago) and read 13226 times:
The only thing I can think of is the posistion of the Wing Spar.
In a Semi Cantilever wing (high wing) the spar would run over head and still give you ample room to put cargo. In a Full Canitlever wing (you guessed it, a low wing) there is a space on the "floor" that the spar goes through. You could either have a bug bump in the floor or have two cargo "holds" (or three if you think about it) instead one one giant one.
Areopagus From United States of America, joined Sep 2001, 1376 posts, RR: 1
Reply 5, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 1 day 6 hours ago) and read 13141 times:
As has been pointed out, military airlifters use the high wing layout because of the low load floor it provides. But now, if you look at those airlifters, you will see large sponsons sticking out of the lower fuselage to contain the landing gear. These cause drag. The low wing layout allows the landing gear to be tucked into the wing and wing-fuselage junction, economizing on frontal area. The gear is attached to the wing, which is already strong to hold up the fuselage; with the high wing, both the upper and lower fuselage must be strengthened.
Meister808 From United States of America, joined Jan 2000, 973 posts, RR: 1
Reply 7, posted (12 years 7 months 4 weeks 3 hours ago) and read 13076 times:
Quite frankly, after viewing pix of the 146/ARJ, it seems to me as if the landing gear problem is not really as bad as Areopagus sees it to be. These aircraft do have landing gear bumps, but not any worse than low-winged airliners do.
FredT From United Kingdom, joined Feb 2002, 2185 posts, RR: 26
Reply 8, posted (12 years 7 months 3 weeks 6 days 10 hours ago) and read 13068 times:
There are pro's and con's to high- and low-wing designs. Here are some significant ones off the top of my head.
For pax a/c, having a wing spar through the top part of the cabin is unwanted. It will reduce space in the cabin. A wing spar below the floow won't. Having the wing spar above the fuselage (ATR) sacrifices aerodynamics to get around this problem.
In a low wing aircraft, you will have the aircraft standing on top of the wing. The loads put on the floor of the aircraft can be transmitted through the wing without going through the fuselage structure. This means that the fuselage can be made lighter.
With a high wing, you either have a landing gear in the lower part of the fuselage (C130, BAe146) or a tall gear in the wings (F50).
With the gear in the fuselage, you get a narrow gear which is less stable and you'll probably have to add bulges on the fuselage which will be less aerodynamically effective. Much of the weight of an aircraft is in the wings and all this weight will have to be transmitted down to the gear while on the ground and especially when landing. This means lots of added weight in the fuselage.
As was mentioned before, a tall gear in the wings means a heavier landing gear and larger pylons to house it while retracted.
A high wing will enable you to have the engines farther off the ground, reducing the risk of pod strikes and FOD ingestion from the surface. A high wing is especially attractive for a turboprob, as an underslung engine on a low wing isn't possible if you have a propeller. You want a clean upper surface of the wing for maximum aerodynamical efficiency. The junk you hang off the bottom of the wing won't reduce the lift by much, it will just add to drag. Junk on top of the wing (such as engines) will reduce lift.
With a high wing, you'll probably be forced to have a T tail to get the stabilizer out of the downwash from the wing. This adds structural weight.
I thought I was doing good trying to avoid those airport hotels... and look at me now.
Bsergonomics From United Kingdom, joined Jan 2002, 462 posts, RR: 0
Reply 10, posted (12 years 7 months 2 weeks 4 days 2 hours ago) and read 12921 times:
Sorry I'm a bit late on this one - I've been up to the eyeballs.
I think you hit the nail on the proverbial head when you gave the list of heavylift aircraft. All of them were designed initially for military service. In these cases, they are designed with extremes in mind:
1. Poorly prepared strips - high risk of FOD damage.
2. Outsized loads that have to be loaded/offloaded as quickly as possible.
3. Short runways
4. Risk of Surface to Air Missiles (SAMs) - you want to get down as quickly as possible and then up again as quickly as possible.
If you apply the same principles to the civil world (except maybe for the bit about people shooting at you... normally), you may well end up with a high wing design.
The Avro/BAe 146/RJ series (whatever you want to call them) merely applies these principles. It gets off the ground quickly (see the airfields in Nepal...) and can carry relatively large loads, considering the rest of the design specification.
I'd be interested on the structural engineers view (sorry - I do cockpits) on whether it's easier to fit a high lift wing (thick, higher AoA) to a high wing design, or whether the same problems arise.
As a final curiosity, compare the following pictures: