External Aerodynamics

Lecturer(s): Jérôme BOUDET, Julian SCOTT
Course ⋅ 16 hPW ⋅ 4 hStudy ⋅ 8 h


Understand and describe the forces (lift and drag) induced on a body by flow. Identify the associated design parameters. Formulate and apply flow models appropriate to aerodynamics. Estimate the accuracy of predictions resulting from such models from a design perspective.


Lift, Drag, Aeronautics, Vehicles, Lifting Surfaces.


  1. Flight dynamics. Piloting and control surfaces. Longitudinal flight equilibrium. Flight stability.
  2. Two-dimensional wing design. Essential elements of aerofoil theory. Thin aerofoil theory. Models: potential flow, panel methods.
  3. Lift and 3D effects. Lift/circulation relationship and its consequences for 3D flow. Elliptic loading and its generalisation. Models: lifting-surface and lifting-line theories.
  4. Drag control. Laminar and turbulent boundary layers. Parameters influencing transition. Components of drag on an aircraft.
  5. Compressibility effects. Mach number, shock waves. Transonic and supersonic aerofoils. Models: Prandtl-Glauert and Ackeret theories.

Laboratory class: study of an aerofoil in a wind tunnel and comparison with numerical simulations. Tutorial class: basic aircraft modellings. Tutorial class: geometrical design of an aerofoil satisfying given specifications.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understand the basic principles of aircraft flight.
  • Master the basic models of aerodynamics.
  • Pre-design of lifting surfaces in aerodynamics.


Final mark = 55% Knowledge mark + 45% Know-how mark Knowledge mark = 100% final exam Know-how mark = 100% continuous assessment (laboratory and tutorial reports)