Measurements of aerodynamic coefficients for flapping wings at 0-90 angles of attack

Sergey Shkarayev, Dmytro Silin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


This paper addresses the aerodynamics of membrane flapping wings. In a series of wind-tunnel experiments on the 25 and 74-cm-wingspan models, the stroke-averaged lift and horizontal force were measured at an angle of attack that varied from 0 deg (horizontal) to 90 deg (hovering position). The flapping frequency was held constant, and freestream velocity was varied with the advance ratio range 0-1.2. For high angles of attack, flapping wings do not exhibit a typical abrupt stall seen with fixed wings. This feature in flapping wings allows a smooth transition from a level flight to hovering and back. The angle of attack, corresponding to a balance of forces in the horizontal direction, decreases exponentially with advance ratio. Aerodynamic coefficients are defined using a reference velocity as a vector sum of a freestream velocity and a stroke-averaged wing-tip flapping velocity. The lift and drag coefficients obtained using this procedure collapse well for the studied advance ratios, especially at lower angles of attack. Polynomial approximations for aerodynamic coefficients are proposed that can be used in flight-performance analysis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2034-2042
Number of pages9
JournalAIAA journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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