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Old May 11, 2013, 10:15 PM
Jim in the Desert
United States, NM, Las Cruces
Joined Aug 2007
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What's the big deal with wingtips?

I'm thinking of building a plane like a friend's but his has flat pieces of wood at the end of the wing. Pylon racers and hotliners have swept back pointed tips. Full size airliners have those little vortex wings that stick up. 3D planes have those big flat wing ends. Seems like there must be a lot of important aerodynamics going on at the wing tip. But which of these different approaches to wing tips is best (for smooth flight)? Does it really matter?

Thanks for enlightenment, gurus .....
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Old May 11, 2013, 11:19 PM
Theoretical Modeler..
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Joined Oct 2007
2,236 Posts
Here is a good place to start.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wingtip_device
It depends on the projected flight envelope of the plane. And it is typically about controlling the tip vortices and how they impact the rest of the wings aerodynamics

In the attached files (if it will allow me to attach them all) you can scroll through the rather numerous pages... I haven't read every page of all of them, but I have skimmed them when I am interested in a particular idea/theory/design etc.
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Old May 11, 2013, 11:30 PM
Jim in the Desert
United States, NM, Las Cruces
Joined Aug 2007
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Boy, thanks a lot plane_tech. Looks like you have been collecting them. Going to take me a while to get through those.
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Old May 11, 2013, 11:38 PM
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Yeah. Couple of years worth. When the funding is low, I resort to being a self imposed "Theoretical Modeler"... Read everything I can, just don't do anything with it.
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Old May 12, 2013, 02:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cloud_9 View Post
I'm thinking of building a plane like a friend's but his has flat pieces of wood at the end of the wing. Pylon racers and hotliners have swept back pointed tips. Full size airliners have those little vortex wings that stick up. 3D planes have those big flat wing ends. Seems like there must be a lot of important aerodynamics going on at the wing tip. But which of these different approaches to wing tips is best (for smooth flight)? Does it really matter?

Thanks for enlightenment, gurus .....
Plane_tech is right but your friends plane with flat pieces of wood sound different to normal winglets. In model aerobatics world it's called "side force generators". It makes the plane track much better and makes effortless and very stable knife edge flight also rolls can be performed with less input to the rudder.
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Old May 12, 2013, 11:04 AM
Jim in the Desert
United States, NM, Las Cruces
Joined Aug 2007
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Originally Posted by plane_tech View Post
Yeah. Couple of years worth. When the funding is low, I resort to being a self imposed "Theoretical Modeler"... Read everything I can, just don't do anything with it.
Well I guess there are different ways to enjoy the hobby. I enjoy learning about it, and having a better understanding ot it. I like the idea of designing and building planes then seeing how they fly, just as much as flying them. That benefits from understanding them. Thanks again.
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Old May 12, 2013, 12:04 PM
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We are in the same boat. Designing is free, building not so much.
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