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HighBypass

Crescent wing obsolete, why?

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Some of you may know I have a soft spot for the Handley Page Victor.

 

Nov-14_Web-2.jpg

 

Anyway this superbly menacing 50s V-bomber had a wonderful crescent-shaped wing. A few months back I watched this video of a film by Handley Page extolling the virtues of such a wing planform:

 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IpVR6Cke-I

 

So how come the "simple, unassailable aerodynamical logic" leading to the use of the crescent wing became obsolete or surpassed by straight swept wings? Obviously we are talking high subsonic speed aircraft here i.e. airliners, not mach 2 fighters.

 

Discuss.

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I'm not an aeronautical engineer, but the Victor was designed in the 50s, most likely by hand using only extremely primitive computers. As the field progressed, more research was done, and computers allowed for more accurate modeling than ever before, refining what was thought of as "simple, unassailable aerodynamical logic" in the past. Still, looking at some wing profiles like that of the 737 (http://i.stack.imgur.com/9tz8Z.png) or CRJ-200 (https://cospilot.files.wordpress.com/2008/10/crj200-aircraft-dimensions.jpg) it looks like some very basic elements of the Crescent Wing may have been incorporated (they are not simple, straight swept-back wings). Personally, I'd love to see a more detailed explanation of exactly why the Crescent shape is not used anymore. 

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That's an interesting subject. Maybe the crescent wing has structural (heavier?) or manufacturing (costlier?) disadvantages?

 

Also, from the '60s onwards there has been a great advancement in the design of supercritical airfoils, that were basically non-existant when the Victor was designed.

 

So maybe the same effect (constant critical Mach along the wingspan) can be more easily achieved using different supercritical airfoils along the wingspan.

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I think the crescent shape is now on the trailing edge of the wing but less pronounced.

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