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KU Aerospace Short Course Program

Aerodynamic Design Improvements: High-Lift and Cruise

Printable Course Information (PDF)

Course Schedule

This course is only available as an on-site course in 2017 (it may return to our open enrollment schedule in subsequent years). On-site courses are delivered throughout the United States and around the world. To learn more about bringing this course to your workplace, visit our on-site program page.


This course covers recent advances in high-lift systems and aerodynamics as well as cruise drag prediction and reduction. Includes discussion of numerical methods and experimental techniques for performance analysis of wings and bodies and boundary-layer transition prediction/detection.

Includes instruction, course materials, refreshments and lunches.
The course notes are for participants only and are not for sale.

This course may be taught by one or both instructors.


  • Aircraft design and the importance of lift and drag on fuel efficiency
  • Reynolds number and Mach number effects on aerodynamic lift and drag
  • CFD-based drag prediction and decomposition
  • Boundary-layer transition prediction and instrumentation/visualization techniques
  • Impact of operational, environmental and manufacturing effects on laminar flow
  • Drag reduction techniques including viscous, wave and induced drag
  • High-lift physics of multi-element systems
  • High-lift wind tunnel and flight testing examples
  • Flow separation control and active flow control techniques (cruise and high-lift conditions)

Who Should Attend?

Designed for engineers and managers involved in the aerodynamic design and analysis of airplanes, rotorcraft and other vehicles.

Times / CEUs

35.00 classroom hours
3.500 CEUs

Certificate Track

Aircraft Design

Learning Objectives

By attending this course, you will be able to:

  • Understand the basics of aerodynamic drag prediction and analysis
  • Select methods to predict and reduce drag (viscous, wave, induced components)
  • Understand factors that can affect the extent of laminar and turbulent flow
  • Select boundary-layer transition and turbulent skin friction instrumentation (visualization) techniques
  • Understand the basics of high-lift aerodynamics including multi-element systems
  • Evaluate wind tunnel test strategies to determine aerodynamic performance
  • Select appropriate CFD techniques for lift and drag prediction
  • Select appropriate active flow control techniques for drag reduction and/or lift augmentation

Course Outline

Day One

  • Aircraft design and the importance of drag on fuel efficiency, operational cost and the environmental impact
  • Empirical drag prediction including scale effects on aircraft drag and examples of drag estimates for several aircraft
  • History of laminar flow for drag reduction
  • Natural laminar flow design, application, certification and viability
  • Laminar flow control, hybrid laminar flow control design and application considerations including suction system considerations
  • CFD-based drag prediction and decomposition

Day Two

  • Critical factors in CFD-based prediction
  • Boundary-layer transition prediction and analysis ranging from empirical to Parabolic Stability Equation (PSE) and Direct Numerical Simulation (DNS) techniques
  • Supersonic laminar flow including boundary-layer instability, transition mechanisms and control methods at supersonic speeds
  • Wave drag reduction at transonic and supersonic conditions
  • Passive and active methods for turbulent drag reduction

Day Three

  • Induced-drag reduction ranging from classic linear theory to active reduction concepts including wingtip turbines and tip blowing
  • Experimental techniques for laminar and turbulent flows
  • Impact of high-lift on performance and economics of general aviation and subsonic transport aircraft
  • Physics of single-element airfoils at high-lift including types of stall characteristics, Reynolds and Mach number effects

Day Four

  • High-lift physics of swept and unswept single-element wings
  • Physics of three-dimensional high-lift systems including features of 3D high-lift flows and lessons from high Reynolds number tests
  • Importance of boundary-layer transition, relaminarization and roughness (icing, rain) effects on high-lift aerodynamics
  • Overview and survey of high-lift systems; types of high-lift systems including support and actuation systems
  • High-lift computational aerodynamics methods

Day Five

  • Passive and active flow separation control
  • Conceptual studies of high-lift systems including multi-disciplinary approaches
  • High-lift characteristics of unconventional systems and configurations including canard and tandem-wing configurations, Upper Surface Blowing (USB), Externally Blown Flaps (EBF) and Circulation Control Wings (CCW)
  • High-lift flight experiments involving general aviation and transport type airplanes
  • Final observations

Available as On-Site Only

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On-site Contact Information

To learn about bringing a course to your workplace, contact Sarah Williams, on-site program manager, for a no-cost, no-obligation proposal.
Email ProfessionalPrograms@ku.edu
Phone 913-897-8782

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