Load Factor Aerodynamic Force

Want to lear about the aerodynamic forces in a turn as they apply to load factor? So do I so let’s go.

Basics 101

Banking a turn to make a left results in tilting lift to the side which in turn results in a vertical as well as a horizontal component of lift.

Centripetal force = any force towards the center of the turn. Horizontal force is an example of centripetal force.

The opposing force is “Centrifugal Force” which is the inertial that drives the airplane to the outside of the turn.

Easier put centripetal force = towards “Center” and Centrifugal force = away from.

This part is pretty technical so I’ll try my best to comprehend this.

When you roll the aircraft into a turn, you tilt the life away from the vertical component and need to pitch the aircraft for a greater angle of attack (raise the nose) to compensate for this reduction in vertical lift.

Raising the angle of attack (pitch) increases the lift because the wings now support the horizontal component of the lift plus the vertical component of lift which increases the weight that the wings have to support.

This is “load factor” – added extra weight of the wings.

Luckily, there is a calculation for this which is actually pretty simple.

– The “load factor” is the total weight that the wings have to support divided by the gross weight of the aircraft.

Load factor is expressed using the term “G” in which G=1 Unit of Gravity.

Since gravity is factored in here, the load factor can be increased by increasing the bank angle, flying in turbulence and pulling out of a dive.

Increasing the load factor will increase the aircraft’s stall speed but not the angle of attack.

With increased load factor, the wing reaches the critical angle of attack at higher speeds. I am guessing that singe it is “heavier” more speed is necessary to get to that angle.

Bank angles greater than 30 degrees increase the stall speed as well as the load factor. Medium banked turns are the most common turns for normal flight, clearing turns as well as for turns in the normal traffic patters and steep banked angles beyond 30 should not be used at slow airspeeds.