Delta wing

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The delta wing is a wing planform in the form of a triangle. It is named for its similarity in shape to the Greek uppercase letter delta (Δ).

Contents

History

Between 1529 and 1556 Conrad Haas wrote a book in which he described rocket technology, involving the combination of fireworks and weapons technologies. This manuscript was discovered in 1961, in the Sibiu public records (Sibiu public records Varia II 374). His work dealt with the theory of motion of multi-stage rockets, different fuel mixtures using liquid fuel, and also introduced delta-shape wings.[1]

As the manuscript was discoverd only in 1961 until recently the conception of this wing and its name had been suggested in the 17th century by the Polish-Lithuanian military engineer Kazimierz Siemienowicz.[1][2][3]

Its use in the so called "tail-less delta", i.e. without the horizontal tailplane, was pioneered especially by Alexander Lippisch in Germany prior to World War II, although none of his designs saw widespread service.[citation needed]. During the war, Lippisch, the Frenchman Payen and the DFS (German Institute of Flight) studied a number of ramjet powered (sometimes coal-fueled) delta-wing interceptor aircraft, one progressing as far as a glider prototype.[4]

After the war, Lippisch was taken to the United States of America, where he worked at the Convair company in California. Some high-ranking Convair engineers became quite interested in his interceptor designs, and they started work on a larger test version known as the Convair XF-92. The actual F-92 fighter was never needed, and its design was too immature, so it never went into production. The prototype flying test-bed was extensively flight-tested, and its design generated a lot of interest at various airplane manufacturers in several different countries. Soon many aircraft designs, particularly interceptors, would be designed around a delta wing. The tail-less delta became a favored design for high-speed use, and was used almost to the exclusion of other designs by Convair and by Dassault Aviation in France.

Meanwhile the British also developed aircraft based on the data from Lippisch, notably the Avro Vulcan strategic bomber and the Gloster Javelin fighter. The Javelin incorporated a tailplane in order to rectify some of the perceived weaknesses of the pure delta, to improve low-speed handling and high-speed manoeuvrability and to allow a greater center of gravity range.[5]

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