Angle of Attack

The angle at which a wing strikes the air stream.

The ability to create lift is dependent on the airflow remaining smooth around the airfoil. At zero degrees angle of attack there is just a small turbulent wake.

As the angle of attack is increased the lift increase and the point at which the airflow separates from the upper surface of the wing moves slightly forward.

Just before the wing stalls maximum lift is generated and the separation has moved further forward.

At very high angles of attack the separated flow region expands and the lift is reduced and drag increases. There will be a large turbulent wake.


See also: Aerofoil, Angle of Pitch, Angle of Yaw.

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Subjects: Aerodynamics