Influence of miniflaps on sailplane flight characteristics

    Peep Lauk Affiliation
    ; Karl-Eerik Unt Affiliation


The effect of miniflaps for increasing the L/D ratio and the lift coefficient has been studied on airliners as well as on UAV-s and wind turbines. For sailplanes the lift when Cl > 1.0 is of main interest. As the maximum wing loading of racing sailplanes reaches 60–62 kg/m2, it is necessary to achieve a high Cl max (1.7–1.8) in thermals. In this case the decrease in TAS caused by a high Cl max even compensates for the drop of the L/D ratio to a certain extent, as the climb speed will increase when the spiral flight radius diminishes in thermals. To bring the L/D to Cl > 1.0, a 2% chord miniflap at a 30° deflection angle was attached to the trailing edge of a Jantar-Standard 3 type sailplane wing (airfoil NN-8). In flight tests it was found that the miniflap increased the sailplane‘s Cl max to 1.35–1.66, i.e. by 23% (Re 1.0–0.92×106). At the same time the L/D ratio Cl increased by over 1.0. Especially good L/D improvement was noted with Cl at 1.13–1.19. In thermal Cl of 1.57–1.65 the roll control was good. At lower Cl < 1.0 values, the miniflap reduced the L/D ratio in comparison with a normal configuration.

Keyword : miniflap, airfoil, sailplane, L/D ratio

How to Cite
Lauk, P. and Unt, K.-E. 2015. Influence of miniflaps on sailplane flight characteristics. Aviation. 19, 3 (Nov. 2015), 105-111. DOI:
Published in Issue
Nov 13, 2015
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