Modeling the Aerodynamics and Performances of a Historic Airplane: the Spanish


  • A. González-Betes
  • R. Martínez-Val



historic airplanes, airplane performances


The process of modeling the aerodynamics and performances of a historic airplane is very similar to the conceptual and preliminary design phases of a new plane, with the advantage of knowing the configuration and that the airplane was airworthy; thus it is unnecessary to outline and assess many different alternatives. However, the drag polar, the real performances, stability features, etc, are still unknown. For various reasons (in particular because of two World Wars, or the Civil War in the Spanish case) most details of many historical airplanes have been lost.In the present research work, the situation is as follows. In June 1933 the "Cuatro Vientos", a Spanish-built Bréguet XIX Super TR, flew non-stop from Seville to Cuba; a distance of 7500 km (about 4100 nautical miles) in around 40 hours. A few days later, in a far less complicated stage between Havana and Mexico, the airplane was lost with its occupants to a storm in the Yucatan peninsula.The modeling considered in this paper starts by addressing the aerodynamic modifications introduced in the airplane for the extremely long flight. Then, with the help of old and present day aerodynamic data and methods the drag polar is estimated. The available engine data is completed and extrapolated to obtain information on power and fuel consumption. Finally, all this data is integrated to provide a reliable and technically sound reproduction of the Seville-Cuba flight.


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Author Biographies

A. González-Betes

R. Martínez-Val




How to Cite

González-Betes, A., & Martínez-Val, R. (2003). Modeling the Aerodynamics and Performances of a Historic Airplane: the Spanish. Acta Polytechnica, 43(4).