Playing with Airfoils: NASA Prandtl-D Model Design and Build Experience Report

This post is a summary of my experience designing a model airplane flying wing based on the NASA Prandtl experimental flying wing. I then built a very simplified version with the help of Paul Voss using his CNC foam wing cutter. These notes aren’t complete and mostly just a personal storehouse in case I return to the project. If you ask, I’ll dig up more.

Prandtl-D Rendering based on Bowers et. al, XFOIL5, and Fusion 360

The Prandtl-D is a tailless wing design that uses washout to generate yaw stability instead of the usual vertical stabilizer configuration. For this project, I studied the Prandtl-D documentation from “On Wings of the Minimum Induced Drag: Spanload Implications for Aircraft and Birds” by Bowers et. al.

Software Used:

  • XFOIL5 – Inputted the airfoils and wing parameters from the paper. Also generated several simplified versions with fewer wing segments. I think 5 and 2. See work folder below.
  • Autocad Fusion 360 – Generated a 3D model based on the mesh exported from XFOIL. Not really sure why I did this. Maybe I was planning on 3D printing something?
  • Paul Voss’ custom CNC foil cutting software – files are included in the work folder.


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2 Responses to Playing with Airfoils: NASA Prandtl-D Model Design and Build Experience Report

  1. Hugh Halford-Thompson says:

    Hi. Did you ever build and fly this? I’m looking to make a similar model but I’m worried about yaw control. I’d love to speak to you about your experience with this model if you flew it.

    • peter says:

      Hi Hugh, I did build the 3-panel design as a simple non-actuated glider from pink foam and packing tape. Once I got it balanced, it flew suprisingly smoothly. If I have time I might continue down this path. Pop me an email if you’d like to follow up more. I’m Peter at peterklemperer dot com.


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