Why Aspect Ratio doesn’t Matter

In the ever-present drive to improve the efficiency of aircraft, “higher aspect ratio wings” are frequently named as one of the reasons that new aircraft are more efficient than previous generations. Here are a couple of examples: “… carbon fiber allowed designers to produce a higher-aspect-ratio wing for lower drag…” (Aviation Week, May 2015) “… wings with high aspect ratio generate the lowest lift-induced drag…” (Flight International, April 2006) “A higher aspect ratio wing has a lower drag…” (NASA, May 2015) Indeed there seems to be a general consensus that higher aspect ratio wings are more efficient. This is however misleading, since Continue Reading