Anti-shock bodies

An Anti-shock body, (also known as Whitcomb body or Küchemann carrot) is a pod positioned on the leading edge or trailing edge of an aircraft's aerodynamic surfaces to reduce wave drag at transonic speeds (Mach 0.8–1.0).

Wing trailing edge

Most jet airliners have a cruising speed between Mach 0.8 and 0.85. For aircraft operating in the transonic regime (Mach 0.8-1.0), wave drag can be minimized by having a cross-sectional area which changes smoothly along the length of the aircraft. This is known as the area rule, and is the operating principle behind the design of anti-shock bodies. Reducing wave drag improves fuel economy.

Anti-shock bodies, apparently developed in TsAGI and serving dual purpose as undercarriage bogie's fairings, were first applied to Tupolev Tu-16 ''Badger'', that flew for the first time in April 1952, and were to remain a unique feature of the company's products up to and including the Tu-154.

In the West the theory was developed in the early 1950s by Richard Whitcomb at NASA, and Dietrich Küchemann at the British Royal Aircraft Establishment, leading to their appearance on aircraft such as the Convair 990 and the Handley Page Victor B.2 bomber.

Anti-shock bodies are rarely used on modern jet aircraft, such as the Airbus A380 (Mach 0.85) and the Boeing 777 due to careful design, use of supercritical airfoils and designing the flap-track fairings, enclosing the Flap deployment mechanism, to follow the area rule.

Leading edge root

On the Hawker Sea Hawk, the first prototypes experienced high tail drag when approaching transonic speeds. To resolve this, an anti-shock body was subsequently fitted to the leading edge of the junction between tail fin and stabiliser.


External links

  • AerospaceWeb: Whitcomb Area Rule & Küchemann Carrots
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