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Richard Whitcomb"s Discovery: The Story of the Area Rule

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Published on May 27, 2009

Richard Whitcomb was one of the most famous aeronautical engineers at NASA Langley Research Center. He contributed many valuable concepts to aviation including winglets and supercritical airfoils. One of his most important discoveries was known as the area rule. By reshaping the fuselage into a "wasp waist" shape, the transonic drag of aircraft was significantly reduced and cruise performance enhanced. The discovery was recognized by the prestigious Collier Trophy being awarded to Whitcomb and Langley. Whitcomb's discovery greatly assisted future aeronautical research and development.

http://crgis.ndc.nasa.gov/historic/640

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