Saturday, December 19, 2009

Richard Whitcomb Dead at 88

In memory of Richard Whitcomb (February 21, 1921-October 13, 2009)
Richard Whitcomb was a American Aeronautical Engineer noted for his significant contributions to the science of aerodynamics. In 1954 he developed the "transonic area rule," which reduces the shock wave drag that occurs near the speed of sound. In the 1960s he developed the airfoil design was flatter on the top and rounder on the bottom with a downward curve on the trailing edge. The shape delayed the onset of drag, increasing the fuel efficiency of the aircraft flying close to the speed of sound. In the 1970s he developed winglets. Winglets are found on wide rage of aircraft today and improve fuel efficiency. He died at age 88 from a stroke.

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