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  • I use it for 2D airfoil design and it's great as far as it goes but there are some assumptions in the programming to cut down on processor time that can cause some fairly large errors (minimum drag and maximum lift can be off and it doesn't do post stall at all (errors at the margins)). Another free program I've heard of but not used that may be better than XFLR5 for stability analysis is AVL (athena Vortex Lattice). Both programs were written by aerospace professors at MIT. There are actually a lot of programs for this but most of it is old command line stuff with a very steep learning curve. The problem that makes these programs necessary for most of us is that aerodynamics is the most math intensive field of Newtonian physics. If you're ideas are for a pretty conventional design monkey see monkey do can work but I wouldn't want a guy with a wife and kids to be the test pilot.
    Hi, Bryant--

    You would get better results by starting forum threads than asking me directly. I'm not an engineer so my knowledge is not all that broad or deep in many areas. Sometimes when I do open my mouth gibberish comes out and then I have a chance to learn something which is what fora are for. When I see something that I do have some information about I jump in but as you saw in the rhino rudder thread other people have a lot to add.

    The wind tunnel doesn't sound like such a good idea to me. It's not as simple as it looks to design or to use and they require a surprisingly large amount of power. There's some free software that can do a lot of the stability analysis. XFLR5 is very popular even though there's a disclaimer in the manual stating quite emphatically that it's intended for model airplanes. I haven't found the time to learn the 3D air-frame part of the program yet so won't be much help with that. [**** text limit]
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