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How to calculate Airflow.

I am doing a school project on applying the Airfoil of the A350 to the A380. I spoke with my math teacher and she told me that I need to find the wing surface of both aircraft and then calculate the Airflow of each aircraft. A380-A350. I was wondering if I could get a formula or instructions on how to calculate the airflow of these aircraft.



Well-known member
My days of aerodynamic theory are long past, so I can't help you, but I'm really curious as to why you want to do this.
Is there anyone that you might know that could answer how to calculate airflow. I need to know it ASAP.
But to Answer your question Plague,I am doing this for a science project to see why an aircraft is more efficent because of its airfoil/airflow. I have been intrested in avation for a very long time!! I have been studying aviation for 3 years now. I want to fly the Airbus A350/A320.


Well-known member
Is there anyone that you might know that could answer how to calculate airflow. I need to know it ASAP.
There are a couple who might be able or could point you to another source, but it could be days before they visit the forum. If you need it fast you'll have to keep digging for other references.

As to the project, of you are trying to compare efficiency wouldn't it be better, and simpler, to choose two similar size and style of aircraft like A330 and A350? Or maybe A320 and 737?


Well-known member
Okay thank you for trying!!
Sorry I wasn't clear,I am applying certain factors from the A350 to try to make the A380 more efficient.
Ah, okay. As I understand it the biggest efficiency/cost problem is that the A380 (and 747) have 4 engines, which has obvious cost, fuel and drag disadvantages over 2 engines. But then again the A350 is a newer design, so perhaps has 'better' wings as well.

From my general observations it seems to me that most wings are pretty much optimised over most of their length these days and the only real gains are at the tip, by effectively increasing the aspect ratio. Winglets were the first iteration but now there seems to be a trend to just extending and shaping the tip with the 777X being an extreme example (in that they have to fold the tip to use existing airport infrastructure).
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So for the A380 I should eliminate the 4 engines and leave it with two? Because I know the A380 has a few aspects that make it inefficient. I was also thinking of doing research on what different designs airbus uses to make their aircraft more effenct. Like why they bend certain wing tips in diffrent ways and then see what change I could make to the Airbus A380 to make it more efficient. I was also thinking of applying the airfoil. Maybe make it a little bigger and thicker to accommodate the Super.


Well-known member
So for the A380 I should eliminate the 4 engines and leave it with two?
That's certainly an interesting idea, but it would only be a thought experiment as there are no engines powerful enough to do that. Depends on how 'real world' you want your project to be.

I was also thinking of doing research on what different designs airbus uses to make their aircraft more effenct.
That sounds like an interesting line to follow, but if it's for a math project it might either be a bit vague or very complicated, depending on what information you could find. I imagine Airbus keep a lot of this stuff private (from Boeing for example).

I was also thinking of applying the airfoil
You've mentioned this a few times but I don't know what you actually mean. I thought it was perhaps something lost in translation as I guess you are from Argentina, so English is not your first language (though you seem fluent).
Aerofoils can be thicker or thinner depending on what is needed in terms of speed and lift, so you can't easily take the design from one aircraft and apply it to one that is substantially different in size, etc.

Talking of reality Scott Manley just today released a video that touches on some of this stuff, like the fact that wings have to have the required strength and the fuel needs to go somewhere:
(About 14 mins)
So what im trying to do is make the Airbus A380 more "Efficient" by applying A350 Factors. The factor im focusing on is the Airfoil. I have also tried to focus on the wing tip. But its hard to experment that cause you can't just bring a plane and put a new set of wings. So I am trying to do it by calculating airflow. But again im not sure with that can even work.
And I am from the U.S but I do have roots from Argentina,so yes you can say im from there

Also thanks for the video it was helpful in certain aspects.


Well-known member
Still not sure what you mean by airflow. For a wing in general that will be the airspeed of the plane, more or less.
From a quick Google, roughly speaking the 380 is nearly twice the (max) weight of a 350 - or at least the variant I happened to grab numbers for - and has nearly twice the wing area. The 380 has 80m wingspan and the 350 65m. (By-the-by the 777X is about 72m.) To get a 350 wing with double the area I estimate it would need about 90m span.
So I guess if you can find out the drag of a 380 wing and work out the drag of an upscaled 350 wing, ignoring how practical/possible that would be, then you'd have the basics of an efficiency comparison.


Active member
Uhh. That sounds like quite a task. I will need to get back into my university courses to get some formula.

Airflow is not the difference as it is just a matter of speed and area.

To make an aircraft more efficient there are hundreds of factors ro consider.
And most of them have influence on others.
Aircraft design is no process with a definitve answer you can calculate at once.
It is an iterative process with several iterations and more like a numerical optimization for a given set of missions.
In university we took about a year to get one iteration of a A320 type design completed. So you may be up for something bigger than you expect.
Do you guys by chance know any simulations that could help with this.Like applying or designings airfoils or wings. For the project I am going to try to foccus mainly on the airfoil and/or wingtip. I have been doing tons of research and have the numbers for both aircraft such a wing surface area,wing de mentions etc.


Well-known member
I guess you are going to be scaling stuff across designs which is tricky as there are squares, cubes and probably logarithmic relationships. Wind tunnel testing must deal with those so I'd see if you can dig up some info from that line of work.
I suspect the computer simulations that are used a lot these days are "full size" so may not help you as they don't need scaling up.
Wind tunnel it is!! Have thought of it,and I think that will probably be the best way to test this. As for scaling,for now im going to focus on the wing tip sense doing the full airfoil will be hard and take more time.


Well-known member
Cardboard will not be accurate enough. You could make an accurate section from balsa wood. Not high tech, but it will work. Buy some, good grief