posted on Sep, 25 2015 @ 11:08 AM
a reply to: Zaphod58
Which is funny to me, because wasn't that "trial and error"/"If it looks right, it'll [probably] reflect right" method still more or less responsible
for all of Northrop's designs from the XST contender through the ATB (and possibly a certain craft known for keeping our faceted friend company)?
I understand that Lockheed's software paved the way for where the skunk works is now, designing the RQ-170 on a computer to such an extent that the
first physical hardware seen are the flying prototypes being spit out by the 3D printers, but I've always been fascinated by the qualitative aspect of
aircraft design as well.
I tend to think spatially/visually instead of mathematically, and to that end, I've always had a tremendous amount of respect for guys like Sydney
Camm, Barnes Wallis, Kelly Johnson, RJ Mitchell, and the folks at North American, who were all able to understand the laws of aerodynamics, etc to the
point that they could basically freehand a shape that would be 95% of the way to being a totally flyable article, and use the math to flesh out the
little details such as center of gravity/effort/drag, airfoil shape, and materials.
Stealth seems to work the exact same way, where once you have a visual understanding of how radio waves reflect, and what they tend to reflect off of,
you can then proceed to draw up a design that's 95% of the way there more or less based on your understanding alone, and then rely on pole tests, etc
to sort out the rest...