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Whitcomb’s discovery was initially highly classified, but the aircraft industry was immediately notified and briefed on the results of wind-tunnel tests that verified his hypothesis. Whitcomb was subsequently awarded the coveted Collier Trophy for his discovery and the development of the area rule, and history has recorded numerous applications to military aircraft beginning with the U.S. Navy’s F11F Tiger, which almost flew faster than speed of sound without an afterburner in August 1954.
Thus, to obtain the minimum shock wave drag, the overall distribution should be that of a smooth body with minimum drag. Whitcomb theorized that the most obvious way to achieve this distribution was to remove the equivalent wing cross-sectional area from that of the fuselage cross-sectional area in the region of the wing; thereby the abrupt bump was avoided in area distribution. This approach resulted in a pronounced “wasp-waist” or “Coke-bottle” fuselage shape. The cross-sectional areas of other aircraft components (nacelles, etc.) are also included for analysis of typical aircraft configurations, and the total area distribution is examined for compliance with the area rule.
Originally posted by FredT
Came across this interesting tidbit while doing some research on winglets. The F11F Tiger which had been built for the Navy was almost able to super cruise in 1954.
[edit on 8/9/05 by FredT]