onsdag 22 augusti 2012

Harsh Critique of AIAA by AIAA Journal Referee

Reviewer 2 of our article New Theory of Flight submitted to AIAA Journal delivers harsh criticism not so much of our article but of state-of-the-art of aerodynamics represented by AIAA and my aerodynamics colleagues at KTH figuring in the referee report:
  • Aerodynamics today is ... almost always taught in a truncated version that ... has lost much of the profundity. 
  • Even the truncated version is no longer as highly respected as it used to be.
  •  In consequence, there are many employed today in the aerospace industry, and even in academia, whose grasp of the basic theory of flight contains many gaps. 
  • These gaps are apparent to thoughtful students, who frequently attempt to fill them in for themselves, although the remedy is usually worse than the disease. 
  • I believe that the authors of the paper under review ... are right to quarrel with the truncated version that they, like others, have apparently received.
  • The relationship between potential flow and real flow ... is glossed over in the great majority of contemporary texts.
  • The authors greatly underestimate the classical theory, most likely because the usual truncated exposition has not shown it to them in its proper light. The authors have put their fingers accurately on many of the defects in the truncated versions of aerodynamic theory that are now current. 
  • These difficult issues were struggled with years ago by the founding fathers of the subject... Sadly, the outcomes of those struggles have since been simplified or discarded in modern presentations to create a pragmatic treatment focusing on utility. 
  • Undergraduate textbooks these days all too often simply omit anything that students find difficult.....proliferating literature of “theories of flight” that serves only to confuse students and mislead the public. 
  • I wish it were possible to retract what has already been written.
  • A book intended for specialists, but that is old enough not to have succumbed to the almost universal dumbing down, is Theory of Flight, by R. von Mises.
Reviewer 2 thus clearly expresses that the state-of-the-art aerodynamics education of today represented by AIAA and my aerodynamics colleagues at KTH,  is degenerated and concludes with: 
  • I believe that serious issues of substantial public interest are involved.
Yes, serious issues of great public interest are involved. How is now AIAA going to handle the criticism and how is AIAA Journal going to handle our article? By suppressing it? Or publishing it because of its substantial public interest?

The critique is also voiced in AIAA Journal by J Hoffren, Quest for an Improved Explanation of Lift, 2001:
  • The basic physical principles tend to be buried and replaced by mystical jargon.
  • Classical explanations for the generation of lift do not make the essence of the subject clear, relying heavily on cryptical terminology and theorems from mathematics.
  • Many classical texts even appear to have a fundamental error in their underlying assumptions.
  • Although the subject of lift is old, it is felt that a satisfactory general but easily understandable explanation for the phenomenon (of lift), is still lacking, and consequently there is a genuine need for one.
And by John D. Anderson, Curator of Aerodynamics at the National Air and Space Museum:
  • It is amazing that today, almost 100 years after the first flight of the Wright Flyer, groups of engineers, scientists, pilots, and others can gather together and have a spirited debate on how an airplane wing generates lift. Various explanations are put forth, and the debate centers on which explanation is the most fundamental.
Compare also with the following message from AIAA President Michael Griffin:
  • It is a time of change in the aerospace profession and AIAA has to change with it.
  • More and more aerospace professionals are being challenged to explain why we do what we do, not just explain how we do it.
  • It is increasingly important for aerospace prof to explain, to justify and to show why what we do is important and relevant to the future.  
  • We have focussed on being the best we could possibly be at doing what we do. 
  • We have been excellent at that.
  • AIAA is viewed as the worlds technical repository of aviation, aerospace data and technical knowledge. 
  • We are the best at that of anyone in the world and must continue to remain so.
  • We need to change with the times.
Maybe AIAA from this perspective will be open to a New Theory of Flight? 

3 kommentarer:

  1. Maybe much would be won if professors Johnson/Hoffman could make a loose sketch on the connection of suction+downwash = lift. Much critizism would disappear if a trustworty alternative to Prantl's boundary layer theory could be given...

  2. Trivially lift comes from suction generated by downwash. What is required is an explanation of the fluid mechanics generating suction/downwash and that is what we do and Prandtl does not. AIAA does not listen to our argument which is unfortunate to people in the air, and they are many. But to be deaf is not an attitude of science.