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  1. But if you try sometimes... Fighter aircraft became much better during the Second World War. But, apart from the development of engines, it was not a straightforward matter of monotonous improvement. Aircraft are a series of compromises. Improving one aspect of performance almost always compromises others. So, for aircraft designers in World War Two, the question was not so much "what will we do to make this aircraft better?" but "what are we willing to sacrifice?" To explain why, let's look at the forces acting on an aircraft: Lift Lift is the force that keeps th
  2. Here is an interesting paper on optimising a piston engine exhaust stack for thrust. Here is another and another. Between using the exhaust stack for direct thrust and things like the meredith effect, it seems that a small but significant fraction of the thrust produced by a piston aircraft ends up coming from things other than the prop. All of which makes me wonder: what would happen if you decided to ditch the prop alltogether (or at least reduce it to a first compressor stage/something to keep the radiator running). What would a piston engine designed to produce thrust mainly from t
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