Airfoil Analysis

3689669014?profile=original  Which airfoil shape is the best?

My name is Patrick Hanley and I am new to DIY drone.  My background is in aerodynamics.  I received my SM & Ph.D. degrees from MIT.  I worked as a professor at U of Connecticut teaching aerodynamics and compressible fluids before starting Hanley Innovations about 20+ year ago.

This video is an introduction to the commercial software that I write and post on my website:

I look forward to interacting with the DIY Drones community.

Best wishes,


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  • Hi Martin, thanks for your suggestions.  We have not had a free trial version in several years. We do have many referrals. But this is business talk.  Talking about drones is way more interesting. 

    Thank again.

  • I really think you should make a free trial available. Right now I would consider buying your software only if someone I respect recommended it to me.

  • Hi Martin, thanks for your questions.

    We do not have a free trial version of VF 5.  A lite version (NACA airfoils only) can be found at 

    VisualFoil 5.0 - Airfoil Analysis and Design Software
    Airfoil Analysis and Design Software
  • Hi Patrick,

    Thank you for the information. Your code seems to be doing quite well.

    Are trial versions of your software also available?

  • Hi Stephen and Martin,

    Thanks for your comments.  I did some validation a few years ago for both the wing and airfoil programs.  

    Please see the following page.  The airfoil data (same code as VisualFoil/MSA)  is near the bottom of the page:

    Aerospace Engineering Software: MultiSurface Aerodynamics
    Vortex lattice method validation
  • I would also like to see a comparison with low Re (<=200k) wind tunnel data.

  • Hi Patrick - The software looks really good however the purchase price may be a little off-putting for the DIY Drones community.  Could you consider having an online version where you pay a nominal amount for each analysis you do as I am sure this would be better tailored to this community.

    The other this is that it is extremely unlikely that anyf the airfoils discussed actually get translated correctly into actual wings.  We mainly use foam aircraft and vagries of this construction means that the actual airfoil you get bears only superficial resemblance to the one you were aiming for.  The difference between some airfoils is <1%.  The only model aircraft that come close to accuracy are the hollow moulded composite ones and even then one wrong polish of the moulds can make a RG15 a RG14.

    Also your video was done at a RE of 3 000 000 which makes the graph lines nice and straight and distinct.  At our typical REs of 50 000 to 200 000 the lines are usually all over the place.  Maybe you could re-do the video for us at typical model aircraft REs to demonstrate how robust your equations are.

  • Thank you for your input Patrick!

  • I wrote the first 3 versions VisualFoil a few years before xfoil became a free product.  Xfoil is good. I used an early version of in at MIT in a viscous fluid flow class.  As you know, xfoil is good for low reynolds numbers. The strength of VisualFoil is its user interface and integrated algorithms.

    My software (the later version & not VisualFoil 5) solve the Euler/Navier-Stokes equations. This makes them robust for complex shapes, really low Re, high Re etc.    I also use them in my contract work.

    DIY Drones is great.  I love the pictures and technology on the site. 

  • Welcome Patrick!

    You may have a look at this wing:

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