Zero lift line

Zero lift axis

When symmetric aerofoils are moving parallel to the chord line of the aerofoil, zero lift is generated. However, when cambered aerofoils are moving parallel to the chord line, lift is generated. (See diagram at right.)

A cambered aerofoil generates no lift when it is moving parallel to an axis called the zero lift axis (or the zero lift line.) When the angle of attack on an aerofoil is measured relative to the zero lift axis it is true to say the lift coefficient is directly proportional to the angle of attack. For this reason, it is very common to describe the angle of attack on a cambered aerofoil relative to the zero lift axis rather than the chord line.

For symmetric aerofoils, the chord line and the zero lift axis are the same.

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