posted on Oct, 10 2005 @ 12:06 PM
Nice link, the naming of the Me 163B in regard to FSW research is confusing to me too, as far as I know (though I am pretty certain) FSW was never
part of the Me 163 design programme, even as a 'what if?' element.
Regarding 'taillessness' however I can help you out. The term 'tailless' has been around for many decades and simply refers to an aircraft with no
tailplane, hence tailless. From the Westland Pterodactyl through the Me 163, F-102, various Mirages and Concorde and up to the Tejas today, all these
aircraft are correctly called 'tailless' due to the fact that they have no horizontal tail. Calling the fin 'the tail' is a relatively recent
occurrence and has probably helped to add to the current confusion over what is tailless and what isn't.
The term has further become confused in recent years by the appearance of designs such as the US X-44 and the Indian MCA, these designs are best
described as 'completely tailless' even though it is a bit of a mouthfull.
As I'm sure you already know, the horizontal stabiliser is called the tailplane and the vertical stabiliser is the Fin (usually including a rudder
except on planes like the A-5 and TSR 2), therefore if an aircraft has no tailplane but still has a fin it is quite correct to call it tailless, and
has been done so for many decades.
You will also see various descriptions of the current European fighters like the Typhoon, Rafale and Gripen where they are termed tailless delta
It generally seems to be younger plane buffs (maybe like yourself?) who are confused by this distinction, probably because in my younger days the very
idea of a plane with no vertical stabilising surfaces was completely unthinkable anyway so in those terms 'tailless' only referring to the
horizontal stabiliser made perfect sense. I think technology has overtaken the terminology.
[edit on 10-10-2005 by waynos]