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If prizes were on offer for the strangest aircraft configuration appearing at Farnborough --- or anywhere -- then the Italian-designed FanWing would have to be in with a good chance.
Looking somewhat like a collision between a hobby-model aeroplane and a domestic lawn mower, it has a rotary wing like no other seen before. Flight is based on the principle of transferring the work of the engine to multiblade, backward-rotating cylinders occupying the location normally taken by a conventional aeroplane's wing. A cross-flow fan at the leading edge pulls air in at the front and accelerates it over the trailing-edge, generating lift even when the aircraft is stationary.
FanWing has been flying unmanned prototypes for about five years, and plans to progress to piloted models if suitable partners can be found. Low noise levels and stable low/slow flying speeds, combined with short-field take-off and impressive weight-lifting potential suggest that the FanWing could have appeal as a crop-duster, as well as a host of other patrol, firefighting and other civil or military duties.