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FANWING? Anyone See this?

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posted on Jun, 16 2009 @ 11:52 PM

"One of the few truly new aircraft since the Wright Brothers" Clive Thompson, New York Times

Patented distributed-propulsion vortex-lift technology
Flight-tested proof-of-concept high lift and thrust efficiency
Slow manoeuvrable flight performance
Stability in turbulence and no stall
Short take-off and landing
Ongoing development of vectored thrust for VTOL application
Low carbon footprint for projected manned applications

[edit on 6/16/09 by Djdoubt03]

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 12:40 AM
FanWing Demonstration Flight at ParcAberporth International UAV/S

posted on Jun, 17 2009 @ 12:40 AM

There have been several similar designs over the years - few have been practical and none have really caught on.

Similar performance can be achieved in a more standard airfoil through a combination of shaping and active enhancement.

The cause for stall (also known as a departure from laminar flow - or, simply, a departure) is due to low-energy (slow) air accumulating on the after-portion of a lifting surface. The fluid (yes, air is a gas - but for all intents and purposes - it's a fluid) then becomes chaotic as vortexes form and the fluid no longer 'clings' to the lifting surface (wing).

A few bad things happen here. First, you lose a lot of effective lifting area - which means that, usually, your airplane will fall into the ground if laminar flow isn't restored. Second - since most of your control surfaces are located along the trailing edge of the lifting surface, and that air is no longer flowing along that surface - you have a loss of positive control on the aircraft (which is really bad since most departures are caused by intense maneuvers of military aircraft, or otherwise abnormal flight conditions - which makes recovery a tricky process that takes up a lot of altitude that is not always in ample supply).

Now there are several ways of preventing departure. A rather simple method is dimpling the lifting surface. This causes low-energy air to 'bleed' into the pours and allow laminar flow to continue over the wing. Shaping the leading and trailing edge of a wing can also improve performance in high subsonic and supersonic flight conditions.

Active means can include the pumping of high-speed fluid over the 'back' of a wing, which keeps low-energy air from causing a departure from laminar flow. Other means involve a sort of 'treadmill' that keep the low-energy air from causing a departure.

Some designs (like this one) move the entire lifting surface to prevent departure.

Most are experimental. Some of the passive designs have made it into aircraft - mostly in wing shaping. The F-23 and - to a lesser extent - the F-22 used leading and trailing edge sweeping to optimize the wave and viscous drag generated at supersonic velocities to make supercruise a reality. The shape is also capable of taking on some very high angles of attack as well as being a very efficient source of lift for each aircraft (better than a delta wing design, at the speeds they are designed to operate at - below mach 2, above mach 1).

To my knowledge, none of the active methods have ever really been implemented into an operational aircraft. Though there are some active/passive methods that duct air from around the fuselage and create a vortex up over the body and down along the trailing edge of a wing - keeping low-energy air from causing problems. However, these require high forward airspeeds.

There are all kinds of little details on an aircraft that look unimportant - a hole here or there that looks like it is there more for aesthetics or to cut back on weight - when in actuality it serves an aerodynamic purpose, whether placed in by design, or by trial-and-error (don't have to simulate or understand why a design works to test it and see that it's better, for some reason, than another).


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