Thursday, August 27, 2009
Darpa hopes its "Personal Air Vehicle Technology" project, announced yesterday, will ultimately lead to a working prototype of a military-suitable flying car — a two- or four-passenger vehicle that can "drive on roads" one minute and take off like a helicopter the next. The hybrid machine would be perfect for "urban scouting," casualty evacuation and commando-delivery missions, the agency believes. [original]
An Autoplane had woth its official unveiling at the Pan-American Aeronautical Exposition held in New York City's Grand Central Palace in February of 1917.Named at the time as an "aerial limousine," the strange little vehicle looked like the front half of a Model T Ford outfitted with Red Baron wings and pushed by a huge 9-foot four-blade pusher propeller mounted where the back seat should have been. The gigantic and clumsy triplane wings were fashioned into a single unit coupled with the empennage, and were meant to be removed as a single unit for road travel.
This lone Autoplane, the one and only version ever made by Glenn Curtiss, was rushed to completion specifically for the New York exposition by using tri-wings identical to those on the Curtiss Model L triplane, as well as a standard Curtiss OXX 100 hp engine. The Autoplane skipped and jumped and hopped low off the ground a few times in 1917, but never actually took to the air. Still, the invention was sufficient to earn for Glenn Curtiss the unofficial title of the "Father of the Flying Car."READ more from original
Saturday, May 05, 2007
NASA has been officially recognized for setting the speed record for a jet-powered aircraft by Guinness World Records.
NASA set the record ,during the third and final flight of the experimental X-43A scramjet (supersonic-combustion ramjet) project. The X-43A demonstrated an advanced form of air-breathing jet engine could power an aircraft nearly 10 times the speed of sound. Data from the unpiloted, 12-foot-long research vehicle show its revolutionary engine worked successfully at Mach 9.6 (approximately 7,000 mph), as it flew over the Pacific Ocean west of California.
The flight was the culmination of NASA's Hyper-X Program. Hyper-X, a seven-year, approximately $230 million ground and flight test program, explored alternatives to rocket power for space access vehicles.
This is the second world speed record earned by the Hyper-X Program. The first followed a Mach 6.8 (approximately 5,000 mph) flight in March 2004. Both records will be featured in the 2006 edition of the Guinness World Records book published in September 2005. The fastest air-breathing, manned vehicle, the SR-71, achieved slightly more than Mach 3.2. The X-43A more than tripled the top speed of the jet-powered SR-71.
NASA is interested in supersonic combustion scramjet technology, because the engines get their oxygen from the atmosphere. That allows for more airplane-like operations for increased affordability, flexibility and safety in ultra-high-speed flights and for the first stage to Earth orbit. Once a scramjet-powered vehicle is accelerated to approximately Mach 4 by a conventional jet engine or booster rocket, it can fly at hypersonic speeds, possibly as fast as Mach 15, without carrying heavy oxidizer, as rockets must.
A ramjet operates by subsonic combustion of fuel in a stream of air compressed by the forward speed of the aircraft. In a regular jet engine, fan blades compress the air. In a scramjet, the airflow through the whole engine remains supersonic.
The Guinness World Record certificate:
"On 16 November, 2004, NASA's unmanned Hyper-X (X-43A) aircraft reached Mach 9.6. The X-43A was boosted to an altitude of 33,223 meters (109,000 feet) by a Pegasus rocket launched from beneath a B52-B jet aircraft. The revolutionary 'scramjet' aircraft then burned its engine for around 10 seconds during its flight over the Pacific Ocean."
Related flight records:
The previous record for an air-breathing vehicle, but not an airplane, was held by a ramjet-powered missile, which achieved slightly more than Mach 5. The highest speed attained by a rocket-powered airplane, NASA's X-15, was Mach 6.7.
The Hyper-X program was conducted by NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate with the agency's Langley Research Center, Hampton, Va. Langley was lead NASA center with responsibility for hypersonic technology development. The NASA Dryden Flight Research Center, Edwards, Calif., is responsible for flight research and testing.
For information about NASA's Aeronautics Research Mission Directorate programs, including Hyper-X, on the Internet, visit:
For information about NASA and agency programs on the Internet, visit:
Air Chief S.P. Tyagi quoted, saying that "the IAF is planning to buy C-130J planes" and reports suggest main reason for choosing HERCULES is the capability of short takeoffs and landings from unprepared runways and without lights.C-130 which was originally designed as a troop, medical evacuation and cargo transport aircraft. The versatile airframe has found uses in a variety of other roles, including as a gunship, and for airborne assault, search and rescue, scientific research support, weather reconnaissance, aerial refueling and aerial firefighting.
Initially about 10-15 aircraft is discussed,which would take over the special forces role and supplement India's current fleet of 100 or so medium lift twin-turboprop AN-32 "Sutlej" aircraft. No word on whether the Hercs in question would be C-130Js with minor customizations, or a J variant of the heavily-modified and much more expensive MC-130 "Combat Talon" special forces aircraft. India's emerging Air Force philosophy and terrorism threat profiles would seem to suggest the MC-130 as the best doctrinal fit, while budgetary constraints (the MC-130H lists as $155 million in FY 2001 dollars, and an MC-130J Combat Talon III would cost more) would suggest the C-130J route.
Will India's potential purchase represent a mere stopgap until the $100-120 million A400M begins to hit the market around 2010, and creates a major competition for India's next-generation tactical airlifter? Will a deal be done around an indigenous project instead, something that India often prefers despite the project failures and increased costs common to such projects in its history? Or is a C-130J order a potential door-opener for a much larger Lockheed order, one that can be delivered sooner to a customer who decides that it would rather have more aircraft available, and doesn't need more than 20 tons of lift capacity?
But it is really unpredictable how well this bulky aircraft will suite Indian terrain??
For more details
Thursday, April 26, 2007
1. Serious lack of pitch stability, because of higly destabilizing protruding nose and lack of horizontal tail. So airfoils are to be reflexed (loss of efficiency), and the wing has to be twisted (washout). High lift devices are prohibited because strong negatives pitching moments cannot be balanced. The claimed advantage "efficient high-lift wings" may be discussed...
Thursday, November 23, 2006
It's the "GEN H-4." The world's smallest co-axial helicopter ever made!
This is a Japanese designed and manufactured ultralight one-man helicopter. The total empty weight of this helicopter is only 155 lb.
Yes, you're right it is a quite interesting contraption! It is true that there is not much to see on the outside. The frame is 2 inch aluminum pipe bent and welded, with a fiberglass backpack and funny looking wheels. The controls are direct, like many gyrocopters. In front of the pilot attached to the control bar is the control panel with the throttle (altitude control), tachometer, ignition power, starter and yaw switches. The tools necessary for flight do not seem like much because they aren't. This is not only the lightest helicopter in the world, but it is the easiest to fly!
If you look closely at the power pack (on top of the air craft) you will find four astonishingly small twin cylinder engines feeding into a central transmission with two sets of rotors turning in opposite directions. Wow, you say? That's nuts!.
Friday, October 20, 2006
For the GravityPlane to become airborne, gas bags inside a pair of rigid, zeppelin-like structures are filled with helium from storage tanks inside the vehicle. Overall weight by releasing the stored air which acts as ballast. Once the craft reaches the altitude where the helium is no longer lighter than the surrounding air– theoretically as high as ten miles up– it is unable to climb any further. Some of the stored compressed air is then expanded into the dirigible areas, decreasing the buoyancy effect of the helium and starting the aircraft's descent phase.As gravity pulls the plane towards the earth, the long wings are moved to the swept-back position to reduce wind drag, and air turbines mounted on the top of the craft capture some of the forward momentum and use it to drive air pumps which can refill the on-board compressed air storage tanks. In this gliding mode, the aircraft achieves aerodynamic lift for a gradual descent at high speeds, and can travel in this configuration for about 400 to 600 miles. At the end of the gliding phase, the wings are redeployed. If the concept ever leaves the drawing board and becomes a prototype, it will be massive. But hypothetically, this design could allow the aircraft to travel practically any distance with no fuel. It would expel no polluting gasses, and it would be virtually silent. It would also have some interesting features for such a large craft, including vertical take-off and landing (VTOL), and the ability to set down on land or at sea. Additionally, its buoyancy would allow it to hover in the air if needed, even in the event of total power loss.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
It seemed inevitable that the internal combustion engine would fade into obscurity, becoming a quaint relic of a pre-atomic past. But the Nucleon's design hinged on the assumption that smaller nuclear reactors would soon be developed, as well as lighter shielding materials. When those innovations failed to appear, the project was scrapped ; the bulky apparatus and heavy lead shielding didn't allow for a safe and efficient car-sized package.
The Ford Nucleon sans tail finsFord never produced a working prototype, nevertheless the Nucleon remains an icon of the Atomic Age. Their reckless optimism demonstrates that one shouldn't consider a task impossible just because nobody has tried it yet– some ideas need to be debunked on their own merit. With today's looming energy crisis and slow migration to alternative fuel sources, we may not have seen the last of the atomic automobile concept. Perhaps one day fossil fuels will wither under the radioactive glare of the mighty atom, and our highways will hum with the steam turbines of mobile Chernobyls. It could be a real blast.