Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Funky Flying Wing Rotates 90 Degrees To Go Supersonic

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the take-it-for-a-spin dept.

Transportation 122

Big Hairy Ian writes "An aircraft that resembles a four-point ninja star could go into supersonic mode by simply turning 90 degrees in midair. The unusual 'flying wing' concept has won $100,000 in NASA funding to trying becoming a reality for future passenger jet travel. The supersonic, bidirectional flying wing idea comes from a team headed by Ge-Chen Zha, an aerospace engineer at Florida State University. He said the fuel-efficient aircraft could reach supersonic speeds without the thunderclap sound (PDF) produced by a sonic boom — a major factor that previously limited where the supersonic Concorde passenger jet could fly over populated land masses."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Seriously? (2, Insightful)

CompMD (522020) | more than 2 years ago | (#41190921)

A link to an article that makes you answer a poll about the RNC before letting you RTFA? Lame.

First Post.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Moses48 (1849872) | more than 2 years ago | (#41190957)

Wait, there's an article behind that? I thought they just linked to an add site.

Re:Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41190981)

I lied about my answers to f* up their poll.

Re:Seriously? (1, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191199)

That is what I need.

Polluting the data is better than even avoiding it.

Re:Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192535)

Polluting the data? How about the air with this f-ing contraption. What about global warming you idiots? You don't think this is a giant polluter?

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192827)

Something much more aerodynamic than modern aircraft, flying for much less time? It would probably be a significant improvement.

Re:Seriously? (3, Informative)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41190987)

I could RTFA fine. Dunno what poll you're talking about.

Re:Seriously? (1)

marcosdumay (620877) | more than 2 years ago | (#41193571)

Do you have Adblock or NoScript?

I didn't see the pool either, but that doesn't mean it's not there.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194325)

Do you have Adblock or NoScript?

I didn't see the pool either, but that doesn't mean it's not there.

Nope. And I'm running IE, too. I do have a non-American IP address (for some IT reason that company HQ across the pond never explained), so maybe they figured I wouldn't care about American politics or the RNC.

Re:Seriously? (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191039)

Adblock Plus

Didn't see a poll.

Re:Seriously? (1)

fuzzywig (208937) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194513)

ditto

Re:Seriously? (0)

tocsy (2489832) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191041)

I was with you until you had to add the "First Post."

Re:Seriously? (0)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191335)

There was a button. I clicked the first one. There was a rating thing. I clicked the center star. Oh, so that's what it was about? Yay for scientificly valid poling techniques. /sarc.

Re:Seriously? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191441)

There was a button. I clicked the first one. There was a rating thing. I clicked the center star. Oh, so that's what it was about? Yay for scientificly valid poling techniques. /sarc.

Welcome to the margin of error. Yay for understanding statistics!

Re:Seriously? (1, Informative)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191775)

So margin of error for this study = +/- 100%

Re:Seriously? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192563)

I think you're guilty of Internet Fail. I have No Script, adBlockPlus, amogst other things, running and all I saw was the article and 0 ads. I counted them to be sure, twice.

Re:Seriously? (1)

Trax3001BBS (2368736) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194561)

Same here, so I didn't RTFA.

After reading the comments below I disabled Javascript and there was the article.

Comments I read were disabling ad blockers and such...
I find when I can't copy from a page I'll disable Javascript then copy what I want.

I know I shouldn't run javascript, but all the websites require it now

Wrong affiliation (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41190925)

Zha is at the University of Miami.

Seriously? This was approved? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41190979)

A click farming site is now Slashdot's idea of a story?

Re:Seriously? This was approved? (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191011)

Hey if you can post InfoWorld articles I think anything short of goatse is fair game (actually there was that goatse-ish link to an artist's website a few years back...)

Better Link (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#41190993)

Here is one that doesn't make you answer a lame question:

http://www.livescience.com/22828-supersonic-flying-wing-nasa.html [livescience.com]

It would be one thing if the "innovationwhatever.com" site wrote the article. They didn't. Yet they feel the need to try to profit of it. Utter douchebags.

Re:Better Link (4, Informative)

MyLongNickName (822545) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191023)

I retract the part about the site not writing the article. Apparently they did. I still find it annoying, however. I may go back and answer their poll as I like to encourage science writing...

Re:Better Link (1)

serialband (447336) | more than 2 years ago | (#41193491)

What Poll? I see no poll. Turn of javascript if you don't want to be bothered by ads.

Re:Better Link (1)

bbbaldie (935205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192127)

I'm on Kubuntu, running Firefox with AB+. I have no clue what annoying question you're talking about.

Re "they feel the need to try to profit of it. Utter douchebags", that's the way the interwebs works without putting a quarter in first, Charlie. Site traffic = $$$, and I don't have a problem with that. Stealing content is one thing, posting an article with links to the original is good for everyone. Of course, in this case, you just jumped to an incorrect conclusion.

Seriously, are you using IE or something? Yeesh...

Re:Better Link (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192919)

Seriously, are you using IE or something? Yeesh...
You think the ad is browser specific? You really are dumb.

Of course, in this case, you just jumped to an incorrect conclusion.
  And proving again that you are dumb, the original poster corrected himself/herself within a minute of the original post. You see that one modded +5? Yeah, that one... idiot.

Re:Better Link (1)

bbbaldie (935205) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192989)

Seriously, are you using IE or something? Yeesh... You think the ad is browser specific? You really are dumb.

Of course, in this case, you just jumped to an incorrect conclusion. And proving again that you are dumb, the original poster corrected himself/herself within a minute of the original post. You see that one modded +5? Yeah, that one... idiot.

Thanks. Now I remember why I (a few 5-star comments) have quit posting here. Too many dysfunctional assholes here to rip into you.

Oh shit, why do I bother? Anyhow, here's your explanation, anonymous pile of feces: You can't get AB+(or any ad blocker the last time I checked) for IE, so yes, the ad, in this case, IS browser-specific.

Now, you may return to pulling wings off of flies and spying on your sister in the bathroom...

Re:Better Link (4, Funny)

MobileTatsu-NJG (946591) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192165)

In my twelve+ years lurking on Slashdot, this is the first time I've ever seen a lot of complaining about the actual content of an article.

Re:Better Link (1)

idontgno (624372) | more than 2 years ago | (#41193681)

Wait, wait.

TFA has content? WTF? When did this happen?

This might force me to re-evaluate my deeply-held resistance to RTFA. All these year. And finally, an article to RTF.

$100,000 for Aerospace research? (4, Informative)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191015)

That'll get them one workstation, one software license of their choice, and a PhD student for a year, tops.

Also, wouldn't a flying-wing aircraft designed for passenger travel be incredibly inefficient in terms of space usage? Look at the B2 - most of its body is the wing and engine structure and a tiny cockpit for 2 crew members, plus a bomb bay. Imagine trying to scale up the B2 to fit 100+ people - it'd be gargantuan. It could handle the weight just fine (the B2 carries 50,000lbs of ordinance already), but to fit that many people comfortably would be quite a feat. IANA aerospace engineer so please correct me if I'm wrong.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191069)

You are not packing people right, please refer to http://www.ryanair.com for more information.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (1)

Celarent Darii (1561999) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191091)

Perhaps that workstation will be for CAD design and computer simulation? The design itself is perhaps little more than a sketch at the moment but with a bit of funding they could determine if it is more promising.

It looks like a fairly clever idea. With the funds it might lead to something - but as the article says, this is something for 20 years in the future.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (4, Interesting)

Amouth (879122) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191423)

actually if you read through the presentation that is the second link

http://www6.miami.edu/acfdlab/projects/AIAA2010-1013_slides_pdf.pdf [miami.edu]

They have done a bit of modeling already, and it is showing promises. I'd call it a bit more than just a sketch, by bet is that with the funds they could do scale wind tunnel and fluid tests, which is listed as their next steps.

bombs are heavy (3)

Chirs (87576) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191149)

So you need big enough wings to support them.

For passenger travel you scale it up enough that the people can sit inside part of the wing area. Look up the "blended wing body" design.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191177)

but to fit that many people comfortably would be quite a feat

You've not flown recently have you?
I'm sure if the FAA would let them, the airlines would pack people in subway-style.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191277)

That'll get them one workstation, one software license of their choice, and a PhD student for a year, tops.

What university did you go to where they pay PhD students that much?

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (1)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191327)

What university did you go to where they pay PhD students that much?

It's the software licence that eats most of that $100K...

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (3, Funny)

Revotron (1115029) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191699)

$2,500 workstation
$7,500 SolidWorks license
$15,000 Doctoral candidate stipend
$75,000 University-mandated "Administration" expenses

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41194455)

This is marked as funny, but it is not far from the truth. Many universities try to take a cut of 30-50% of research grants to cover operating expenses and overhead, and I've heard that Ivy league schools may go as high as 65%. Although the actual percentage they take may be much smaller depending on what strings are attached, as a lot of federal grants will restrict what percentage the school can take. In some cases this cut may be quite ridiculous, like for theorist just working in an office and using very little other resources. Other projects may come out ahead, experiments or computer clusters that use large amounts of power and space, but not having to directly pay for the electricity they use.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192023)

I've seen graduate student stipends going for around $20k/year, however, they usually advise for grant budgeting purposes, to at least double that. Besides their paycheck, the grant needs to cover their insurance, tuition remission, and typically some travel for conferences. After the cut of the grant the university takes for operating expenses (e.g. electricity), I doubt you would have enough for two full time graduate students. You might be able to squeeze a postdoc out of it, or a full time graduate student plus a half-TA graduate student, and that is for just one year.

Even for small experimental teams that have to buy more equipment than writing instruments and a workstation, the personnel expenses can be a significant portion of the grant.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (4, Interesting)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191317)

Also, wouldn't a flying-wing aircraft designed for passenger travel be incredibly inefficient in terms of space usage? Look at the B2 - most of its body is the wing and engine structure and a tiny cockpit for 2 crew members, plus a bomb bay. Imagine trying to scale up the B2 to fit 100+ people - it'd be gargantuan. It could handle the weight just fine (the B2 carries 50,000lbs of ordinance already), but to fit that many people comfortably would be quite a feat. IANA aerospace engineer so please correct me if I'm wrong.

Well, a lot of the B-2's volume seems to be taken by the engines, which in this design are sticking out the top on rotating poles (which presents major design issues by itself). So that's a lot more volume to stick people inside. Moreover, the thing has the point sticking out backwards as well, whereas the B-2 doesn't. So that adds a lot of interior volume. Also remember that this won't have to be stealth, so that frees up a lot of design decisions.

Boeing has been trying for years to make a flying-wing version of the C-130, so obviously this guy isn't the only one thinking of using a flying wing as a cargo carrier.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (1)

fotoflojoe (982885) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191663)

This looks like a job for Kickstarter.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (2)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192187)

northrop investigated this years ago with mockups of their xb35 and yb49 fitted out with a passenger cabin. they couldnt get any industry interest. the room is there potentially, as flying wings tend be quite thick. of course teh B2 isnt engineered to carry people. a bomb bay chamber is mounted low, at the skin boundary, whereas a passenger cabin wouldn't want to cross that boundary naturally. the potential is there though. likely you'd see a slightly fewer passengers for an aircraft of the same weight, but then the flying wing tends to be more efficient overall as well. tradeoff, but potentially profitable.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192221)

addendum to myself: also keep in mind the B2 was designed for stealth, so everything, particularly the engines, are buried deep inside the wing, and shrouded/redirected to prevent radar energy from hitting the turbine blades (big potential source of radar reflection), and diffuse/cool the exhaust enough to reduce its signature without affecting the thrust too much.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192331)

Imagine trying to scale up the B2 to fit 100+ people - it'd be gargantuan. It could handle the weight just fine (the B2 carries 50,000lbs of ordinance already), but to fit that many people comfortably would be quite a feat.

So the B2 at full load, could hold 100 of today's Americans but what about in 10 years? Will the seating couches get even larger and they will only able to seat 80 Americans and still make weight and balance?
I suppose the bomb bay doors do help with dumping weight to make emergency landings though.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (1)

Talderas (1212466) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192821)

Prop planes I think hit around 90 passengers at their peak and 40 passengers was probably around the best of the earliest offering.

Jetliners started to come into play around 1949 with around 40-50 seats initially and now we're up to the Airbus A380 which can fit anywhere from 525 to nearly 850 passengers.

In 1968, supersonic craft debuted with the Concorde at 92-120 passengers and the TU-144 at 80 passengers.

100 passengers for the first flying wing offerings would be very good based on our past history of new aircraft designs.

Re:$100,000 for Aerospace research? (1)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194525)

You are completely wrong. The thickness of the flying wing is enough to give WAY more than enough headroom, and it is a wide open structure. Hell, converting a B2 into a passenger plane would allow for stadium seating during the inflight movie.

Rotation (2)

gninnor (792931) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191053)

Rotation of the thrust should be interesting. Wonder what the change in perspective does to the pilot and passengers and how fast the rotation is.

And no, I didn't read the slideshow.

Re:Rotation (1)

Antipater (2053064) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191159)

The pilots will be fine. It'll give them a chance to live out their lifelong fantasies of switching from a normal plane to the Millennium Falcon.

Re:Rotation (1)

Anonymous Cod (2647669) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191203)

I guess at supersonic speeds you really don't need to see where you're going.

Re:Rotation (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191309)

Wonder what the change in perspective does to the pilot and passengers ...

Makes the pilots feel like passengers. Makes half the passengers feel like pilots, the other half feel like tail gunners, refueling boom operators, etc.

... and how fast the rotation is.

Slow enough that the forces are a fraction of a G.

Re:Rotation (4, Informative)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191371)

I know this is asking entirely too much, for which I apologize, but it really helps if you RTFA:

Jet engines located on top of the aircraft in concept illustrations appear to rotate independently of the aircraft so that they can always point forward in flight.

Re:Rotation (1)

gninnor (792931) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192785)

Yep, I got that much from the pages of the PDF that locked up my browser. I would think a thrust diverted like that of a jump jet would be easier. Note that it says "appear". Honestly, after the PDF and the comments on about filling out a poll with the other link, I just found that I wasn't as interested as I started out.

Re:Rotation (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41193361)

I would think a thrust diverted like that of a jump jet would be easier

I believe that to which you are referring is better known as thrust vectoring [wikipedia.org]

I concur, the idea of a static propulsion system attached to a movable passenger compartment does seem outrageously complicated, though admittedly, IANAAE (I Am Not An Aerospace Engineer).

Re:Rotation (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191389)

The acceleration felt by passengers during the rotation would be less than .1 G. It seems like it would be a little disorienting to the pilots though, maybe they shutter the windows and use cameras on the side of the aircraft now facing forward to project a view of what it would look like if they were still at the "front" of the plane.

Re:Rotation (1)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192243)

I see design complexity. I dislike design complexity, particularly in aircraft. it causes headaches.

clever idea! (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191067)

Minimal moving parts, save for the plane itself.

sign of times (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191087)

ha! in today's world if it can't be gay, then it has to be at least 'bi'.

Wow. (5, Funny)

eexaa (1252378) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191099)

I was still kindof worried when the presentation started to compare the concept to a frisbee.

Re:Wow. (1)

Bigby (659157) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191367)

Why not a morningstar?

Also, the diagram has a Miami Hurricane emblem, yet the guy is at Florida State?

Re:Wow. (1)

michael_cain (66650) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192305)

The article has been updated to indicate he's at the University of Miami, not FSU.

In which direction? (3, Funny)

rossdee (243626) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191117)

Which direction does the wing rotate 90 degrees?

In the past some planes could achieve supersonic flight by rotating the whole plane 90 degrees (from level flight) Getting back to subsonic flight was sometimes a bit more difficult...

Re:In which direction? (3, Insightful)

perpenso (1613749) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191221)

Which direction does the wing rotate 90 degrees?

In the past some planes could achieve supersonic flight by rotating the whole plane 90 degrees (from level flight) Getting back to subsonic flight was sometimes a bit more difficult...

In those circumstances getting subsonic was trivial, just a matter of waiting a brief time period.

Re:In which direction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41194299)

In those circumstances getting subsonic was trivial, just a matter of waiting a brief time period.

There's a notable shortage of flight instructors that have experience with this maneuver.

Re:In which direction? (2)

amicusNYCL (1538833) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191433)

The entire aircraft rotates, not just the wing. It is a fixed wing aircraft. More specifically, the aircraft just performs a yaw while the engines on top rotate to continue pointing in the direction of travel. After the yaw is complete the structures that used to be the "wings" are now pointing forward and back, and the structures that used to point forward and back, including the cockpit, are now the "wings".

Re:In which direction? (1)

hurfy (735314) | more than 2 years ago | (#41193847)

I wonder what a crosswind on the 'formerly a trailing edge' side does ?

Re:In which direction? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41193951)

Which direction does the wing rotate 90 degrees?

Depends on which side of the equator you're on

Mach Def (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191147)

Funky Flying Wing Rotates 90 Degrees To Go Supersonic

...a reality for future passenger jet travel

I can hear the promo jingle now...

"Funky flying wing, y'all
Funky, funky flying wing"

Re:Mach Def (1, Funny)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191395)

With apologies to George Clinton:

We got tha funk,
gotta have that funk (yea)
We got the funk,
That supersonic funk

Re:Mach Def (1)

carrier lost (222597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191551)

Great. Thanks. Now I'm going to have that stuck in my head all day.

Re:Mach Def (1)

CanHasDIY (1672858) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191677)

Hey - don't bitch, or I'll figure out a way to make an appropriate parody of "The Song That Never Ends"

Let me sell you a wakeless boat (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191247)

I have this boat that rotates 90 degrees when it gets going faster and therefore doesn't generate any wake. It's ecologically friendly and gets great gas mileage.
 

That is in essence is what this guy is pitching - a plane that doesn't generate a supersonic wake despite the fact it's moving supersonically. Perhaps if the story had some details as to why rotation made any difference other than switching aspect ratios, it might be a bit more believable.

Re:Let me sell you a wakeless boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192019)

look into catamarans and hydrofoils.

read any of the links (especially the PDF of the paper itself and it explains all this quite nicely.

Sorry, already own a wakeless boat (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192265)

Wakeless launches [stillwaterdesign.com] (first link, of many found via google).

Will never happen (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191347)

You wanna know the difference between the 1960s and now? In the '60s they built stuff, now we draw stuff on computers.

Re:Will never happen (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192543)

Dang, if only they heard your advice ahead of time. They could have given them several hundred million dollars to just start building a prototype instead of trying a computer simulation first.

Russia (3, Funny)

zlives (2009072) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191431)

In other news, Russia announces it has begun working on a radical new ultrasonic bomber design.

in an unrelated story, the entire staff at NASA was found snickering for no obvious reason.

Problems with sonic booms? (3, Interesting)

WilliamBaughman (1312511) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191459)

The only problem with sonic booms from the Concorde was that Boeing's own supersonic airliner [wikipedia.org] never worked.

Re:Problems with sonic booms? (1)

dywolf (2673597) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192303)

"Never worked" is rather broad and misleading. And many of the things developed for the aircraft are now standard on airliners, such as teh super critical airfoil.

So you spend half the flight sitting sideways? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191479)

I don't see that being a very popular option. Although if it is as expensive to fly as the Concorde was, there won't be a cattle class for us 99%'ers so maybe everyone will just have two seats (for the price of 20!)?

Its ok, flying will never be popular again (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191749)

It will continue to suck until the next stone age.

Re:So you spend half the flight sitting sideways? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192345)

just have the chairs swivel too. so at takeoff/landing you have 4 rows of 20 people,
and during supsersonic part it is 20 rows of 4 people.

Re:So you spend half the flight sitting sideways? (1)

damn_registrars (1103043) | more than 2 years ago | (#41193253)

just have the chairs swivel too. so at takeoff/landing you have 4 rows of 20 people, and during supsersonic part it is 20 rows of 4 people.

That is a nice idea, but you don't honestly believe that the FAA would ever approve a swivelling chair for commercial air service, do you?

And of course, if its only 80 passengers the fare would be absurdly high just to try to break even.

Re:So you spend half the flight sitting sideways? (1, Insightful)

Shotgun (30919) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194619)

The Concorde was not profitable because Boeing got the mission it was designed for (Europe to Las Angeles) shut down by buying themselves a law.

What about the engines? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41191777)

They'll have to rotate 90 degrees to keep the thrust parallel to the (current) longitudinal axis of the aircraft. During rotation, things could become...interesting. Rotating the engines works SO well on the V-22 Osprey.

Cylon Basestar? (2)

aristotle-dude (626586) | more than 2 years ago | (#41191799)

Doesn't this remind anyone of a Cylon basestar, specifically, from the reboot series?

Must have been a PhD in grant writing (5, Interesting)

Overzeetop (214511) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192043)

The article is nearly useless. Even bringing up scramjet testing in such an article is ridiculous namedropping, and anyone who has actually seen the X51 knows that is has nothing to do with this project except that neither will be flying in this planet in the current state of development.

There are so many questionable things about this concept, I can only assume that Mr. Zha has a second degree in grant writing or bullshittery to get and actual grant for research. And yet the linked presentation is, aside from some math simulation output data, poorer in content than at least half of the undergraduate senior projects in my Aero class back in the early 90s. One of the conclusions is "transition challenging, expected to be stable due to dual symmetric planform similar to flying Frisbee". Holy shit - that may very well be one of the most critical parts of the design. If you can't transition, you simply have a plane with the entire thrust force on a gimbal which can either be subsonic or supersonic. They other issue is the horrifically draggy airfoil shape required for subsonic flight due to the need to maintain symmetry in the supersonic mode. Their solution is either air injection into the flow and/or or slat deployment at speed to produce a proper lifting body - but that's an amazingly draggy way to accomplish such feat.

I wanted to like this - so much that I did read through the broken-english slides to see what novel concepts they discovered. Sadly, this is really a master's level, one or two semester examination of shock wave perceptibly reduction, and at some point somebody's non-technical room mate told them it looked more like an airplane if they flew it sideways.

IAAAE (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192111)

I think the most challenging part about this aircraft is vehicle dynamics. For stable flight the center of mass needs to be forward of the 1/4 chord section of the subsonic wing, and for supersonic flight it should be forward of the 1/2 chord section of the supersonic wing. That alone means this is plane is inherently unstable and flies like a leaf from a tree without software compensation. This doesn't begin to address the transition from subsonic to supersonic, where at some point you must have flow at 45 degrees over both supersonic and subsonic surfaces, stably; the plane would have a tendency to pitch and roll under this maneuver.

I am an aerospace engineer..

Re:IAAAE (1)

leftover (210560) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192901)

This doesn't begin to address the transition from subsonic to supersonic, where at some point you must have flow at 45 degrees over both supersonic and subsonic surfaces, stably; the plane would have a tendency to pitch and roll under this maneuver.

Transition was the part that made me wince too. Slow rotation while moving at transonic speed -- Gulp.

Re:IAAAE (1)

Shatrat (855151) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194397)

Does it mention making the transition at transonic speeds? I skimmed the PDF and I was assuming the transition would be made sometime between takeoff and crossing mach 1.

Re:IAAAE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41193027)

INAAE, but I thought the same thing about the mass distribution. For the airplane can operate in both modes he would have to have its center of gravity exactly in the middle, and I was wondering how to achieve this by considering the weight of the passengers, engines and fuel

Re:IAAAE (1)

binsamp (1545097) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194329)

No need to rotate while supersonic. Do it subsonic then accelerate. FBW will handle any control problems. See the F117 as an example. The big problem is the engines. They are mounted on the wing and rotate as the wing changes orientation. They operate in parallel for landing and takeoff, but after the wing rotates 90 degrees, they will now be in tandem, one behind the other. This means the exhaust of the forward engine will feed the intake of the other engine, causing it to overheat or possibly fail due to the lack of oxygen. The problem is worse when three or more engines are needed. I don't know how to solve this problem. I wonder why NASA gave them $100,000 without asking the same question. Mike Monett

Gamera is really neat! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41192341)

Looks as though it should spin as it flies. Fire shooting out of each corner would be a plus!

Don't make the engines rotate... (1)

The Bean (23214) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192605)

Use normal ol' turbo-fans built into the longer wings for take off and landing in the "wide" orientation.

Then, once at about Mach .9 or so, you spin into the "narrow" orientation, where Ramjets built into the shorter wings take over and accelerate the whole mess to Mach 3, 4, 5, 6...

Seating position. (1)

MaWeiTao (908546) | more than 2 years ago | (#41192895)

I recall a few years ago reading about Boeing looking at a blended-wing/lifting body design, the X-48. They went as far as producing mock ups of the interior for passenger variants and found that travelers, for whatever reason, didn't like the configuration. This concept takes that layout and make it a whole lot worse with direction of seating changing in flight. Isn't it the same reason seats face forward instead of backwards despite being safer?

For the record, I think people can be rather stupid about that sort of thing considering windows are closed for 90% of the flight. I'm not sure how that arrangement wouldn't be anything but an improvement over being stuck inside a tube.

Next news: flying disc (saucer) lets.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41193629)

the aircraft go supersonic in ALL directions.. Gee... maybe there's a reason why most UFOs are circular / spherical. Maybe because the sphere is nature's perfect container....

Patent application (1)

dtmos (447842) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194231)

20120037751 [uspto.gov] , filed 26 April 2010. Not yet issued. . . .

Why are we going into debt to China for this crap? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#41194315)

Why, in an economy that is stagnant already due to printing money, not to mention continuing to borrow from China, (our #1 creditor), that we are doing crap like this? This stuff should be done by the private industry who has the skills and ability for research, not fat, bloated government projects that just ensure that our economy still stays in the shitty state it is in.

Paying cash to fatcats for useless projects is not something stated in the Constitution anywhere. This is for companies and private individuals. Yes, stuff like this and landing a hunk of junk on mars might make for great press, but in reality, it is pointless and a waste of economic resources, better used elsewhere, especially during these depressed times.

Swell idea, except... (1)

Ancient_Hacker (751168) | more than 2 years ago | (#41194389)

Swell idea, except:

Both sets of wings have to be strong enough to act like wings- that requires spars and stuff that are usually run through the center of lift. That makes it difficult to fit in stuff like people and cargo.

You can't sweep the wings at your typical 20 to 40 degree angle, which limits your top speed in either mode.

You can't have wings with the usual asymettrical front-back tapers, limiting your lift and lift/drag characteristics.

You can't have a tail, which makes stability and control very difficult.

Otherwise okay.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?