If it\’s got an engine. . .

Dorri probably likes it

Another off-the-wall idea

Posted by ifitsgotanengine on February 28, 2006


I’ve been fascinated with airplanes as long as I can remember, yet I’ve flown surprisingly few times. Once in a Cessna 152 for an introductory pilot training lesson and a handful of times in commercial jets (mostly flying for job interviews when I was getting out of the Navy).

So here’s the idea. Airplanes can be built with very low stall speeds – on the order of 15 to 20 miles per hour. That’s airspeed, not ground speed – the airplane doesn’t know or care how fast it’s moving in relation to the ground. What keeps if off the ground is lift generated by airflow across the airfoil-shaped wing.

An airplane that will fly at 15 mph will fly perfectly still into a 15 mph headwind.

So if we manage to get air flowing across the wing (with multiple props) at greater than stall speed, and we counter the forward thrust with props blowing forward (creating reverse thrust), will the airplane lift off with no forward movement?

I understand that there are some tweaks necessary, such as ensuring that the wing is at the center of gravity (so the tail doesn’t fall), etc.

Once in the air, the rear-mounted props can be slowed, allowing the plane to start moving forward.

What do you think?

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On an unrelated note, I’ve added some new links over on the sidebar.

Raceology – If you’re interested in the “how it works” or “why it works” aspect of racing and race engines, this is definitely worth a read. It’s obvious that Don really knows his stuff.

Visions – That’s University of Missouri-Rolla’s eye on research, a technology blog. Also a must-read.

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3 Responses to “Another off-the-wall idea”

  1. Anonymous said

    Thanks for the link back to our blog. I’m enjoying yours.

    Andrew Careaga, one of the Visions bloggers

  2. the garage guy said

    i have a close family friend who was an engineer involved with the avro arrow. i’ll have to bounce this one off him.
    sounds like an interesting concept though.

  3. Anonymous said

    In other words, a helicopter

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