CoolIP index                                                          Most recent edit: Wednesday October 24, 2012

* See legal note below.

KitePlane Extreme Variable-Geometry (Rigid-Wing Soft-wing Hybrid)

This is an idea kicked around for years, but suddenly we can see how well it might fit AWES needs-

A major challenge to developing a high L/D rigid-winged kiteplane is operating at slow speeds to take-off and land. Depending on exotic E-VTOL capability is very marginal; the risk of a power failure event calls for a costly back-up system, like a ballistic-parachute, to avoid catastrophe. Air transport wings have complex slat and flap systems for better STOL performance, but still require a lot of runway.

In principle, a high-quality rigid kiteplane could smoothly and reversibly deploy soft-kite extensions from within its volume to greatly increase wing area (>50-to-1 possible) and decrease wing loading at will. Such radical variable area extensions potentially allow near-VTOL fail-soft performance, at hopefully less weight and capital cost than conventional slats and flaps. Early start in light winds might be enabled. E-VTOL concepts may not be competitive at all with this sort of more hum-drum AWES launch/land solution. An added ballistic parachute system would probably not be needed. A large mass and cost reduction would result by leaving all the electrics on the ground.

CoolIP*                      ~Dave Santos                 24Jan2012                     AWES5504

Comment and development of this topic will be occurring here.       
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*Legal Note: coolIP is hereby defined as a Creative-Commons Unported NonCommercial Share-Alike License, so now we are integrated with the latest standard cooperative IP model, but "coolIP" remains a nice shorthand.