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.
~Dave Santos 24Jan2012 AWES5504
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