CoolIP index           

Staged Launching & Landing Sequences
for Giant KitePlanes

Those who design giant kiteplanes face daunting landing and takeoff challenges. There is just not enough lift or control authority near the ground. Safety and reliability by complex flight automation is way out of reach. Even small crack-ups can negate the business model. Some possible end-to-end solutions are based on sequenced kitetrain stages with passive stabilities.

Here is a current scenario:  A massive anchor turret holds the giant kiteplane in its cradle. First a tiny blimp rises from the KitePlane fuselage and initiates a "packed" train of sparred lifter kites from out of the "box" up into good wind. Lift peaks at the required force by winching hard against the train and the giant kiteplane is lifted bodily aloft. Climbing, it soon sustains flight by its own lift.

At operating altitude the Giant KitePlane sweeps freely in power generating mode, with the kite-train above it providing a passive pilot function. As wind freshens the upper train passively furls. By an elastic aft bridle, the pilot blimp trails by its nose in gale-force.

To land: the Giant KitePlane passively "ziplines" to its anchor-point, a nice solution for sudden control-emergencies. The upper-train retracts with curtain-like drawlines, at low force. In fitful calm: the launch/land sequence rests with partially deployed top kites and mini-blimp for early full restart.

Everything lands in reversed take-off sequence and ends up nicely stack-packed for relaunch. The launch/land automation is simpler (smaller state machine) than autonomous VTOL/STOL landing of giant high-speed electric kiteplanes.

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos             Nov. 8 , 2010        M2471

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  • Kiteplane
  • Giant kiteplane          

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