The Other Way Around

Before proceeding to the preliminary design stage, it is worth pausing to consider whether a better layout is only an inversion or two away.

  • • Should the tail be inverted from a conventional layout to a “T” or from a “V” to an “A”?
  • • High wing or low wing?
  • • Inversion in operation. Could gravity be used to facilitate landing gear retraction by inverting the aircraft briefly after takeoff?
  • • Pitch control from the nose instead of from the tail (canard versus conventional layout)?
  • • Reverse pitch/reverse thrust for a shorter landing run?

Periodic Action

The propulsion systems of the overwhelming majority of small unmanned aircraft already rely on the periodic action of a propeller. But are there any other ways in which a concept could make use of periodic actions? Are there any applications where flapping wings may be warranted? We are still a long way away from replicating insect flight, but this may well be the future of nano air vehicles. The fan wing is another concept that makes use of periodic action to generate lift and thrust in conjunction with a fixed wing.

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