Thursday, March 03, 2016

Le Lippisch Collins Aerodyne, wingless, 1960

In theory, the unique design of the aircraft was capable of outpacing conventional aircraft that had the same power weight and ratio.

The principle behind the Aerodyne combines the production of lift and thrust using a single unit and flow channel, like a ducted fan. Flaps at the end of the fan work to divert the outflowing air which produces lift and thrust, or a combination of both. This meant the Aerodyne was capable of being steered and flown in the complete range of motion between hovering and full forward flight. Interestingly, earlier designs of the aircraft depicted it with a cockpit although only an unmanned version was built for testing purposes.

In addition, it had the promise of super-sonic speed, and was free of many of the operational disadvantages common to other “tail-sitters” like the Convair XFY-1 “Pogo”, the Ryan X-13 “Vertijet”, and the XFV-1 “Salmon”.

Lippisch figured that with the disadvantage of wing drag out of the picture, modern aircraft could achieve higher speeds including craft capable of more efficient supersonic flight.

From 1950–1964 Lippisch worked for the Collins Radio Company in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, which had an aeronautical division. It was during this time that his interest shifted toward ground effect craft. The results were an unconventional VTOL aircraft (an aerodyne) and an aerofoil boat. However, Lippisch contracted cancer, and resigned from Collins.

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