Random Aviation Post -- Boeing BWB

Boeing BWBBoeing has long been an innovative company. If you click through to their site, be sure to refresh the splash page a couple of times -- they've got some sweet shots of several of their aircraft, including the Chinook, the Apache, and the B-1B Lancer (really cool pic!) as well as their more mundane commercial stuff.

One of their latest projects is something called the Blended Wing Body, or BWB. Last Friday they gave their scaled unmanned prototype a test flight, apparently to good effect. Essentially this is a cross between a traditional fuselage/wing configuration and a flying wing configuration. The idea is to give the most lift possible while producing the least drag and leaving lots of space inside for people and stuff.

The prototype they are flying was manufactured for them by a British company called Cranfield Aerospace and, at 21 ft wingspan, is only an 8.5% mockup of what they envision producing someday. Even so its three 50 lb-thrust micro-jet engines can get this little guy up to 10,000 ft -- not bad for an R/C bird!

Among the cool things about the BWB:
* 20 separate control surfaces on the trailing edge! And yes, those would count as 'elevons' -- and all of them are independently actuated. Wow, complex. Sounds like A&P job security...
* Mounting the engines above the tail (or lack thereof) should greatly reduce the amount of noise transmitted downward, making for a much quieter plane.
* The prototype includes a parachute to bring the plane down gently if something goes awry during testing.

More info here, here, here and here.


Ryan Donovan said...

Okay, I have to admit that planes don't really do much for me, but still, the fact that said Boeing has a parachute to catch itself is something I find pretty cool.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of aviation photography, the air show in Oshkosh, Wisconsin presents some great subject matter. Some of the photos I took are at http://pepinsolutions.com/oshkosh2006.htm