- The Chicago Astronomer -
Copyright 2004-2014 All rights reserved by Joseph Guzman Administrator/Founder/Chief Astronomer.
All text and images are the property of the original authors/artists and shall
not be used without permission.
Post by Chicago Astronomer Joe on Nov 11, 2005 2:11:36 GMT -6
New Flying Wing Design Tested
For almost a hundred years most planes have looked like a tube with wings, but that may change thanks to NASA research. Engineers at NASA's Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va., are testing a design for a flying wing, called a blended wing body or BWB, which would be more fuel efficient and environmentally friendly than today's aircraft.
It takes three pilots to fly the model during the free flight test, plus technicians and the test director. One pilot controls yaw and roll or the side-to-side motion. Another controls pitch or up and down. The third handles thrust or forward and back. Most of them sit in a control room perched high atop the huge 30-by-60 foot tunnel test section. That's where the model flies constrained only by a tether cable.
The purpose of the free flight test is to help engineers better understand how well the BWB handles since it doesn't have a tail to help control it like conventional aircraft do.
The blended wing body model has a whole series of control surfaces along the trailing edges of the wing, 18 in all. Researchers say most airplanes have about four: the rudder, the ailerons, the elevator and the flap. One of the challenges to controlling a flying wing, according to engineers, is determining how to blend the control surfaces to make the vehicle turn correctly or to pitch up and climb. NASA engineers say the BWB model flew quite easily, which may bode well for its future as a new aircraft design.