'Flying Wing' (Tailless) Aircraft

ramonmercado

CyberPunk
Joined
Aug 19, 2003
Messages
54,754
Location
Eblana
All Wing, No Noise

Daniel Clery

How would you design an aircraft if your main aim were to keep its roar from waking up the entire neighborhood during takeoffs and landings? A group of 40 engineers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and England’s University of Cambridge took on that challenge and, three years later, has unveiled designs for the SAX-40. Thanks to a host of noise-silencing innovations, the 215-seat airplane should be virtually inaudible outside the airport. Designers estimate that the aircraft will emit just 63 decibels at takeoff, about as loud as an average conversation. (Today’s airliners hit up to150 decibels.)

To achieve such relative silence, researchers needed to rethink nearly every aspect of the typical airliner. “There’s no one thing you can do,” says Will Graham, who headed up the Cambridge airframe-design team. “You have to treat all the noise sources.”

Chief among them is the airframe. The faster a plane flies, the louder it roars. So Graham and his group designed the SAX-40 with a blended-wing body, a concept that jettisons the tube-and-wing approach for a tailless, triangular structure. That shape provides extra lift, enabling the plane to fly more slowly during takeoff and landings. It also saves a significant amount of fuel, getting some 35 percent more passenger-miles per gallon than a Boeing 777.

A number of other researchers, including at Boeing, are working on similar concepts. But challenges remain. An aircraft without a stabilizing tail would be far more difficult to fly. And then there’s the question of how to make its flattened fuselage as structurally strong as a cylinder. But perhaps the biggest hurdle is the airline industry’s financial investment in conservative design. Betting on such a radical plane, Graham says, “would be a huge step for manufacturers.”

WHAT MAKES THE SAX-40 SO QUIET?

Exhaust
The long exhaust ducts have acoustic liners to dampen noise, and the size of the exhaust nozzles can be made smaller during takeoff to reduce noise or larger while cruising for fuel efficiency.

Airframe
Instead of noisy flaps, a sloped wing and steep landing angle do the braking. In lieu of a tail are winglet rudders. Engines embedded in the frame, with air intakes on top, reduce drag and noise.

Wheels
Landing gear is the major source of noise during takeoff and touchdown. An aerodynamic fairing around the SAX-40’s wheels diverts airflow and reduces drag.

Engines
Three radial-blade fans per turbine move large volumes of air at low, quiet speeds. Precisely tuned turbine blades don’t vibrate nonmoving parts.

popsci.com/popsci/aviationspace/6d9 ... drcrd.html
Link is dead. The MIA webpage can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:

https://web.archive.org/web/2007020...6d915d1eb5370110vgnvcm1000004eecbccdrcrd.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Comfortably Numb

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
9,019
Location
Phone
This thread was spun off from:
Historic UFO Encounters: Newspaper Articles
https://forums.forteana.org/index.php?threads/historic-ufo-encounters-newspaper-articles.65811/
-----------------------------------


The Northrop flying wings weren't just retired - they were scrapped. The last surviving airframe was written off and designated for scrap in November 1953. That's why not a single one of these fascinating 'birds' is on exhibit somewhere today.
Our Northrop and Horten 'flying wings' are a subject dear to my heart and when initially researching Arnold's sighting all those years ago, it was essential to investigate a possible connection.

Thankfully, l kept copies of relevant photographs/images and have just discovered where they are on an old backup.

If they might be of historical interest, I have uploaded them and retained the original file names as hopefully some are a means of identification.

They are:

www.forteanmedia.com/byellow.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/fly_wing.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/ho229.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/ho95.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/ho_ix_v-1.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/hortenfr.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/hortenr.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/n1m.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/yb49.jpg

www.forteanmedia.com/yrb-49a.jpg
 
Last edited by a moderator:

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
7,671
Location
Wessex and Mercia
The Northrop flying wings weren't just retired - they were scrapped. The last surviving airframe was written off and designated for scrap in November 1953. That's why not a single one of these fascinating 'birds' is on exhibit somewhere today.

If that's an actual aircraft it's not a military or experimental flying wing.

The date of the photograph is not in question.

The main problem with the Redlands photo is that the oddity in the sky wasn't noticed when the picture was taken - it was first noticed as a glitch in the photo after it was developed. This didn't correlate with claims concerning the mystery object's direction of travel and behavior. I suspect this obvious clash is the main reason the sighting wasn't taken all that seriously.

The Northrop N9-M appears to have been the last one flying.
It was a single-seater with a 60 ft wingspan.

IMG_1203.JPG

It was fully restored by the California Planes of Fame Air Museum and flew until 2019, when it crashed into a prison compound, tragically killing the pilot and completely destroying this last of the legendary aircraft.

IMG_1204.JPG

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northrop_N-9M
 

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
7,671
Location
Wessex and Mercia

Comfortably Numb

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
9,019
Location
Phone
It was fully restored by the California Planes of Fame Air Museum and flew until 2019, when it crashed into a prison compound, tragically killing the pilot...
Goodness sakes... completely unaware about that tragedy. Thanks for highlighting this shocking incident.
 

Comfortably Numb

Antediluvian
Joined
Aug 7, 2018
Messages
9,019
Location
Phone
We may start to see a whole new range of flying wing type aircraft in the near future though.

Netherlands airline KLM has been testing a remote control scale model of its planned "Flying V" airliner, with passenger compartments in the wings:
Awesome!

I thought for a moment there we had the shout for a simulacara - kinda smiley/angry looking airplane.

It reminds of something from my archives:

www.forteanmedia.com/spanload.jpg
 

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
7,671
Location
Wessex and Mercia
Awesome!

I thought for a moment there we had the shout for a simulacara - kinda smiley/angry looking airplane.

It reminds of something from my archives:

www.forteanmedia.com/spanload.jpg

Rather like some of the Star Trek hardware, that looks like a prediction that could well come true.
Until people get used to spotting aircraft like this, I can see them spawning a lot of UFO reports (or indeed claims that previous sightings were brief time slips into the 21st century):

IMG_1206.JPG
 

blessmycottonsocks

Antediluvian
Joined
Dec 22, 2014
Messages
7,671
Location
Wessex and Mercia
If we're going waaaaaay back into aviation history, then the first powered heavier than air machine has to be Clément Ader's Eole.
This bizarre, steam-powered, bat-winged but tailless aircraft made a short (alleged 50 metre) powered "hop" into the air in 1890:

eole.JPG
eole2.JPG

At least Ader had the good sense to put his propellers at the front, rather than pusher-propellers on the trailing edges, which is less efficient and resulted in aerodynamic turbulence problems.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ader_Éole
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,673
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
No Mention of the Northrop B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber yet then?
The successor to other US 'flying wings'.
1612791439998.png


And then as well, of course, there are many UCAV craft.
Here is Russias Suchoi S-70 'Heavy Strike Drone'.
1612791615025.png


And then we have Airbus developing their 'Blended Wing Body' design for MAVERIC.
Strictly speaking not a flying wing as it has a pair of vertical tail-fins, but hey-ho, I'm blending bending the rules.
It is damn pretty though.
https://www.airbus.com/newsroom/stories/Imagine-travelling-in-this-blended-wing-body-aircraft.html
 

feinman

Account Retired
Joined
Nov 25, 2013
Messages
2,766
Rather like some of the Star Trek hardware, that looks like a prediction that could well come true.
Until people get used to spotting aircraft like this, I can see them spawning a lot of UFO reports (or indeed claims that previous sightings were brief time slips into the 21st century):

View attachment 34819
"One of the UFO cases investigated by the U.S. Air Force was a sighting by famous aeronautical engineer Clarence “Kelly” Johnson. Johnson was the first team leader of Lockheed Skunk Works, the team responsible for developing super secret high tech airplanes, who eventually took up residence at Area 51."

"I should state that for at least five years I have definitely believed in the possibility that flying saucers exist — this in spite of a good deal of kidding from my technical associates. Having seen this particular object on December 16th, I am now more firmly convinced than ever that such devices exist, and I have some highly technical converts in this belief as of that date. "

Kelly-Johnson-UFO-Drawings.jpg


http://www.openminds.tv/multiple-witness-ufo-sighting-top-secret-aircraft-engineer-1953/28560

440px-ClarenceLeonardKellyJohnson.jpg

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kelly_Johnson_(engineer)
 
Last edited:

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,673
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
No wonder they never bothered making one - not enough crew members.
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,673
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
Bel Geddes "Airliner No.4"
It does beg the question...."What happened to airliners 1, 2 and 3?"
Were they not big enough?
Did they not remember to include the space for a swimming pool and a tennis court?
 

Nosmo King

I'm not a cat
Joined
Jan 10, 2021
Messages
7,550
It does beg the question...."What happened to airliners 1, 2 and 3?"
Were they not big enough?
Did they not remember to include the space for a swimming pool and a tennis court?
Idk if you were joking abou the tennis courts, but it was designed to have 4 plus many other wondrous things.

"Main Lounge 36 ft high, 9 decks, 3 Kitchens, 13 pantries, writing rooms, 2 public dining rooms, (the main dining room converts into a dance floor for 100 couples), orchestra platform, 3 private dining rooms capable of feeding 40 people, 4 deck tennis courts, 6 shuffle board courts, 6 quoits pitches, library, 1 gym with dressing rooms and showers, 1 men's Solarium w/16 couches and a masseur, 1 womens Solarium w/16 couches and a masseuse, 1 children’s playroom, 1 doctors office with waiting room, barber shop, hairdressers salon, 2 bars, 1 store, 1 huge promenade deck, 1 Veranda Cafe seats 90, 18 single state rooms, 81 double state rooms, 24 suites w/ baths, 179 sleeping rooms, air-conditioning through out, and 155 crew members, from cooks to bus boys."

https://flyawaysimulation.com/news/3322/
 

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,673
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
Idk if you were joking abou the tennis courts,
Hahaha yes I was joking!
But only 2 bars? What were they thinking? I'd never get on an aeroplane which only had 2 bars.
 
  • Like
Reactions: RaM

Trevp666

It was like that when I got here.........honest!!!
Joined
May 29, 2009
Messages
9,673
Location
Welwyn Garden City (but oddly, not an actual city)
Aaah good plan I hadn't thought of that.
Also I guess that if the bars were closed you could still get a pint in one of the dining rooms or the café, or (at a push) a nip of something medicinal from the doctors.
 

Amergin

Foundation and Umpire
Joined
Aug 13, 2020
Messages
253
Bel Geddes "Airliner No.4" was a remarkably futuristic design concept for 1929!

View attachment 44812

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Airliner_Number_4

I have his industrial design book “Horizons”, definitely worth seeking out. And a couple of his chrome soda siphons.

Airliner Number 4 here was very much more of a “sky ship” than a plane. As I understand it, the wing-profile engine platform would actually contain mechanical workshops and whole spare engines that could be swapped out mid-flight in case of mechanical failure. And don’t get me started in the sun-deck, tennis courts, shopping malls...

There are also designs for flying cars, very advanced flying wing racing planes with jet power (this is between the wars remember) and a monoplane with contra-rotating dual propellers.
 
Top