If You Thought Rutan's Planes Looked Odd

Then let me introduce you to the vacuplane.

According to this site the developer was the son of the guy who invented the ice cream cone.

Hmm, I thought Broomstick would find this interesting at the very least.

I’m interested. I’m interested in pretty much any unusual flying machine you can name.

I opened this thread thinking there was a new plane in the works.

I note that Rutan is pretty rare in the aviation field, in that his odd designs seem to work (although he does not have many more production models than such folks as Custer and his Channel Wing design).

Well, here’s some pics of the designs he’s working on for Virgin Galactic.

Yes, she is, but she also has this thing called a “job” that interferes with the important parts of her life like the Straight Dope. :smiley:

Will read up on this and comment, as I have time.

Well, obviously there’s only one thing to do: Get a new job! :wink:

I actually am looking would you believe it?

Anyhow, about the goofy airplane… Not sure if you could call something form 1935 “new”. Certainly is strange, though.

I can’t recall ever being in an airplane that will “nose dive, side slip, or tailspin” under ordinary (presumably straight and level) circumstances, and most of what I fly tends to want to “right” itself. So that concept is hardly limited to this aircraft.

Huh. Well, is that the cruise speed or the landing speed or some other speed? Anyhoo… at that weight it may be stable but it’s also going to be tossed around in the least bit of turbulence or chop.

Given this was the era of Piper Cubs and Taylorcrafts, 96 mph was a fairly average speed.

Well, that is a noble goal, but since he doesn’t give a landing speed it’s not possible for me to judge whether or not it’s slow enough to really make a difference

I am not an expert in aerodynamics (maybe one will be along soon) but it’s my poor understanding of the forces involved that a boundary layer is actually required and it is the loss or separation of a boundary layer from the wing that leads to loss of lift and a stall.

It’s an early ultralight!

Well, I have a couple questions/comments here. I’m wondering if the “baffles” act somewhat like the STOL kits installed on small airplanes, which interfere somewhat with the boundary layer on a wing to keep it “stuck on” at high angles of attack, allowing slower airspeeds without inducing a stall. The angle of incidence in the drawings also make me wonder along those lines, but I’m going more by intuition here than a deep understanding of aerodynamics. It would certainly slow the plane down in the air.

As for stability - you want stability in an airplane, but not too much or manuvering starts to become difficult. This may be a case of valuing straight-and-level over all other modes. I think perhaps all the stabilzing fins and what not have more to do with its stability than the novel wing design.

One item that is used these days are the “plates” on the ends of the wings which do reduce the induced drag of wingtip vortices. You see variations on them on everything from bush planes in the artic to large passenger jets.

I think, perhaps, this flies at all because of the amount of conventional wingspace (that is, with an unbroken upper surface) around the “baffles” along with a high-lift construction and not so much from the “vacuum cells”

Um… is there an aerodynamicist in the house…? Would like a more qualified opinion than just mine to comment on this.