Triad Lift and Propulsion Design with Dynamic Center of Gravity for Horizontal Airplane Flight

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“One of the greatest challenges of the past half century for aerodynamics engineers has been how to increase the top speeds of aircraft that take off and land vertically without compromising the aircraft's lift to power in hover or its efficiency during long-range flight.” DARPA

Triad Lift and Propulsion Design with Dynamic CG is a technology that will maintain an aircraft’s flight control while changing from rotor blade lift for vertical (helicopter) flight to wing supported flight for horizontal (airplane) flight, and back to vertical flight. This capability uses the advantages of both the helicopter to eliminate runways and of the airplane to capture high speed flight; all within in a single airframe. This action will occur by physically moving and controlling the aircraft’s Center of Gravity location and thereby successfully altering the flight mode. During takeoff, thrust lifts the helicopter vertically upward. In horizontal flight, the same thrust is repositioned to propel the airplane forward. The transformation is accomplished by strategically designing, placing and physically moving essential aircraft equipment (engine, propeller, generators, motors, attachment devices) and their weight which in turn relocates the aircraft’s Center of Gravity. Longitudinal control is the function of the “fully-trimable” forward wing. This invention is scalable from a small Unmanned Aerial Vehicle to a full sized manned aircraft.

Major design points that “drive” VHX’s full flight range
- Take-off and land vertically
- Fly horizontally at fixed winged aircraft speeds
- Superior distance and endurance with inflight refueling option

In illustration FIG. 1, during aircraft vertical takeoff and landing, propellers 1, 2, 3 are positioned in the vertical lift position and this 1, 2, 3 form marks the end points of a triangle. Inside this designed triangle is located the aircraft’s Center of Gravity.

Further illustrated in FIG. 4, is the continuation of the transformation with arm 7, the tail mounted engine 5 and propeller 2 moving upward and forward. The motors and propellers 1, 3 are further rotated toward horizontal flight. The aircraft’s Center of Gravity approaches or is located over the Center of Lift. Aircraft lift is being generated by the horizontal stabilizer 10 and the main wing 8 while the forward wing 9 continues to generate either positive or negative forces as required for longitudinal control.

In FIG 5, the aircraft has gained horizontal flight, with propellers 1, 2, 3 generating forward thrust. Arm 7 is at or near perpendicular to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft. Forward wing 9 is now generating upward lift and the horizontal stabilizer 10 is controlling the longitudinal axis. Normal airplane flight controls and force inputs are employed.

Unmanned Aircraft Mission Capability
- Wildfire Discovery and Suppression.
- Law Enforcement. ? Homeland Security.
- Search and Rescue Missions.
- Unmanned Combat Air Vehicle (UCAV).
- High Value Targets Protection such as embassies, conveys, airfields, harbors, towns and military outposts plus critical cough points.
- Navy’s Unmanned Carrier Launched Airborne Surveillance and Strike UAV.
- Heavy Lift Autonomous and Unmanned Aerial Cargo Movement.


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  • Name:
    Ennis Sullivan
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  • Ennis's favorite design and analysis tools:
    Computer - SolidWorks
  • For managing CAD data Ennis's company uses:
    SolidWorks PDMWorks Enterprise
  • Ennis's hobbies and activities:
    Design, flying, walking, 21 speed bike
  • Ennis belongs to these online communities:
    Transportation blogs
  • Ennis is inspired by:
    Aviation design and force structures.

    Former student of Professor R. (Bucky) Fuller, the designer of the "Geodesic Dome".
  • Software used for this entry:
    Adobe Illustrator
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