Subscribe free to our newsletters via your
. 24/7 Space News .


Subscribe free to our newsletters via your




















AEROSPACE
DARPA Announces VTOL X-Plane Phase 2 Design
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Mar 04, 2016


Aurora's Phase 2 design for VTOL X-Plane envisions an unmanned aircraft with two large rear wings and two smaller front canards-short winglets mounted near the nose of the aircraft. A turboshaft engine-one used in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft-mounted in the fuselage would provide 3 megawatts (4,000 horsepower) of electrical power, the equivalent of an average commercial wind turbine.

For decades, aircraft designers seeking to improve vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) capabilities have endured a substantial set of interrelated challenges. Dozens of attempts have been made to increase top speed without sacrificing range, efficiency or the ability to do useful work, with each effort struggling or failing in one way or another.

DARPA's VTOL Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program aims to overcome these challenges through innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies and by developing and integrating novel subsystems to enable radical improvements in vertical and cruising flight capabilities. In an important step toward that goal, DARPA has awarded the Phase 2 contract for VTOL X-Plane to Aurora Flight Sciences.

"Just when we thought it had all been done before, the Aurora team found room for invention-truly new elements of engineering and technology that show enormous promise for demonstration on actual flight vehicles," said Ashish Bagai, DARPA program manager. "This is an extremely novel approach," Bagai said of the selected design.

"It will be very challenging to demonstrate, but it has the potential to move the technology needle the farthest and provide some of the greatest spinoff opportunities for other vertical flight and aviation products."

VTOL X-Plane seeks to develop a technology demonstrator that could:

+ Achieve a top sustained flight speed of 300 kt to 400 kt

+ Raise aircraft hover efficiency from 60 percent to at least 75 percent

+ Present a more favorable cruise lift-to-drag ratio of at least 10, up from 5-6

+ Carry a useful load of at least 40 percent of the vehicle's projected gross weight of 10,000-12,000 pounds

Aurora's Phase 2 design for VTOL X-Plane envisions an unmanned aircraft with two large rear wings and two smaller front canards-short winglets mounted near the nose of the aircraft. A turboshaft engine-one used in V-22 Osprey tiltrotor aircraft-mounted in the fuselage would provide 3 megawatts (4,000 horsepower) of electrical power, the equivalent of an average commercial wind turbine.

The engine would drive 24 ducted fans, nine integrated into each wing and three inside each canard. Both the wings and the canards would rotate to direct fan thrust as needed: rearward for forward flight, downward for hovering and at angles during transition between the two.

The design envisions an aircraft that could fly fast and far, hover when needed and accomplish diverse missions without the need for prepared landing areas. While the technology demonstrator would be unmanned, the technologies that VTOL X-Plane intends to develop could apply equally well to manned aircraft. The program has the goal of performing flight tests in the 2018 timeframe.

Aurora's unique design is only possible through advances in technology over the past 60 years, in fields such as air vehicle and aeromechanics design and testing, adaptive and reconfigurable control systems, and highly integrated designs. It would also be impossible with the classical mechanical drive systems used in today's vertical lift aircraft, Bagai said.

The Phase 2 design addresses in innovative ways many longstanding technical obstacles, the biggest of which is that the design characteristics that enable good hovering capabilities are completely different from those that enable fast forward flight. Among the revolutionary design advances to be incorporated in the technology demonstrator:

+ Electric power generation and distribution systems to enable multiple fans and transmission-agnostic air vehicle designs

+ Modularized, cellular aerodynamic wing design with integrated propulsion to enable the wings to perform efficiently in forward flight, hover and when transitioning between them

+ Overactuated flight control systems that could change the thrust of each fan to increase maneuverability and efficiency

"This VTOL X-plane won't be in volume production in the next few years but is important for the future capabilities it could enable," Bagai said. "Imagine electric aircraft that are more quiet, fuel-efficient and adaptable and are capable of runway-independent operations. We want to open up whole new design and mission spaces freed from prior constraints, and enable new VTOL aircraft systems and subsystems."

Image Caption: DARPA's Vertical Takeoff and Landing Experimental Plane (VTOL X-Plane) program seeks to provide innovative cross-pollination between fixed-wing and rotary-wing technologies and develop and integrate novel subsystems to enable radical improvements in vertical and cruising flight capabilities. In an important step toward that goal, DARPA has awarded the Phase 2 contract for VTOL X-Plane to Aurora Flight Sciences. Click below for high-resolution images.

.


Related Links
Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency
Aerospace News at SpaceMart.com






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle

Previous Report
AEROSPACE
NASA Begins Work to Build a Quieter Supersonic Passenger Jet
Hampton VA (SPX) Mar 01, 2016
The return of supersonic passenger air travel is one step closer to reality with NASA's award of a contract for the preliminary design of a "low boom" flight demonstration aircraft. This is the first in a series of 'X-planes' in NASA's New Aviation Horizons initiative, introduced in the agency's Fiscal Year 2017 budget. NASA Administrator Charles Bolden announced the award at an event Mond ... read more


AEROSPACE
NASA May Return to Moon, But Only After Cutting Off ISS

Lunar love: When science meets artistry

New Lunar Exhibit Features NASA's Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter Imagery

NASA releases strange 'music' heard by 1969 astronauts

AEROSPACE
MAVEN Observes Mars Moon Phobos in the Mid- and Far-Ultraviolet

SSL developing robotic sample handling assembly for Mars 2020

Monster volcano gave Mars extreme makeover: study

Rover begins contact science of rock target on Knudsen Ridge

AEROSPACE
Launch America: Suni Williams on Commercial Crew

Orion Solar Array Wing Deployment Test is a Success

Orion launch abort motor case passes structural qualification test

Former Marine astronaut leading flight plans for NASA's mission

AEROSPACE
China to Launch Over 100 Long March Rockets Within Five Years

Moving in to Tiangong 2

Logistics Rule on Tiangong 2

China to launch second space lab Tiangong-2 in Q3

AEROSPACE
International Space Station's '1-year crew' returns to Earth

Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko return to Earth after One-Year Mission

Paragon wins NASA ISS water processor development contract

NASA's Science Command Post Supports Scott Kelly's Year In Space

AEROSPACE
At last second, SpaceX delays satellite launch again

Arianespace Soyuz to launch 2 Galileo satellites in May

SpaceX postpones rocket launch again

Russian rocket engines ban could leave US space program in limbo

AEROSPACE
Imaging Technique May Help Discover Earth-Like Planets Around Other Stars

Newly discovered planet in the Hyades cluster could shed light on planetary evolution

Imaging technique may help discover Earth-like planets

Longest-Lasting Stellar Eclipse Discovered

AEROSPACE
New NIST method may find elusive flaws in medical implants and spacecraft

Spacepath Communications creates new joint venture with Polarity in US

Chinese firm abandons acquisition over US scrutiny

Bone research could yield stronger synthetic materials




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News








The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2016 - Space Media Network. All websites are published in Australia and are solely subject to Australian law and governed by Fair Use principals for news reporting and research purposes. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA news reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement, agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement All images and articles appearing on Space Media Network have been edited or digitally altered in some way. Any requests to remove copyright material will be acted upon in a timely and appropriate manner. Any attempt to extort money from Space Media Network will be ignored and reported to Australian Law Enforcement Agencies as a potential case of financial fraud involving the use of a telephonic carriage device or postal service.