My entry to a NASA competition

Discussion in 'General Science & Technology' started by fedr808, Mar 21, 2010.

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  1. fedr808 1100101 Valued Senior Member

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    Hey you guys.

    I recently entered a NASA competition and have already submitted my work (ergo, before to kill any assumptions Im not asking for advice because it is a week too late)

    But the competition was to create a VTOL aircraft that can cruise around 300+ knots, land on water or land, carry about 55 people, and can be made to fight wildfires.

    Here is my entry in case you guys want to read (all nine pages of it:p)

    V- 36 Kingfisher II
    The idea of vertical flight is one of the oldest dreams, dating back to Da Vinci’s own design for a vertical takeoff aircraft. Once the dream of vertical flight had been realized through Sikorsky’s helicopters, the shortcomings of the helicopter became apparent, a helicopter could not go faster than 250 miles per hour and most helicopters cannot reach that speed under full power. So inventors looked back to the airplane for a solution and they tried to make a sort of hybrid between the helicopter and the airplane, and the idea of a plane that could land and take off vertically and cruise at very high speeds became realized.
    Early inventors tried many different designs, from planes that would take off with their tales being used as a sort of landing gear to land on the tail of the plane vertically, to the tilt wing and tilt rotor. The most successful of these designs is the V-22 Osprey. But even the Osprey isn’t a perfect design. It is a very complex aircraft whose design and testing was plagued with bad luck and many accidents. But since it is the first of its type it would of course have problems, many new ideas trip on their first steps, but if they keep walking they will soon run to greatness. The problem with the V-22 is that it is being designed like the conventional twin engine plane. This works for horizontal flight where what you need is a combination of engines powerful enough to keep the plane flying even in difficult situations, and wings big enough to provide the lift. The problem is that this does not work so well for vertical flight of an aircraft of that size.
    These are the problems which the V-36 will solve. The plane is 20 feet longer than the Osprey from head to tail. That means from head to tail the V-36 seventy seven feet in length. The body of the aircraft is thirteen feet wide for the main interior space and twenty feet at the widest point on the outside. The wings are fifty two feet in length from tip to tip; these wings are slightly larger than those on the V-22 Osprey which are forty five feet in length. The wings are also six feet wide at the edge of the wings where the nacelles are place and the back of the wing tapers outwards to eight feet at the point that is midpoint between each nacelle and the center of the plane. This extra space is for room for the two pontoons which fold out from under the wing located at the point two thirds the length of the distance between the nacelles and the body. The wings are placed eighteen feet from the back of the cockpit. There is a winch and door on either side of the body of the aircraft directly below the wing, the doors will open upwards and out from the cabin, the hinges will be placed half a foot from the bottom of the wings. After the doors are opened they will be locked in place; attached to the sides of each door is a heavy duty winch which can be used to help rescue people or secure rafts to the side of the V-36 when it has landed on water. The placement of the winches means that the wings will protect survivors being raised by the winches out of the water from the rotor wash of the main propellers. The design and shape of the lower hull shares similarities to the PBY Catalina of World War 2 and was partially inspired because of the great success that amphibious plane had. Although the boat shaped hull on the V-36 is not as exaggerated as that of the Catalina because large fuel tanks placed at either side of the plane’s hull protrude slightly out of the hull about three feet and look almost like ellipses if viewed from the side. They are each twenty four feet long, although the actual fuel tank inside of the structure doesn’t take up all of the space because it reserves some of that space for pockets of gas to help with the buoyancy of the overall aircraft in the water. One of the nice things about these large tanks is that they are located in such a way that the doors on either side of the plane below the wings can open up right above these fuel tanks use the fuel tanks as a sort of small dock for small rubber boats to pull up to the V-36 and transport people or materials. These tanks can even be refueled from these small boats with auxiliary fuel caps on the tanks. A fuel valve isolates the tanks in the wings from these tanks on the hull; that way the tanks in the wings can be used first by the engines in order to keep the plane from being top heavy.
    The placement of the wings allows for a unique feature which was created to solve one of the big problems with the V-22 regarding the efficiency of the vertical take offs and landings because the wings of the V-22 caused a 10% loss in thrust from the engines during vertical take offs and landings. That ten percent can mean the difference by saving more people in fewer trips and in faster times. The solution to have sliding plates in the wings, each nacelle has a plate located three feet away along the center of the wing, and each plate is four and a half feet in width and nine feet in length. There is a plate located on the top and the bottom of the wing and between each set of plates is just the emergency drive shaft that connects the two nacelles in case of emergency failure in case one of the engines fails so the other can power both. When the plane begins to shift to vertical flight the upper and lower plates will protrude outwards from the wing about half an inch and will slide towards the center of the body of the aircraft and lock in place allowing air being pushed downwards to go through the hole created by the removal of the plates. This means that the amount of thrust lost due to the wings can be decreased by four or five percent and may even decrease by as much as seven percent. One of the obvious questions is why not just tilt the entire wing instead of having removable plates? The reason why the military decided to not tilt the entire wing of the V-22 rather than just the engines was because than the plane’s ability to perform short take offs and landings was greatly reduced from having wings that are purely vertical or at an angle. Thus the sliding plates can solve the problem of efficiency in vertical flight while retaining the ability of vertical takeoff and landing. The overall cost of the V-36 will be more expensive than the V-22 but not by a large margin. The reason why is because even with the addition of a turbofan engine and several major design changes, the V-36 has no need for much of the military hardware such as armor plating or guns so it can be kept lighter than the V-22 Osprey.
    Another very unique feature of the V-36 among tilt rotors and tilt wings is its revolutionary tail system. Rather than having a solid tail like most planes it has a double boom tail, more commonly known as a twin boom type tail, at the back of the roof of the cabin are attached two heavy duty beams. Each one is spaced 10 feet apart and each one is in the shape of a vertical ellipse if you were to take a cross section from the rear view. In this view on the horizontal they are each two feet wide and on the vertical they are 4 feet long. Ten feet below the bases of each boom will be a diagonal support structure which will have a metal shaft connected to the boom at ten feet from the body of the plane to the boom. The empty space between the shafts and the booms will be covered with thin aluminum sheets. This will give the booms significantly increased strength and stability. In addition two feet from the body of the aircraft to the booms there will be a horizontal “wing” which is reinforced to keep the booms stable and strong. These two booms extend backwards thirteen feet. At that point each boom will have a small vertical stabilizer about three feet high, two feet long, and at the tip of each stabilizer will be a horizontal wing connecting the two vertical stabilizers that is one and a half feet wide. This will keep the two booms from shaking excessively. At the ends of each boom there will be a larger horizontal stabilizer that will be six feet long from tip to boom, and four feet wide from the back of the stabilizer to the front. The stabilizers will not be sloped but rather rectangular so that the width at the end of the stabilizers will also be four feet. What makes this tail structure the most unique part of the V-36 is what sits in between the booms. Ten feet from the body of the aircraft is a turbofan engine which is placed in between the two booms. It will be contained in a special housing which will be placed on two very thick rotating shafts connecting the engine to the booms. There will also be a large motor inside the body of the aircraft connected to two heavy duty drive belts each one running inside one of the booms, they will be connected to the shafts that attach the turbofan engine to the boom. These will be used to tilt the turbofan engine. The shafts that connect the turbofan engine to the twin booms will be hollow; this will allow fuel pipes to be threaded through the shafts and into the engine housing to be connected to the engine.
    The biggest problem faced with the V-22 Osprey or any tilt rotor is stability; helicopters have their rotors placed closest to their center of gravity with a few exceptions like the Chinook. But the Chinook still has its rotors placed symmetrically along the middle of its center of gravity. The problem is that the V-22’s engines are not placed in any such way. So if the aircraft does any sort of intense maneuvering while in vertical flight, or gets pushed off balance, at some point the aircraft’s engines cannot correct the planes balance soon enough and the effects can be disastrous. These problems have not been solved in the V-22 as much as protocols have been put in place in the computers to keep the pilot from being able to put the aircraft in that sort of danger. But in an environment that is less than favorable you would see many ospreys losing stability because of very bad weather. The V-36 solves this problem with the addition of the turbofan engine at the back, when that engine tilts vertically with the two other turboprops at the wing you get greatly enhanced stability. The reason why is if you were to draw an imaginary line between the engines you would get a triangle. This is significant because it greatly increases the overall stability of the aircraft. In a V-22 osprey if for whatever reason the aircraft is moving too quickly forwards while tilting the nose downwards at a steep angle the chances of the engines losing control and ability to restabilize the aircraft is greatly reduced. The turbofan engine at the back of the V-36 acts not just as a source of extra thrust but as a source of stability. If the pilots tilt the aircraft too far forward, than they would lower the thrust of the back engine and the plane will naturally tilt back into even flight. Same thing would happen with the roll of the aircraft. But this isn’t just for emergencies; this could also be used for normal vertical flight. A normal helicopter steers by tilting its body and its rotors in the direction it wants to go. The problem with the Osprey is that while in vertical flight it cannot tilt too far for safety reasons. A V-36 can tilt much farther without losing control of the aircraft. A common example is landing at high speed. A helicopter can approach the landing area going very fast and before it lands it will flare its pitch upwards (relative to the nose) so the rotor will be pointing the thrust down wards and forwards, slowing it’s horizontal and vertical speed significantly. The ideal angle would be forty five degrees so you have an equal amount of thrust going downwards as you do forwards. The V-22 cannot do this as efficiently as a helicopter because it needs to begin the tilt of the pitch of the nose sooner in order to counteract the speed it is going at. A V-22 may also not want to tilt at such a high angle (forty five degrees) in order to remain stable. A V-36 with the turbofan engine at the back can not only deliver more thrust to slow its speed, it can also hit that ideal angle, and it can also pitch back to the normal horizontal angle of flat flight (zero degrees pitch) much more quickly than the V-22 Osprey. This means it can get closer to the landing area before having to pitch upwards (relative to the nose) and it can also stay in that angle of descent for a longer period of time before having to return to a horizontal pitch for landing.
    As far as horizontal flight speed goes, the V-36 surpasses any tilt rotor or helicopter. A normal tilt rotor can only go as fast as its rotors can pull the plane. The V-22 not only has the same rotor assembly and engine assembly as the V-22, but the addition of its turbofan engine greatly increases the range and the speed of the V-36. The dream of the tilt rotor is to have a plane that can take off and land vertically and also fly significantly faster than a helicopter. The V-22 was the first generation of tilt rotors to go into full production. The V-36 isn’t designed to beat the V-22, but it is meant to create an entirely new generation of tilt rotor based aircraft. It is designed to be bigger, carry more, land on water, go faster, and fly farther than any of the tilt rotors that preceded it.
    The hurricane that devastated New Orleans is a prime example of why we need to have tilt rotor aircraft in our nation’s inventory. A tilt rotor aircraft can move people and supplies much faster than a helicopter can. The only problem is that the V-22 Osprey cannot carry that many more people than a large rescue helicopter. The V-36 solves this problem with the addition of a third engine at the back of the aircraft which gives the aircraft a much larger capacity than a V-22 Osprey. It also enables the aircraft to fly faster than the V-22 Osprey can. If the V-36 was available during the hurricane Katrina tragedy it would have saved just as many if not more lives than the other rescue systems used. There are a number of reasons why. One of them is that it has three engines, two rotors and one turbofan, which gives it more stability than a normal VTOL aircraft and it can fly faster than a normal helicopter. This means it can evacuate the injured and hurt much faster and more effectively. Because of the fact that it can land on water the V-36 could fly into New Orleans, pick up survivors, and actually land on the Mississippi river and have rescue boats pick up the survivors from the V-36’s and take them to shore. This means that the distance it would have to move the survivors would be much lower, so while a V-22 would have to transit between the city and an airfield possibly miles away, a V-36 only needs to transit a mile or two at the most. This amphibious ability would also enable the V-36 to work with US ships like the USS Comfort (a Red Cross ship). These ships can only take aboard people two ways, either from land based ports, or from a helipad on the ship. If possible though they can take patients onboard through the use of large doors just above the waterline (from 5 to 10 feet) which are usually used for resupplying the ship, yet a small boat can pull up and deliver patients. If the patient needs serious care immediately, the V-36 can land on the helipad much faster than a normal helicopter can because of the extra engines, the V-36 can fly faster in vertical flight and retain the same level of control. Imagine a small fleet of V-36’s, they would fly into the city and either find places to land on the water, or use their winches to pick up survivors, and if they pick up survivors in need of medical attention than they will fly a small couple of miles to the river where the V-36 will land. After landing on the water a small boat will come up to the plane, take the survivors in need of medical treatment back to the USS Comfort, and the V-36 can take off again and carry any other passengers not in need of immediate care directly to a temporary airbase. The advantage of this is because normal non amphibious helicopters can only drop off patients one helicopter at a time, this means that the only patients allowed on board via the helipad will have to be in a life threatening condition, and even then there would be a line of helicopters waiting to drop off their patients. This still makes the patients who have less serious injuries take uncomfortably long ride to an airbase and the helicopters are not nearly as fast as a V-36. The V-36 can also facilitate unloading patients from the USS Comfort to avoid overcrowding after the patients are ready to be moved, you could have V-36’s pick up patients either through the use of the helipad or through the use of the side doors of the USS Comfort.
    If a V-36 were permanently assigned to hospital ships like the USS Comfort or her sister ship, the USS Mercy, they could drastically improve their abilities to save countless lives. A V-36 means that they could take on supplies much faster than through the use of any helicopter. And while yes, there are helicopters that can carry approximately as much if not more cargo, in the time it takes one of those helicopters to deliver supplies and return to base, the V-36 could make that trip several times. This also means that evacuating patients from farther inland than a traditional port is much, much faster than with a traditional tilt rotor like the V-22 or helicopter. The V-36 can carry more patients than the V-22 and at the same time, fly faster than any other helicopter in the world. This would be a medical dream for doctors onboard those ships, moving patients faster than ever and providing better care farther inland. An even better way to improve the effectiveness of the V-36’s is to have a fuel tanker nearby, probably a naval tanker where the V-36’s can refuel from smaller boats assigned to the naval tanker that have refueling tanks on board. This would mean that the V-36’s, with a rotating crew, can be operated indefinitely on humanitarian missions. Another feature is that the V-36 has a cargo ramp at the back similar to the ones on the Chinook and the cargo space is large enough to carry small rubber rafts to deploy. These would be ideal in cases like hurricane Katrina in order to recover survivors. Although moving people on the rafts into the V-36 is preferably done through the use of the two side doors under the wings.
    In the recent earthquake in Haiti one of the major problems faced was the low capacity of the airport in order to deliver supplies. The V-36 could have made a massive contribution to this because all it needs is literally space large enough to fit the plane and for that space to be flat. It can land on rivers or on flat patches of ground. A fleet of V-36’s could land at fields in Haiti rather than the airport and could have delivered just as many if not, more supplies than the planes landing at the airport just because more V-36’s could be landed, offloaded, and flown back to the states or even to ships off the beach. They could also have been used to transport survivors needing critical help to hospitals much faster than a helicopter could. Just a few dozen V-36 could make a massive amount of difference to the earthquake relief effort in landing doctors, supplies, and food and water to the citizens of Haiti. Because of its unique ability to land in either water or on land the V-36 is not limited by conventional airports or airfields and in this way they won’t take up the precious space in these airports but they can also unload supplies just as effectively.
    If a ship is in danger either because of a storm or because of some other reason the V-36 is the best machine for the job. If the immediate danger to the ship is minimal and the conditions ideal the V-36 can land on the water and can send out a raft to ferry over people from the ship. This also works well if the ship has sunk but the crew and passengers are in life rafts. Depending on how many people they need to retrieve multiple V-36’s can be used for the job. But since conditions are rarely ideal the V-36’s three engines provide the muscle for dealing for bad weather and other such problems. In rough seas the V-36 can hover over the ship and the crew will open one or both of the side doors of the plane which will than lock in place once fully opened. On the ceiling of the main cabin next to each door will be two bars that will be held an inch below the ceiling. This bar will be so that the crew operating the winches can have a safety harness on that will be hooked to these bars. This provides a level of safety to the rescuers so that they can stand closer to the edge of the door or use the securing harness for extra strength when pulling a survivor into the cabin. What is unique from most if not all other rescue aircraft is that the V-36 has two winches for which to save survivors. This translates to a significant increase in the rate in which the rescuers can save the survivors. And in bad weather conditions this can mean the difference between life and death for many of the crew or passengers of the ship. The large capacity of the V-36 to carry fifty to sixty people means that it can carry many more people than other rescue helicopters like the CH-53 Sea Stallion which can carry a little under forty people. This means fewer trips between the ship and the main base to drop off survivors. And the triple engines mean that the V-36 can commute that distance in a fraction of the time it takes another helicopter. The space on the V-36 means that a medical doctor or nurse can be brought aboard along with supplies to treat survivors. And with the electrical generator for the aircraft hooked up to the shafts connecting the two turboprop engines on the wings there is more than enough power for any medical equipment. One of the most necessary things needed which would be hooked up to the electrical system in these rescues will be electrical blankets and heaters. The biggest immediate danger too many victims that are rescued is hypothermia, and with the use of electrical heaters and electrical blankets in the cabin for the survivors will mean the difference between a minor trip to the hospital, a long road to recovery, or even death for some.

    With some modification the v-36 can even be equipped for firefighting roles. The interior space can be used to hold large water pumps and water tanks that would fit inside. These large capacity tanks could either be filled at a water pumping station on land or the V-36 can land and a retractable hose will be put into the water and the water pumps will pump the water into the tanks. The V-36 would be equipped with three water cannons, one at the rear ramp and two attached to the side doors in place of the winches. This means that the V-36 can cover a very large amount of ground with water and rush back to a nearby river or water station to pick up more water. The ability to fill up the tank from a ground location means it can also be filled with foam which is even more effective at controlling fires than water is. The V-36’s ability to hover with a high degree of control means it can provide a more stable platform to fight fires while hovering in the air than other solutions. Even though a helicopter can remain as stable if not more so than a V-36, it’s water carrying capacity is severely reduced. The V-36 helps to bridge that gap.

    The V-36 is an aircraft built to change the way we think about modern day tilt rotor aircraft. It can fly faster, fly farther, and lift more than any other tilt rotor in operation and it can hover with a very high degree of stability. The V-36’s three engines will provide the owner with a high degree of capability and with the ability to refit the V-36 for any role desired. The V-36 is built to fill in the gap between the speed and cargo carrying abilities of modern airplanes with the vertical flight and versatility of a helicopter to create a very effective new aircraft.


    PS. I named it "Kingfisher II" because one of the birds in the kingfisher family is the largest bird capable of hovering in the air, and the designation "II" because there was a prior aircraft named the Kingfisher.

    And I named it V-36 because 1. The osprey had the designation "V", and 2.) because 4 times 9 equals thirty six (I still have no idea why I decided to do that)


    And also, slightly off topic but i just noticed that the B-52's number "52", is twice the number of the B-26, does anyone know if that is coincidence or some designer figured it would be twice as good?
     
  2. Dywyddyr Penguinaciously duckalicious. Valued Senior Member

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    I'll give this a thorough read-through and comment later but...
    You can't :p: the number is assigned sequentially (by the DoD I think). I think it's been done twice in the history of the USAF where a manufacturer's choice has been accepted for designation, but off the top of my head I can't list them at the moment.

    Nope, see above. It was the 52nd bomber design in sequence. Part of the Tri-Service Designation series.
     
  3. Read-Only Valued Senior Member

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    I believe the famous Bell X-1 was one of those cases because there was no "X" predecessor. Incidentally, the X-1 was originally designated "XS-1" which represented "Experimental Supersonic."
     
  4. fedr808 1100101 Valued Senior Member

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    oh crud I forgot.

    It's not a military aircraft.

    It's meant for use for rescueing civilians and other things like that. It's not really supposed to have a military purpose so the DoD really wouldn't be the one choosing the name.

    At the same time, I can't exactly name it the "Boeing V-36" for obvious reasons and if I labelled it <lastname>-36 it would seem self centered.
     
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