Blade Flyer


The "Blade Flyer" is the hub, blades, engines and vanes, exclusive of any payload. The "vehicle" is the combination of a Blade Flyer and its payload with or without an equipment module or payload orientation device.

The blades freely rotate about their quarter chord axle. There are no actuators between the hub and blades. The blade flaps and slats control angle of attack (flap pulse) as well as camber. The blades are thick and rigid -- more like rotating wings than helicopter blades.

The engines freely rotate about their center of gravity. There are no actuators between the engines and blades. Their rigidly affixed vanes orient the engines into the dominant air flow, be it due to rotation or translation.

It was originally envisioned that the blades would have pressure distribution sensors and computers fast enough to determine the optimum blade configuration, and actuate the slats and flaps to achieve the lift requested by the flight path Perturbation Computer in addition to that required by the Level Flight Computer. Subsequently, the simpler and less demanding digital lift approach in which analytical and empirical techniques are used to predefine blade configurations for small lift increments was selected. The resulting incremental lift table is used by each Blade Computer to configure its blade to satisfy the demands of the Perturbation and Level Flight Computers.

Transition is stimulated when the translation velocity exceeds the rotation velocity of the retreating engine vane. Then the retreating engine vane orients its engine into the vehicle direction, countering rotation, reducing lift due to rotation, and reducing translation due to rotation, while increasing translation with engine thrust. During transition, the engines wobble back and forth from the perspective of their axis, ideally always swinging through the arc with the nozzle down to provide lift with each rotation.

The retreating blade increases camber and angle of attack, and the advancing blade decreases camber and angle of attack to avoid roll.

The advancing blade will continue to generate lift from some combination of translation and rotation, regardless of rotation. If the advancing blade generates enough lift to sustain the vehicle in level flight, and the thrust of one engine is sufficient to accelerate the vehicle in level flight despite its drag, the only problem is roll, because the retreating engine is retarding rotation and contributing to translation the moment its vane translation velocity exceeds its rotation velocity. The retreating blade can compensate for roll with lift due to rotation with high camber and angle of attack until its rotation speed is canceled by its translation speed. Then the retreating engine thrust could be deflected to provide the compensating lift necessary to avoid roll, and enable transition without a loss of altitude. Catalytic thrusters or RALS could be used in addition to or in lieu of thrust deflection to counter roll.

Assuming the engine and vane moment of inertia is less than the blade moment of inertia, and the vane aerodynamic moment is large enough, the engine and vane will flip in the direction of vehicle travel first. It may take a number of revolutions before the retreating blade experiences enough translation flow to do so. This behavior is a function of the size and shape the vane (aerodynamic center relative to engine pivot axis).

The Blade Flyer must anticipate the last rotation, and use differential thrust and/or vane split flap drag to stop rotation with the blade chord aligned with the vehicle direction, and subsequently control yaw during conventional flight with differential vane split flap drag (unless the four-blade configuration is used).

Contact: Bill Holmes via email or 661-305-9465

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