Compact Personal Aircraft
A Compact Personal Aircraft
Introducing the “Vent” Compact Personal Aircraft or CPA (Patent Pending), a novel improvement over its ancestor, the multi-rotor drone, that achieves a five fold increase in flight time during non-hover flight maneuvers. The observation that much of a typical multi-rotor drone flight time is spent in the horizontal velocity flight maneuver, is self evident. Much research has culmination in an aircraft architectural solution combining both VTOL capability of the helicopter and high fuel efficiency of fixed-wing aircraft, together in the same compact planar area footprint of the multi-rotor drone.
The global market for commercial applications of drone technology, currently estimated at about $2 billion, is forecast to accelerate to $127 billion by 2020, according to consulting group PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP. The unique utility and appearance of the CPA, comprising a novel high lift multi-wing assembly, positions the CPA for brand recognition in its own exclusive market segment.
The CPA's attitude control system comprises a 800Hz bandwidth capable control loop residing side by side with the full computational and telemetry communications capability of the Linux operating system. Most importantly however, the CPA architecture will be the object of the ensuing discussion, as primarily, it poses the most relevant applicability to the purposes of the GeniusNY business incubator competition.
Contemporary rotary wing aircraft like the helicopter and co-planar multi-rotor, multi-copter aircraft alike such as the typical quad-copter suffer nonlinear inefficiencies during both hover and non-hover horizontal flight conditions. In the specific case of co-planar multi-copter type aircraft, much inefficiency results from the use of small diameter fixed pitch rotors, and overall rotor efficiency is impaired relative to the traditional large diameter variable pitch helicopter rotor, with peak efficiency occurring near a single RPM.
Traditional rotary wing aircraft in general suffer from common high aerodynamic drag inefficiencies incurred, during the lifting of high mass payloads relative to the aircraft's power to weight ration, at high horizontal air velocities. When such capability is required the designer of a heavy lifting helicopter must resort to expensive large diameter rotors and a similarly expensive and complicated, high drag rotor hub. In general aviation, the task of lifting high mass payloads are left to the much more suitable airplane. In short, rotary wing aircraft excel at hovering, but suffer extremely poor fuel efficiency when lifting and transporting a payload with horizontal air velocity.
Fixed-wing aircraft mitigate rotary wing inefficiencies incurred at high horizontal air velocities and enable the lifting of high mass payloads by overcoming the significantly lower induced drag incurred in moving a comparatively lower velocity, high lift generating, low drag coefficient airfoil in the direction of aircraft motion. Together with a reduced power output propulsion system, the combination results in an aircraft with much diminished overall induced drag and therefore significantly higher fuel efficiency than that of the typical multi-rotor drone.
MITIGATED MANUFACTURING COMPLEXITY, MAINTENANCE AND COST
The CPA architecture combines advantageous features of both the multi-rotor drone and fixed-wing aircraft together in a consolidated air frame configuration. Consider the high mechanical complexity of the helicopter tilt-rotor or the VTOL airplane's tilt-wing or tilt-rotor assemblies. These mechanically complex structures comprise numerous individual components, incurring both high manufacture and maintenance costs. The absence of dynamic airfoil control surfaces on an optimal number of a plurality of parallel wings of the CPA multi-wing assembly, absent associated mechanical linkages, servo actuators and control systems, provides for mechanical simplicity with diminished associated manufacture and maintainance costs. The CPA achieves both VTOL capability just as a multi-rotor drone with the additional benefit of high fuel efficiency of fixed-wing aircraft during horizontal flight maneuvers.
OPTIMUM NUMBER OF PARALLEL MULTI-WINGS
Although the CPA may appear similar to preexisting mono-wing or bi-wing VTOL aircraft, the incorporation of a multi-wing assembly comprising an optimally much larger plurality of parallel wings, affords the CPA aircraft embodiment extraordinary performance characteristics over competing VTOL aircraft. Benefits of the CPA embodiment can be summarized as follows.
HIGH FUEL EFFICIENCY
The CPA is ideally suited to long horizontal distance and duration flight plans such as in agricultural crop inspection, farming and reconnaissance application where VTOL operation is required for close proximity inspection but where high fuel efficiency during horizontal flight would be advantageous. Additionally it is envisaged that the CPA would find great operational utility within space constrained urban environments, for manned personnel transportation where the helicopter is currently the monopolistic mode of choice.
ENHANCED STABILITY AND CONTROLABILITY
The CPA architecture affords enhanced stability and controllability during VTOL maneuvers. An optimization of the number of parallel wings comprizing the aircraft's multi-wing assembly results in the minimization of wing planform cord, thus providing enhanced wind gust insensitive VTOL capability.
DYNAMIC FUSELAGE ORIENTATION
The CPA architecture provides for a high degree of accessibility of the fuselage and its interior. The CPA is imbued with dynamically adjustable fuselage orientation ability such that when the CPA is stationary on the ground, the fuselage floor may be oriented so as to be essentially resting horizontally at ground level thus permitting convenient accessibility of a fuselage interior cockpit, cabin or other payload compartment, from the exterior.
Dynamically adjustable fuselage orientation also provides for a high external field-of-view optical visibility with high temporal availability from within the fuselage interior, regardless the operational orientation of the multi-wing assembly.
MANNED AND UNMANNED APPLICABILITY
The CPA architecture can be scaled up for manned applications of the technology. The applicability to a manned semi autonomous embodiment is perhaps the most interesting characteristic of the CPA architecture. As previously mentioned, the helicopter is not very fuel efficient during horizontal flight conditions. In contrast the CPA achieves very high fuel efficiency under such conditions. In addition, the CPA has an extremely compact VTOL footprint providing its suitability to planar horizontal area constrained environments such as the typical helicopter landing pad found atop urban high-rise buildings or hospitals and providing the CPA excellent storage ability. These features are not found on preexisting mono or bi-wing multi-rotor drone aircraft with their very long wing spans, precluding them from engaging with space constrained compact landing footprints.
These aforementioned characteristics are not simultaneously present in either conventional contemporary winged or wingless multi-rotor, tilt-wing, tilt-rotor or fixed-wing aircraft.