09 Feb Fractaling Canard Winglets for Stability Control
We all know that canards or frontal horizontal stabilizers are nothing new to aviation despite how futuristic aircraft like the Beechcraft Starship, Rutan Varieze, or Piaggio twin business jet look. In fact, the Wright Brothers Flyer had frontal stabilizers if you will recall. Now then, what if I suggest that we could take that entire concept and the 100+ years of aviation that followed and further modified the canards on today’s aircraft? Let’s talk.
You see, many high performance jet fighter aircraft have canards, many have swept canards, a must if you wish to break the sound barrier or reach a “super cruise” flight envelope. If we could make a few changes we might find ourselves greatly improving performance, perhaps we might even be able to do this without increasing the radar signature. Before I explain this concept, please read the following research paper:
“The Application of Variable Cant Angle Winglets for Morphing Aircraft Control,” by P. Bourdin, A. Gatto, and M.I. Friswell (AIAA 2006-3660).
In the conclusion of the paper it states; “The investigated concept of variable-cant-angle winglets appears to be a promising alternative to conventional control surfaces such as ailerons, elevators and rudders as far as basic maneuvers are concerned. Numerical and experimental studies showed that such adaptive winglets enable control moments about multiple axes, forming then a highly coupled flight control system; this is in contrast with conventional control surfaces which form a decoupled control system. However, a single pair of adaptive winglets cannot substitute for all the conventional control surfaces at the same time if one wants to get a full control envelope.”
It appears to me that we should be using canards and protrusions to develop vortex flows where we want them, and eliminating where we don’t. By doing this we can increase the lift over the wings and allow the winglets to effortless flow through the air with the least amount of drag. Sure NASA, and defense contractors (not just here but around the world) have done lots of research here, still, it is my contention that we need to do more, try out new combinations and then re-adjust our CAD CAM fluid dynamic models and really run some of the new designs we come up with more scrutiny.
Indeed, I think what we will find are incredible gains instability, aerodynamic control, fluid dynamic efficiencies, and fuel cost savings. In fact, I’d bet on it, and that’s why I put my name on this article. If you’d care to take this conversation to a higher level, please shoot me an email, but in the meantime, please consider all this and think on it.