|VTOL "SYCAMORE" Drone Concept
The "Sycamore" unmanned aircraft concept is a novel approach (at least to my knowledge) to providing both vertical take-off and landing and
performance comparable to a fixed wing aircraft, all in the same package.
The Sycamore uses its entire body as a rotor during take-off (vertical flight shown in slow motion). Thus, vertical take-off does not require an
external rotor or a thrust/weight ratio greater than one. When this UAV reaches a safe altitude, it transitions to horizontal flight as seen in the video.
Landing is the same sequence in reverse. The retractable landing gear ends in a simple rubber ball. When the engines are stopped, a dolly
supports the aircraft on the ground.
Below are some technical issues that need to be addressed in order to make this concept a reality.
Front and tail control surfaces need to be able to pivot
on two axes in order to generate lift and provide
stabilization during vertical and horizontal flight and
Wing has to change shape in flight in order to provide
optimum performance (lift / drag) in both directions.
Fuselage has to be flat and shaped with top camber in
order to provide lift and generate only minimal drag
during rotating flight.
Engines need to pivot through 180 degrees while
The Sycamore will be unstable by nature, due to its front/back symmetry and center of gravity being situated near the center of lift. The CG will shift forward
slightly when the landing gear retracts into the front half of the fuselage for horizontal flight. The flight controls will have to be constantly adjusted by the
on-board computers during all stages of flight.
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Sycamore VTOL unmanned aircraft concept, copyright 2009 Mihai Pruna. Use media only with author permission.
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