Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Why use a whole plane when you can fly one wing?

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1946

A U.S. Army Air Force XB-35 flies over Los Angeles.

Image: Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone/Getty Images

Since the days of the Wright Brothers, aviation engineers have experimented with the concept of a “flying wing” — a tailless fixed-wing aircraft with no definite fuselage. All the components and cargo of the plane are contained within the wing itself.

By eliminating every surface and feature that is not a lift-providing wing, the flying wing is, in theory at least, the most aerodynamic and efficient design possible.

In practice, however, without the stabilizing and controlling surfaces typical of a conventional fixed-wing aircraft, flying wings are very difficult to control Read more...

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