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Flying Wing Airplane


Investigations of Technologies, Critical for Implementing an Airplane of Flying Wing Type with Superhigh Seating Capacity

Tech Area / Field

  • SAT-AER/Aeronautics/Space, Aircraft and Surface Transportation

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Meyer U

Leading Institute
Central Aerodynamic Institute, Russia, Moscow reg., Zhukovsky


  • DaimlerChrysler Aerospace (Satellites), Germany, Friedrichshafen\nBoeing Company, USA, CA, Long Beach\nNASA / Lengley Research Center, USA, VA, Hampton\nAIRBUS Industrie / ET Engineering Directorate, France, Blagnac

Project summary

The purpose of the project is defining critical technologies of a flying-wing airplane with superhigh seating capacity. These are:

- Assessment of possible cruise and take off and landing aerodynamic characteristics on the basis of theoretical and experimental investigations in TsAGFs wind tunnels;

- Researches of stability and control characteristics, including studies light simulators;

- Generation of a structural concept in the area of center-wing section, calculation of stress-strained state with using the finite element method;

- Studies of interference between the powerpant mounted over the upper surface and airplane airframe through experimental methods with wind-tunnel simulating engine jets;

- Generation of the passenger cabin in the center-wing section with due regard for the requirements of FAR-25.

Within recent years a considerable progress has been achieved in improving aerodynamic efficiency of transport airplanes. The main technique used for improving the lift-to-drag ratio was the development of supercritical wings, which made it possible to increase the thickness and aspect ratios of the wing. Another method for increasing the

L/D ratio is reduction of the relative wetted surface S ws, that is, reduction of the airplane surface area to the wing area ratio, which can be realized to a maximum degree in an airplane using flying-wing concept where the passengers and cargoes are fully or partially accommodated in the center-wing section. The relative wetted surface of a conventional configuration airplane Sws is 5-6, while for a flying-wing configuration Sws =2.3-2.5.

Such a decrease in Sws results in the growth of the L/D ratio by 25 % and corresponding improvement in fuel efficiency.

The advantages of a flying-wing configuration ( lower fuel consumption and operating costs against a conventional airplane ) can be realized in airplanes of large seating capacity.

There is a number of conceptual designs for superhigh capacity airplanes of a conventional configuration: A3 XX ( Airbus Industry ) , B-787 ( Boeing ), Deutsche Aerospace concepts.

In the course of investigations of airplanes with superhigh seating capacity considered were also flying-wing designs ( Aerospatiale - 1989 , Deutsche Aerospace -1990, McDonnell Douglas - 1995 , Airbus Industry - 1995 ).

Since the mid-80s TsAGI has been conducting researches, aimed at revealing possible advantages of flying-wing airplanes. A preliminary estimate of the flying wing effectiveness as compared with a conventional airplane has shown that it is possible to reduce considerably the fuel consumption per pass/mile (up to 20 %) and decrease the direct operating costs.

However the full-scale development of a flying-wing design requires that a profound study be carried out for a number of the above-listed "critical technologies" characteristic of this configuration. The main output, that is intended to be achieved in the course of the work fulfillment, would be a stock of accumulated scientific and technical solutions enabling practical designing of airplanes in a flying-wing configuration with a low risk.

When carrying out the works, it is reasonable that some foreign aircraft manufacturers should participate in defining possible airplane variants to be investigated and in discussing the results.


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