Posted By RichC on May 10, 2005
Next month I’ll have a chance to personally check out the AMV Aircraft. (well not ‘be’ checked out. 🙂 ) Actually it has been seen as the personal aircraft of the future by some and just another prototype design by others. No matter … I like it.
What is unique is that this small two place personal VTOL aircraft offer the vertical takeoff and landing with the cruising speed of a fixed wing airplane. Designers have been working on this kind of plane for decades; we have yet to see many in current use.
The current AMV-211 Experimental Aircraft uses a Mazda turbocharged rotary engine to power its 5 bladed graphite/kevlar 94″ internal prop that powers the 1240 pounds empty weight plane. It has a cruise speed of 250 mph and a range of 1000 miles on 50 gallons of fuel. The 3000 ft/min designed climb rate could be exceptional for short fields or for the potential 40 foot by 40 foot runway. 🙂 Its two place design is only about 20 feet long by 20 feet wide. Will stabilty be a problem?
What makes this particular design unique is that it uses ducting rather than a ’tilting’ mechanism to change the airflow. By eliminating one of the main elements that have plagued previous VTOL aircraft, the AMV-211 can go from providing lift to providing forward thrust without swiveling the engine.
The VTOL aircraft designer, Attila Melkuti, has solved the problem by having the whole aircraft transisition or turn instead. He does this by using a propulsion system called a ducted fan. This is a propeller with five blades that is encircled by a band made of a light, composite material. That makes the aircraft both safer (because there are no stray propeller blades around) and quieter (because the sound is deadened by the encircling band).
What is novel about Mr Melkuti’s design, is that the aircraft’s wings are placed at an angle to the fan. The wings and the fuselage itself also provides aerodynamic lift offering improved ‘airplane’ flight characteristics including power off emergency landings. The craft takes off with the fan perfectly horizontal, blowing straight down. As the craft then rotates, the wings start providing lift, and the fan starts blowing towards the back. To land, you simply reverse the process.
This aircraft is still in the preliminary stages of testing although has received the FAA airworthiness certificate. Most critics question the stability of the the VTOL design and although it has not been fully tested after some engine cooling redesign, Mr. Melkuti believes that stabilty will be easily controlled through the ducting. We shall see.
Katelyn, “a future Astronaut” 😉 and I will be heading to Chicago in June to personally talk to the designer and learn about the company and design. (who knows where my daughter will “land” someday?) I’ll keep you posted and hopefully bring back some photos. Stay tuned.