Flying Delivery Truck which gets 60 miles per gallon

No Bernoulli Lift at All, All Reaction Lift

This peculiar aircraft only flies at 20 mph to minimize turbulence and drag losses! It needs no roads!

Imagine a very inexpensive unmanned aircraft, only costing on the order of $200 or 200 Euros, which can carry a full 55-gallon drum of jet fuel (around 450 pounds or 200 kilograms) a distance of 600 miles or 1000 km while only consuming around 10 gallons or 40 liters of gasoline. For supplying any Military equipment, a line of 100 such (unmanned) aircraft could deliver 5500 gallons of fuel to a distant need, a full tanker semi-truckload, at a cost of only around $40 (each) of conventional gasoline, and where there is never any danger to drivers in dangerous areas or where there are no roads.

Imagine a shorter line of four such inexpensive aircraft (less than $1000 total construction cost), two of which are each carrying 500 plastic bottles of pure drinking water and the other two of which are each carrying 500 MREs (Meals Ready to Eat) in plastic wrappers. These are also unmanned flying craft that can carry their cargos for 300 miles or 500 km, then dump 100 water bottles and 100 MREs from around 2000 ft or 700 m altitude, over each of 20 remote villages. The food and water would drift down and spread out on the way down to the ground, where many dozens of families might collect a few containers of food and water for their family. After dumping the 100 MREs and 100 water bottles over each of 20 separate remote villages, the line of aircraft would turn around and return to the airport, using up the remaining gasoline to return. This could be done every day. NO pilots would ever be in any danger as there would be no pilots. No truck drivers would be in danger of being highjacked or kidnapped, and no terrorists would know where any brightly marked trucks are trying to drive on poor roads to steal half the food and water to sell it. Instead of costing $150,000 for a truck and trailer, and $300 for diesel fuel and $500 for drivers' wages, this only involves $1000 to build the four unmanned aircraft, and $160 for gasoline and no cost for any human. The effort would be amazingly less expensive AND it would not put any human drivers in any danger!

Imagine news of a remote natural disaster such as an earthquake, a tsunami, a volcanic eruption, massive landslides, etc. WITHIN MINUTES, it would be possible to load up food, water, medicine, blankets, sleeping bags and more and send a line of such aircraft toward devastated areas. Parachutes might be attached to some items but many of the supplies could just be (remotely) slid off the rear of this small aircraft when a GPS indicated a useful location. Surviving people might get bandages and medicine and food and water within hours of the disaster. Better, a continuous line of such 'flying supply trucks' could be dropping off needed materials to nearly anyone who had radioed or telephoned in a request.

On a more frivolous approach, imagine a person at a County Fair seeming to be sitting on a Flying Carpet, merrily cruising around as desired!

The flying machine described here CANNOT be flown by any human, even an excellent pilot. A computer is absolutely necessary to operate the controls to enable it to be safely stable.

My presentation on Aerodynamic Lift - How Airplanes Fly (Aeronautic Lift) describes the two processes which enable airplanes and other flying devices to safely fly. Nearly all such actual flying machines use a combination of both processes, which are referred to as Bernoulli Lift and Reaction Lift. Bernoulli Lift happens to be naturally STABLE, where a pilot's errors or sudden gusts of wind or other changing conditions tend to self-correct. Reaction Lift happens to be naturally extremely UNSTABLE, where any small change generally rapidly gets far worse and is often dangerous.

The flying machine described here is entirely a Reaction Lift device, and therefore it is extremely unstable at all times. In the early days of aviation, many pilots died as this was being learned, and no one since then has designed any totally Reaction Lift aircraft, with one exception. Aircraft which are designed to be Stealth, that is, nearly invisible on enemy radar, cannot have the curved surfaces of Bernoulli Lift airfoil shapes, and so all exterior surfaces are extremely flat. As a result, no pilot is capable of flying any Stealth aircraft, and only computers can accomplish that goal to fly Stealth airplanes. (The Stealth feature is closely related to the fact that Radar signals must BOUNCE off the body of the target aircraft. Radar receivers are extremely sensitive so they only need a tiny amount of reflected signal to arrive back at the Radar installation to detect an aircraft. A Stealth aircraft does not have the curved surfaces which send reflections to all directions. So, in general, there is no reflected signal that ever gets back to the Radar installation, and no detection of the aircraft occurs. Only very brief and strong reflected signals ever occur, and the briefness of them can occur when the Radar beam is turned a different direction. Therefore, Stealth is accomplished. But the requirement of flat surfaces forces the need to only use Reaction Lift, and since that is so extremely unstable, only a computer can fly any Stealth aircraft.)

The pilot can tell the computer what is desired, but then the computer must then actually do 100% of the flying!

The flying device described here is essentially a large square slab of fiberglas or plastic (FRP) material, which is essentially perfectly flat on both top and bottom. The specific aircraft described here is 7.6 meters square or twenty-five feet by twenty-five feet, a large flat slab. It has three standard bicycle wheels attached to the bottom of it, where the rear bicycle wheel is smaller, so the main surface always leans rearward at about a 6° angle (AOA or angle of attack). This tilt enables it to be able to take off! The rear wheel is also steerable while on the ground. (During takeoff, the craft benefits from Ground Effects which traps air under the surface to add additional lift.) As it rises above the runway and Ground Effects lessens, the onboard computer monitors the orientation of the Lift surface to constantly adjust the rear Elevator and / or the side Ailerons to maintain the desired orientation of the craft.

It includes NO hint of any aerodynamics! It DOES have wide 'flap-like' areas along both sides and the rear edge of the otherwise square shape, which the computer system monitors and adjusts at least 100 times every second.

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This aircraft has terrible efficiency regarding turbulence, so it is never intended to fly faster than 20 mph, or higher than a few hundred feet. It is designed around using a standard lawnmower engine (3.5 horsepower) which spins a small standard propeller which is along the front edge. The propeller shaft is very long, around thirteen feet, in order to get the weight of the engine relatively centered (under) the main surface. There is also cargo area or a chair or a prone-position cushioned area, also centered but on the top of the surface, for the food, water, jet fuel, diesel fuel or passenger.

The computer system has several sensors attached to it, most of which monitor what angle of slope the main surface has at any instant, front-to-back and side-to-side.

We can do a rough calculation regarding how and why this would fly. At the design 20 mph, we have 29.3 feet/second airspeed (9 kph) (V). The air density ρ (rho) (technically Specific Weight) is about 1/420 pound per cubic foot (1.225 kg/m3). Our total surface area (A) is 625 square feet (58 m2 . And the Lift Coefficient (CL) for this surface at a 6 degree Angle-of-Attack is 0.7. (obtained from Theory of Wing Sections)

We know that LIFT = CL * 1/2 * ρ * V2 * A.


So the product of these numbers (English) is 0.5 * 0.7 * 1/420 * 860 * 625 or 450 pounds total lift.

In the Metric System, this is 0.5 * 0.7 * 1.225 kg/m3 * 80 m2/sec2 * 58 m2 or 1990 Newtons or 203 kg, which is also 450 pounds.

The Ground Effects phenomenon adds some extra Lift, especially at very low altitude.

Our presentation on Lift (linked above) contains the math to calculate the new maximum vertical momentum created by the deflected air, which again shows that we are creating enough downward air momentum to provide the upward Lift to support this aircraft and its cargo or passenger, at the 20 mph speed we have specified.

IF the structure is made of fiberglas or PVC, it might weigh 50 pounds. The lawnmower engine might weigh 30 pounds and the computer and controls and wiring might weigh 10 pounds, so if the cargo or passenger weighs 360 pounds, the device would create enough lift at a 6° AOA and at 20 mph, the craft will be able to take off and to fly.

Momentum analysis: We interact with 9 m/sec speed * 7.7 m2 area or 70 m3 of air per second. This is about 85 kg/sec of air we are interacting with. We deflect (all) this 85 kg/sec of air vertically downward (per the process of using Reaction Lift exclusively) with a downward velocity of 9 m/s * sin(12) or 1.9 m/s. Multiplying, this can therefore produce a new downward vertical momentum which represents 162 kg (or 360 pounds) of new vertical down force. Around the edges, some of this air does not get directed straight downward, but orient both ailerons downward like flaps to more completely trap the air under the body, and we thereby are fairly easily providing a vertical Reaction Lift of the roughly 360 pounds. If the cargo is heavier, the computer could adjust the AOA to be 7° to produce greater downward momentum and force (of 420 pounds) or as appropriate that we have been discussing.

At slower speed as it was taking off, the device would have to roll down a pavement surface (on its bicycle wheels) until it got up to near the 20 mph where it would create sufficient vertical Lift to lift up off the ground. Or it could adjust its Elevator to increase the AOA to a greater angle. Once it had gotten up to its cruising speed of 20 mph, with that cargo it would regularly fly at around 6° AOA.

If the cargo was lighter, it could take off at a slower speed, like around 15 mph, and then it could fly at that slower speed OR it could have the computer readjust the AOA angle down to maybe 4°, to be able to maintain a constant altitude for that lighter cargo.

So getting the device to create enough Lift to fly is easy to do. The computer control of the device must then react nearly instantly every time the device tries to tilt in any undesired direction, and to intentionally tilt it as needed to cause gentle turns in the air.

The operation of the computer and the ability to make (gentle) turns involves another discussion.

Given that this craft only flies rather slowly, the amount of Aerodynamic Drag is relatively modest. We can calculate that the Aerodynamic Drag is about 23 pounds at 20 mph, which then consumes around 1.3 horsepower (which the lawnmower engine can supply). Since no wheels are in contact with the ground, there is no Tire Drag. The standard 1/3 gallon capacity of a lawnmower engine, which normally lasts for roughly an hour of mowing at its normal 3600 rpm, should enable the craft to travel for an hour or around 20 miles. That is around 60 miles per gallon of gasoline. This number is an extreme estimate, but the point is that extremely good gas mileage should be realistic.

It seems to me that there might be a wonderful usage of this device as a cargo hauler. It already has computer control, so having it operate as a very slow flying remotely controlled drone aircraft seems easy to do. With the structure being so simple where $200 might enable building one (not counting the obsolete computer!), and if 350 pounds of tomatoes or apples or furniture items were laded on, shipping and delivering costs for many products might be far less than current methods, where trucks, diesel fuel and drivers' wages and traffic can all be eliminated. The freight and delivery might be far faster as well. Of course, the drone craft would need to have a Soccer Field or a clear parking lot or street or equivalent open field to land in!

It turns out that several vaguely similar experimental aircraft were invented during the 1930s. The ARUP S2 and ARUP S4 had extremely wide but stubby wings, where they were extremely safe to fly and they required only very slow takeoff and landing speeds. The NEMETH parachute plane had an even wider wing, where it also was extremely stable and safe to fly and it also needed extremely minimal takeoff and landing speeds.

This one can be pulled by a person on a bicycle to takeoff!

Much more information exists on this invention.

This presentation was first placed on the Internet in August 2012.

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Aircraft-Related presentations in this Domain

Aerodynamic Lift - How Airplanes Fly. The Physics of Aeronautic Lift; Bernoulli Lift and Reaction Lift, including the Equations and the Math. (April 2003)
Non-Metal Airliners in Lightning Storms. Older airliners had metal bodies, where lightning bolts would remain OUTSIDE the aircraft due to the Faraday Cage effect. Modern airliners are not made of metal, to try to save weight. It may be a very dumb idea.. (Dec 2014)
Flying Delivery Truck which gets 60 miles per gallon. Extremely Unstable Flight. (Aug 2012)
Aircraft Tire Preservation - Inexpensive and Simple. Adding simple textured hubcaps to airliner wheels so they naturally upspin when the landing gear is lowered. (Feb 1988)
Food Delivery to Third World Areas. Using older General Aviation Aircraft to robotically deliver Food Aid to remote locations. (Aug 2011)
Efficient Airfoil Flight - Active Surface - TURCAN. A Meta-Stable Method of Actively Reducing Turbulence and Drag around Airfoils. Excellent improvement in aircraft fuel efficiency. (summer 1998)
Stealth Technology for Huge Ocean-Going Ships. Stealth Technology for Huge Ocean-Going Ships. (1990)
600-mph Ocean-Going Fast Ships?. The Possibility of 600 mph sailing ships. (Sept 2012)
Bird Flight - Scientific Analysis of the Efficiency. (Nov 2007)
Making Airliners Safer with Password-Protected Instruments. Cockpit control blackouts. (Sept 12, 2001)
Paper Airplane World Record - Using Natural Advantages. You can certainly beat my 10 minute flight of a paper airplane. (June 2013)

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Carl W. Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Physics Degree from Univ of Chicago