NASA unveils new … (wait for it) … tailsitter!!! [Updated w/video]

Nasa tailsitter.JPGPhoto: Daily Press



A NASA-led engineering team is unveiling a new aircraft design at an American Helicopter Society event in San Francisco. The 2pm PST presentation is entitled “aerodynamic and acoustic design of a low-noise tail-sitter“. The aircraft was profiled briefly this morning by the Daily Press newspaper, in NASA-Langley’s nearby city of Hampton, Virginia. Unfortunately, there’s not a lot of detail yet.

I haven’t seen a tailsitter seriously pursued since the Skunk Works’ legendary founder Kelly Johnson canceled the XFV-1. He apparently decided trying to land a plane looking straight up is not exactly practical.

I wonder how NASA’s team intends to solve that problem.

Update: NASA released a video of the “Puffin” Personal Air Vehicle about two months ago. The video shows how NASA intends to solve the classic tailsitter landing problem. The pilot is standing upright on landing, rather than looking straight up at the sky. (h/t: Commenter Urban)

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13 Responses to NASA unveils new … (wait for it) … tailsitter!!! [Updated w/video]

  1. aeroxavier 20 January, 2010 at 8:15 pm #

    omg wtf

  2. Herkeng130 20 January, 2010 at 8:19 pm #

    This is at the same conference where they talked half an hour on Converting a C-130 Hercules into a Compound Helicopter: A Conceptual Design
    (FACE PALM)

  3. Stephen Trimble 20 January, 2010 at 8:23 pm #

    Good lord you’re right! Compound Herc!

  4. Bjørnar Bolsøy 20 January, 2010 at 8:39 pm #

    Great looking thing, although I’m inclined to favor ducted props for added safety.

    B. Bolsøy
    Oslo

  5. Urban 20 January, 2010 at 9:19 pm #

    This is from a flight sim thread, but it does give insights regarding the control of this aircraft:

    http://forums.x-plane.org/index.php?showtopic=42092

  6. EG 20 January, 2010 at 9:53 pm #

    I haven’t seen a tailsitter seriously pursued since the Skunk Works’ legendary founder Kelly Johnson canceled the XFV-1.
    - Stephen Trimble
    Wow, I don’t think any of us knew you’re that old.

    Looks kind of like a cross between the BA-606 and the Northrop XP-79 with some XFV-1 in the tail.

    Maybe we’ll see a new Triebflügel concept next.

  7. Dave 20 January, 2010 at 11:52 pm #

    Cool, but it’s probably never going to be practical even if they manage to get it to work…

  8. Marcelo 21 January, 2010 at 1:39 am #

    This design brings thoughts like…

    Cross wind take-offs and landings are out of question;
    Neck ache after long flights;
    Accidents due to clastrophobia panic.

  9. puppethead 21 January, 2010 at 3:06 am #

    re: EG – Looks kind of like a cross between the BA-609 and the Northrop XP-79 with some XFV-1 in the tail. Maybe we’ll see a new Triebflügel concept next.

    With a healty dose of Pond Racer!

  10. EG 21 January, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    PH,
    Great catch. Although I am curious about the battery technology.
    I wonder if Capt Eric Brown is still around and what he would think of this concept, He flew the prone Gloster Meteor way back when.

  11. 7K7 21 January, 2010 at 7:04 pm #

    Comment about neck ache seconded :-D

  12. Sundog 28 January, 2010 at 4:18 am #

    FYI, Kelly Johnson’s tail sitter wasn’t anywhere near as successful as Convair’s Pogo and the main reason it, the turboprop tail sitter, was abandoned was due to little power margin and landing was difficult with the instruments of the time. This could easily be overcome with today’s technology.

  13. Deana Cuffie 10 June, 2010 at 8:51 pm #

    Ciao. Grande post . Non mi aspettavo questo su un Mercoledì. Questo è un grande storia. Grazie!

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