VIDEO: Boeing’s all-new advanced pulsjet VTOL aircraft concept

Let’s say you really, really want to pick up 30 tons of something and drop it off in the middle of a field somewhere, but you think a helicopter the size of an A400M and a hybrid airship the size of a football field are a little too impractical. What do you do?

Boeing apparently has an answer to this problem: an Advanced Pulsejet vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft, which Google reveals is being actively assessed (see slide 12) by the US military’s Transportation Command.

I found the corporate video posted above on YouTube this morning. It was posted there about one week ago. It reveals a whole new class of cargo aircraft technology, with applications for sea-based, land-based and unmanned approaches. Any new technology invites skepticism, which is of course a healthy reaction for any serious industry. But try to keep an open mind, and let me know what you think – pro’s, con’s, feasibility, risk, etc.


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12 Responses to VIDEO: Boeing’s all-new advanced pulsjet VTOL aircraft concept

  1. J 22 July, 2011 at 6:11 pm #


    Note the program terminology used around minute 5 of the video: AMC-X, FCS, etc all old terms. This video must be more than a few years old.

  2. Rapier 22 July, 2011 at 7:14 pm #

    “Caricato da mechsimdotcom in data 12/lug/2011″

    Not too old …..

  3. sferrin 22 July, 2011 at 7:20 pm #

    Pulsejets? One trip near civilization would kill that idea dead. (Pulsejets are NOISY.)

  4. Ian 22 July, 2011 at 7:45 pm #

    J is probably correct. Remember this being touted in the early ’00s, but haven’t heard anything on the concept since.

  5. jetcal1 22 July, 2011 at 9:06 pm #

    If it was anything but the pulsejets, I’d say it died a quiet death.
    (H/T sferrin)

  6. Znapel 22 July, 2011 at 10:39 pm #

    Found a story about this dating back to 2007, which linked to a patent filed in 2002 and published in 2004. Everything was pretty bad CG as well, to date it more. If they had the idea almost 10 years ago, makes ya wonder… Did it not go anywhere? Couldn’t fund it? Make it work? Seems like a neat concept, it would be a shame if it didn’t get at least a little work.

  7. Ed Hart 23 July, 2011 at 4:41 am #

    Not likely to work.
    Do the math on the mass flow required to make this vehicle hover, and I am sure we will see that there is no way to pull that much air into the inlets and accelerate it enough to meet the lift requirement.
    And as sferrin mentions, the acoustic load on the airframe would be staggering, even with active timing control to better control acoustics.
    I suspect someone at Boeing was better at doing computer graphics than propulsion math….but when someone did the math, the idea was pulled.

  8. Mike Hirschberg 23 July, 2011 at 2:18 pm #

    Boeing’s work on this goes back 10 years. I think 2004 or 2005 was the last I saw of it. The patent was files in 2002:

  9. Amicus Curiae 23 July, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

    Add this to the V/STOL wheel of misfortune as a new category: Separate cruise and lift systems/Lift engines using ejectors.
    Have ejectors ever failed to dissappoint?

  10. campbell 23 July, 2011 at 5:57 pm #

    Seems a majority of negative comments; with which I concur. As fuel costs are major military concern, how much would this technology require? offhand; to much.

    Perhaps joined with Lighter-than-Air may be more do-able.

    However; a note: your aside to “hybrid” airships is telling; so called “hybrid”(s) still require runways, even with touted hovercraft landing systems, which in turn are susceptible to damage from ingesting objects (as landing on an unprepped field would necessarily involve).

    Boeing is also promoting an thermal augmented airship idea, to which they might tie this PETA pulsejet.

  11. JJ 25 July, 2011 at 8:24 am #

    Nice video Mr Trimble.Could this technology be used to replace the liftfan in the F 35?What is the T/W ratio of this pulsejet?

    Also it would be interesting to see to combine a pulsejet with a scramjet.For transiting from pulse to scarmjet speed you might need some sort of rocket engine to assist.Could be a nice alternative to the Trijet concept from Aerojet.


  12. AirShowFan 25 July, 2011 at 6:11 pm #

    Good grief, a pulsejet-powered VTOL aircraft able to lift 30 tons straight up? When they test this thing at Moses Lake, we’ll be able to hear it all the way over here at Everett…

    But if the noise issues are surmountable, then it could work. Pulsejets are indeed a pretty cheap way to get a lot of thrust. The fact that they require a lot of fuel, and that most designs include some parts with very short lives, won’t cause problems if they are only to be used for a few seconds around takeoff and landing. Of course, the airplane would have to be very heavy and use a lot of fuel to fly around carrying the payload and many many tons of dormant pulsejets, but the fuel efficiency numbers would probably not be worse than an equivalently-sized helicopter.

    That having been said, there is a long history of aircraft that accomplished VTOL by using dedicated lift engines, and none of them ever made it past the prototype stage (except the Yak-38, which had some pretty bad numbers, along the lines of “50 built, 15 crashed”). Google the Short SC.1, Mirage III-V, Dassault Balzac, Dornier Do31, VFW 191, Lockheed XV-4, and Ryan XV-5. It would be cool if Boeing’s supersized Do31 gets built…

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