A scale-model flying wing using a canard foreplane to improve take-off performance could be flight tested by next June if students at the UK's Salford University can solve flight control issues.

Begun four years ago, the project culminated in May 2006 with the flight of a hand-launched, remote-controlled flying wing with large vertical winglets, powered by two pusher propellers. With a span of 1.5m (4.91ft) and weighing 2kg (4.4lb) including 500g water payload, this first model had two ailerons operating symmetrically for pitch control and differentially for roll and yaw control.

The next stage is to give the model take-off and landing capability and improved flight control for the planned June 2008 flight. The technical solutions are expected to be a canard and active control of the winglets. "Our model is controllable despite having no fuselage with dedicated stabilisers. However I want us to complete all of the calculations before we move on to that next stage," says project supervisor and engineering lecturer Thurai Rahulan.

The flying wing was designed for stable flight, but this compromised its take-off performance, so the additional lift needed for rotation could be provided by adding a canard to modify wing behaviour. To improve flight control the large vertical winglets need further work to arrest Dutch roll oscillations. Active rudders may become necessary because the longitudinal distance between the centre of gravity and the fins is critical.

Source: Flight International