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Designing a Smaller, Lighter Airplane Tail

The project focuses on a major source of in-flight inefficiency: the airplane’s tail. If an airplane doesn't lose an engine, the tail is not a critical control surface. ( More...

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Cord Peterson 2
I would imagine this would lower the max x wind limitations as well. Thus making it less appealing to airlines/operators.
siriusloon -4
Why would you imagine such a thing? The idea is to make something light and smaller that is still as effective.
linbb 5
Would be very hard to do so and maintain cross wind control at lower airspeeds its very simple the less of some items on an AC the less control you have.
Andrew Duncan 2
I'm curious about these "air jets." I would assume they operate off engine bleed air, which in the event of an engine failure, is unavailable and therefore further reduces the effectiveness of the tail.
Ric Wernicke 3
While conservation is essential to both esthetics and economics I don't see any reason to declare the vertical stabilizer a "non-critical control surface." Most airplanes make it through life without using the fire extinguisher, the RAT, or navigation solely with a Breitling and a magnetic compass, however, I would not want to fly without all of those onboard.

Saving fuel is strictly economic. There is no shortage of fossil fuel. It is made by continuous process by the sun and earth in amounts that humans can never fully consume.

If a smaller lighter tail can be developed that does not affect the ability to fly the plane with an engine out, I say go for it.

The article talks a lot about increasing the speed of the plane. That is a wasted effort. Even the failed Concorde was essentially stopped from reaching full potential because of the speed of sound and the sonic boom of supersonic aircraft. Some designs have been proposed to inhibit the boom, but not has advanced beyond conception. Even at Mach 2 the time saved is not really going to change anyone's life. You can already get anywhere in a day. What will change the world is the ability to go anywhere in 20 to 90 minutes with a space plane. London to Sydney in 90 minutes huge. Cutting 4 hours off the current flight time is next to worthless.
siriusloon 2
Actually, some business people did take advantage of being able to cross the pond, do business, and return the same day. Just because the time saved makes no difference to your life doesn't mean that applies to everyone else, too.

Perhaps more oil and coal is being made by the earth, but none of us will live long enough to be here when it's ready. It takes a while and it is, therefore, irrelevant.

Comparing the tail to a fire extinguisher, etc is specious. The article is not suggesting doing away with it, it's about making a smaller, lighter one. If a fire extinguisher could be made smaller and lighter while still being as effective as the current version, would you really want to keep the larger, heavier one? (And in case you missed the point here, too, note that I said "while still being as effective as the current version".)
zennermd 2
The problem with what you are arguing is they state it is just as effective as long as you don't lose an engine. They describe how losing an engine is very rare now days, but when it does, I would still like to be able to control the airplane.
linbb 1
No more rare than years ago if you follow crashes due to an engine failing on a twin. So it would do no good or are they thinking, shoot the odds and hope it doesn't happen. No different than someone flying a twin with a normal tail figuring the same thing look at the recent crashes. They almost all involve loosing control due to airspeed, wings seen waggling and such.
ltcjra 1
I wondered if people took time to read the articles posted. You have convinced me that some do. Good arguments Ric.
N5827P 0
Absolutely stupid teaser. Go ahead and try to fly a glider (no engine) with no tail. Instant crash. Obviously written by someone who knows nothing of flight. To be honest the idea of a multi-engine plane with a lighter vertical stabilizer would be efficient IF the tail were as strong. And remember, engine failures are very rare, until one happens to you.


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