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Thread: Ducted fan aircraft

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    Ducted fan aircraft

    In a lot of RC aircraft an electric or gas ducted fan is used as a source of propulsion. Hypothetically could a small aircraft piston motor be used to create a life sized ducted fan style system for a small aircraft? Or would that engine not be capable of high enough rpm/torque levels to create enough thrust.

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    Moderator Topaz's Avatar
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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    The short answer is that it can be done, but there will be some performance penalties. We've discussed this subject at length in several threads, so looking it up using the forum's search function should bring all that detailed information to light.
    "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry James Thoreau
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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    The slightly less short answer is that model airplane engines develop insane power to weight ratios so you can do things that simply can't be scaled up to larger aircraft. Analogous scaling factors also apply to structures; models are proportionally much lighter than full size aircraft so less power is required.

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Dana View Post
    The slightly less short answer is that model airplane engines develop insane power to weight ratios so you can do things that simply can't be scaled up to larger aircraft. Analogous scaling factors also apply to structures; models are proportionally much lighter than full size aircraft so less power is required.

    -Dana

    The difference between theory and practice is that, in theory, there is no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.
    That ps just blew my mind thanks for the input

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by Topaz View Post
    The short answer is that it can be done, but there will be some performance penalties. We've discussed this subject at length in several threads, so looking it up using the forum's search function should bring all that detailed information to light.
    Awesome thanks I'm new to this forum but I'll definitely take a look at some of those other threads - for me performance isn't really much of a concern. My main issue is whether or not it would be capable of sustained flight. I have a little experience piloting and I'm a decent fabricator but I wouldn't trust anything I built at any altitude higher than 15-20ft. I live on a bay and I'm basically looking at making a small craft that could fly just above the water...the slower the better

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    How about this > Video Gallery : Universal Hovercraft, The World Leader in Hovercraft Technology

    Looks like it could be a lot of fun, and it's definitely within your altitude range.

    Ducted fan aircraft-flying-hovercraft-07.jpg

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Yes that's almost exactly what I had in mind - is that flying with the assistance of the downward facing hovercraft fan or just the rear fan?

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Dana is right, based on my research a typical RC DF has a weight to power ratio of 1 - 5 Lbs per HP.
    sonex1649 likes this.
    ...If you forget this, you will be subjected to a four phase aeronautical process that dates back to the early 1900ís. Stall, spin, crash and burn. Phase 4 requires some amount of fuel on board at time of impact.

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by LBarron View Post
    How about this > Video Gallery : Universal Hovercraft, The World Leader in Hovercraft Technology Looks like it could be a lot of fun, and it's definitely within your altitude range.
    The Universal Hovercraft that's shown in the picture is an actual hovercraft, supplemented by a fabric low aspect ratio wing. The fabric is suspended between two tubes (one at the leading edge and one at the trailing edge) and essentially forms its own airfoil section. When it's not moving the fabric hangs limp. There are or two similar designs (one I'm thinking of is from New Zealand) that are configured as this one but they use actual foam inserts that provide an established and predictable section shape.

    When operating as a hovercraft, there is a fan that blows downward, filling the skirt when the craft is on the surface (it's the big hole in front of the windshield).

    The design came under quite a bit of criticism, especially from those that are familiar with wing in ground-effect flight, as there was no evidence of actual design or analysis work on this design. It was apparently developed through trial and error and as such, no-one can answer how safe the design actually is as there are no specifics as to the craft's capabilities or limitations. Despite that however, the craft is being marketed as a plans built, to the public.

    A similar endeavor by another individual (almost identical configuration) displayed sufficient evidence of instability that that program was immediately halted and removed from public view.

    The idea does look like a lot of fun but for most folks that have experience in this form of flight, there is a sizable element of risk and as such, I've mostly heard cautious warnings for those interested in heading in this direction.

    One minor note - this really doesn't qualify as a ducted fan - it is more a shrouded prop, which quiets the craft's operation and if properly designed, the shroud does increase the prop efficiency and does provide for an increased static thrust rating.
    "To live is to learn; to learn is to live" (author unknown)

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by jthunt View Post
    I have a little experience piloting and I'm a decent fabricator but I wouldn't trust anything I built at any altitude higher than 15-20ft. I live on a bay and I'm basically looking at making a small craft that could fly just above the water...the slower the better
    You can get just as dead in a crash from 15-20' as you can from higher up...

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    I won't argue that but I think my odds aren't too bad flying low over water

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by jthunt View Post
    I won't argue that but I think my odds aren't too bad flying low over water
    You'd be surprised. At flight speeds, water can be mighty hard. You're much safer at altitude, where there's nothing to hit at all, and you have a chance to bail out under 'chute, if you're carrying one.
    "If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them." - Henry James Thoreau
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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft


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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    I won't argue that but I think my odds aren't too bad flying low over water
    Tell that to the 8% or so of folks who die in plane crashes whose cause of death was drowning. From a blunt trauma perspective, a hard ditching or uncontrolled low-altitude flop into the water is just as dangerous as an impact into solid ground. In some ways, it's more dangerous because the aircraft tends to "dig in" more and come to a much more abrupt stop than it would say sliding into a muddy cornfield.

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    Re: Ducted fan aircraft

    Quote Originally Posted by henryk View Post
    No wonder Fantrainer goes 556 km/h at 420 shp.

    There is also Optica; Edgley Optica - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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