# Magnus effect / Flettner wing etc.

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#### Thunderchook

##### Well-Known Member
So, what's the consensus here?
Never gonna happen?

I've seen a number of proposed designs, talking as if they're real, actual working aircraft or, at least, prototypes.
All of them are either models or nothing more than concept art boasting unrealistic performance figures.

Does anyone here have any numbers and/or practical experience with this and/or can give an idea on making something like this work?

Thunderchook.

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
Real Magnus Effect-wing airplanes have flown. The drag of the rotor is enormous, so performance for the power is usually very anemic.

It's a curiosity. "Regular" wings work far better.

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
I believe the FanWing is the latest incarnation. It now appears to primarily be a means of extracting R&D money from European governments. It has flown in large-ish RC versions.
This type of thing might fill a niche someday, but the drag is too high for efficient long-range cruise, so it would be for short haul where VSTOL could be useful. Simpler than a helicopter, but since it lacks true VTOL capability it can't get into those very tightest of urban spots.

#### Thunderchook

##### Well-Known Member
Yup, okay.
I figured that there would be a catch.
I also read that, and in some circumstances, the "wing" can inadvertently and quite suddenly start generating negative lift.

I guess that we're all waiting for battery technology to get to a point where manned quadcopters are competitive with small recreational aircraft?

Until then, it's long flappy wings and large spinning rotor blades.

#### lr27

##### Well-Known Member
I don't think we're all waiting for manned quadcopters. Unless I'm doing it unconsciously. ;-)

I've seen a kite that had rotors instead of wings. They were actually plastic bent, I think, in an s-shape so they would spin. Quite steady, as I recall, but there must have been a lot of drag as the angle of the string was relatively low.

#### Thunderchook

##### Well-Known Member
I don't think we're all waiting for manned quadcopters. Unless I'm doing it unconsciously. ;-)
Yeah, okay, I'll give you that.
But I think that there are a number of us who are wishing, hoping and praying that a technology will be developed that will make access to sustained flight a lot easier.
I long for the day that flying is regarded as trivial and commonplace as getting on a bicycle.
Clearly, fanwings/Magnus effect wings/etc are not the solution.

#### Pops

##### Well-Known Member
Log Member
I built a magnus effect wing control-line model back when I was about 20 years old ( 1959-60) . Yes, very,very high drag. Would make the perfect , take off at 80, climb at 80 and cruise at 80 mph airplane

Dan

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
... I long for the day that flying is regarded as trivial and commonplace as getting on a bicycle....
I dearly hope for that day as well. There are going to be two routes to get there, and I'm starting to get a clear indication of which one will ultimately win out.

Firstly, we can rationalize our flight training system, and the regulatory system that deals with producing new airplanes. See, airplanes are relatively easy to fly. Except for landing, I'd put it easily on par with the skill level necessary to drive a car. Even landing isn't that difficult. But our flight training system emphasizes numbers and rote learning instead of "flying the airplane", and our regulatory system makes it so hard to bring a new type-certificated airplane to market that few new airplanes ever appear, and we're stuck with 50+ year-old designs being market leaders, a situation that really doesn't happen in any other major industry.

Secondly, we can wait for the arrival of largely automated "quadcopter-like" flying machines, which ultimately won't require a pilot's license because the operator will simply enter a destination and the machine will do the rest. Much the way cars are going right now. The technology is already here, excepting the battery/energy-storage technology that gives them useful and practical range and flight duration. The fact that they'll be VTOL is a huge bonus. We may, actually, get the "flying car" of sci-fi legend out of this technology. But you won't be a "pilot", and it won't be like flying an airplane is today.

Me, I like flying an airplane. When I switched from power to gliders, the scales were lifted from my eyes with regard to flight training. It's entirely possible to train a safe and knowledgeable pilot in a training system that emphasizes "flying the airplane" and de-emphasizes numbers and rote procedure. And you get a better pilot faster and cheaper in such a system. The "numbers and systems" knowledge can absolutely be added later for someone who wants to do "serious" cross-country, or ultimately land in a commercial airline job. You don't need that knowledge to safely fly an airplane in the US airspace system.

However, much of the "way forward" in making airplanes into an "everyday travel machine" is clearly in directions the FAA and other regulatory agencies have no desire to go. The recent "revamp" of FAR 23, along with what happened to the "Pilot's Bill of Rights" in actual legislative and regulatory terms makes that very clear to me. The FAA has little taste for pilots independently "driving" their little airplanes around - it's not amenable to bureaucratic regulation and control. Whereas computer-controlled "personal flyers" that take all the control away from the occupant, and automatically transact their flight plan with the FAA's computers, is much nicer to the bureaucratic eye. Oh, the FAA is going to groan and complain and drag their feet, much as they've done on the "drone" question, but ultimately they'll embrace a system that regulates the skies like clockwork.

So, yes, I think that the "quadcopter-like" personal flyer is going to win out, and our piloted airplanes are going to become a niche, not unlike racing antique cars is now. Just the economics of getting a pilot's licence (versus not needing one) is going to make that happen. Right now it takes about $10,000 to get a PPL-SEL from a commercial flight school. If the price differential between a used airplane and "personal flyer" is anywhere near that amount, the public is going to vote with their wallet and go with the automated machine. We're already seeing the vast interest in driverless cars - anyone who thinks the same forces won't be at work in aviation is, I believe, fooling themselves. I don't like it, I don't want it, but I'm also not naive enough to think that it won't happen. #### Pops ##### Well-Known Member Log Member I dearly hope for that day as well. There are going to be two routes to get there, and I'm starting to get a clear indication of which one will ultimately win out. Firstly, we can rationalize our flight training system, and the regulatory system that deals with producing new airplanes. See, airplanes are relatively easy to fly. Except for landing, I'd put it easily on par with the skill level necessary to drive a car. Even landing isn't that difficult. But our flight training system emphasizes numbers and rote learning instead of "flying the airplane", and our regulatory system makes it so hard to bring a new type-certificated airplane to market that few new airplanes ever appear, and we're stuck with 50+ year-old designs being market leaders, a situation that really doesn't happen in any other major industry. Secondly, we can wait for the arrival of largely automated "quadcopter-like" flying machines, which ultimately won't require a pilot's license because the operator will simply enter a destination and the machine will do the rest. Much the way cars are going right now. The technology is already here, excepting the battery/energy-storage technology that gives them useful and practical range and flight duration. The fact that they'll be VTOL is a huge bonus. We may, actually, get the "flying car" of sci-fi legend out of this technology. But you won't be a "pilot", and it won't be like flying an airplane is today. Me, I like flying an airplane. When I switched from power to gliders, the scales were lifted from my eyes with regard to flight training. It's entirely possible to train a safe and knowledgeable pilot in a training system that emphasizes "flying the airplane" and de-emphasizes numbers and rote procedure. And you get a better pilot faster and cheaper in such a system. The "numbers and systems" knowledge can absolutely be added later for someone who wants to do "serious" cross-country, or ultimately land in a commercial airline job. You don't need that knowledge to safely fly an airplane in the US airspace system. However, much of the "way forward" in making airplanes into an "everyday travel machine" is clearly in directions the FAA and other regulatory agencies have no desire to go. The recent "revamp" of FAR 23, along with what happened to the "Pilot's Bill of Rights" in actual legislative and regulatory terms makes that very clear to me. The FAA has little taste for pilots independently "driving" their little airplanes around - it's not amenable to bureaucratic regulation and control. Whereas computer-controlled "personal flyers" that take all the control away from the occupant, and automatically transact their flight plan with the FAA's computers, is much nicer to the bureaucratic eye. Oh, the FAA is going to groan and complain and drag their feet, much as they've done on the "drone" question, but ultimately they'll embrace a system that regulates the skies like clockwork. So, yes, I think that the "quadcopter-like" personal flyer is going to win out, and our piloted airplanes are going to become a niche, not unlike racing antique cars is now. Just the economics of getting a pilot's licence (versus not needing one) is going to make that happen. Right now it takes about$10,000 to get a PPL-SEL from a commercial flight school. If the price differential between a used airplane and "personal flyer" is anywhere near that amount, the public is going to vote with their wallet and go with the automated machine. We're already seeing the vast interest in driverless cars - anyone who thinks the same forces won't be at work in aviation is, I believe, fooling themselves.

I don't like it, I don't want it, but I'm also not naive enough to think that it won't happen.
Very, Very well said. That is the future folks, whether you like it or not. I don't. Everything in the world is going toward more control, not less and that goes against my nature.

Dan

#### Vigilant1

##### Well-Known Member
So, yes, I think that the "quadcopter-like" personal flyer is going to win out, and our piloted airplanes are going to become a niche, not unlike racing antique cars is now.
I'm afraid it will be worse than that. "Hand-flown" aircraft and their pilots will be seen as dangerous, irresponsible mavericks careening around inside the otherwise well-controlled airspace movement machine. At some point the public will no longer tolerate the continued activities of holdout devotees of hands-on human-controlled aerospace contraptions putting at risk the rest of the public who are engaged in responsible, pragmatic, and very safe centrally controlled transportation through the 3D highway system. If we are "lucky," there will be a few chunks of remote airspace reserved for "hobby flying," but planes with pilots will be unwelcome or illegal everywhere else.

#### Aerowerx

##### Well-Known Member
I don't think we're all waiting for manned quadcopters.

What happens if you have a failure in one of the motors or props? There is no way that the remaining 3 will keep you from tumbling, since your CG will suddenly be at the edge of the "support points".:shock:

I would recommend 5 or 6 rotors, then if one failed your CG will still be "surrounded" by "support points" and you would at least have a chance of getting on the ground in one piece.

#### Thunderchook

##### Well-Known Member
I would recommend 5 or 6 rotors, then if one failed your CG will still be "surrounded" by "support points" and you would at least have a chance of getting on the ground in one piece.
You mean something like this?

#### BJC

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
... "Hand-flown" aircraft and their pilots will be seen as dangerous, irresponsible mavericks careening around inside the otherwise well-controlled airspace movement machine. ....
"Present!"

BJC

#### bmcj

##### Well-Known Member
HBA Supporter
automated "quadcopter-like" flying machines.... The technology is already here, excepting the battery/energy-storage technology that gives them useful and practical range and flight duration.
Who would have guessed that a pilot's best friend and hope is the continued status quo of a crappy Duracell.

I'm afraid it will be worse than that. "Hand-flown" aircraft and their pilots will be seen as dangerous, irresponsible mavericks careening around inside the otherwise well-controlled airspace movement machine. At some point the public will no longer tolerate the continued activities of holdout devotees of hands-on human-controlled aerospace contraptions putting at risk the rest of the public who are engaged in responsible, pragmatic, and very safe centrally controlled transportation through the 3D highway system.
Yep, I've been shouting this since the very first videos of automated drones first showed up.

#### Aesquire

##### Well-Known Member
The spinning cylinder wings may always be a novelty. I periodically see the use of Magnus effect rotors on ships to improve fuel economy enthused about in Popular Mechanics. Real world ships have tested one or more rotor/sails but you never hear about them again.

I speculate that the side forces create more drag on the ship than expected & reduce the efficiency to make them a poor choice.

It's not new or hidden technology. Decade after decade folk do pretty drawings of freighters & tankers with rotor sails. Often with flying cars and thousand passenger Zeppelins on the cover of the magazine.

I have to assume that the benefits are too marginal even for super tankers to bother with it. Anything that saves fuel that is economically positive is going to get used in a world of expensive energy.

#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
I'm afraid it will be worse than that. "Hand-flown" aircraft and their pilots will be seen as dangerous, irresponsible mavericks careening around inside the otherwise well-controlled airspace movement machine. At some point the public will no longer tolerate the continued activities of holdout devotees of hands-on human-controlled aerospace contraptions putting at risk the rest of the public who are engaged in responsible, pragmatic, and very safe centrally controlled transportation through the 3D highway system. If we are "lucky," there will be a few chunks of remote airspace reserved for "hobby flying," but planes with pilots will be unwelcome or illegal everywhere else.
It'll be very illustrative to see how the automobile sector handles this. "Driverless" cars are already slipping onto the highways (Tesla's "Autopilot" is a limited-capability early version), and I'm expecting the first cars completely without steering wheels to hit the dealers within ten years, if the regulatory bodies will allow it. Then it becomes very interesting seeing what happens to the "manually driven" car in that world. Do they just slowly attrite out? Are they forced off the streets faster by insurance companies charging an extra premium for "manual drivers"? Do the regulatory bodies actually step in at some point and remove them from the public roads? Whichever process actually occurs will likely be well underway by the time energy storage technology develops to the point where an electric VTOL "Personal flyer" can become a practical alternative to a small airplane, for a large-enough number of niches.

My own best-guess is that the insurance companies will end up being the driving force that takes people's hands off the steering wheel, like it or not. In the case of light aviation, I'd hazard a guess that it's the cost of pilot training and the VTOL capability of the "personal flyer" that point them in that direction, instead of the current "pilot license/airplane" model.

The last bastion of the "pilot/airplane" model is probably going to be people like toobuilder - long-range, high-speed cross-country flights. It'll be many a day before an electric "personal flyer" is going to be able to match that capability.

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#### Topaz

##### Super Moderator
Staff member
Log Member
.... Real world ships have tested one or more rotor/sails but you never hear about them again. I speculate that the side forces create more drag on the ship than expected & reduce the efficiency to make them a poor choice. ...
I actually have an answer on this. I read about it some years ago. The issue with sailing-vessel application wasn't that the rotors didn't work - they worked just fine, at pretty much the predicted numbers - but rather that there was no practical way to "furl" or otherwise get them down out of the wind in a storm. Leaving them up in a gale with large waves put the ship in extreme danger of broaching and possibly sinking. It's actually a perfect example of why a lot of "odd" technologies don't catch on: They work fine in the absolute intended application and conditions but, in some other condition that would be seen in the real world, the new technology just wasn't flexible enough and couldn't work.

#### BBerson

##### Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Not much need to go back to sail power for ships. Looks like unconventional oil reserves have pushed back peak oil another 100 years.

I think autonomous IFR would be a good thing for light aviation. Could actually allow real transportation often limited by vfr only limitations of a personal pilot.
At the I.A. Seminar last month, a major avionics rep said ADS-B is now about \$2500 installed. That includes a new mode C module.

#### BBerson

##### Light Plane Philosopher
HBA Supporter
Just take a wood lathe stick (36"x 11/2" X 1/4" thick) and throw it hard out forward with top back spin and it will climb about 30 feet. The kids in my neighborhood couldn't afford model airplane engines.