Rocket-powered ultralight (self-launching glider)?

Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum

Help Support Homebuilt Aircraft & Kit Plane Forum:

cluttonfred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
9,450
Location
World traveler
An electric motorjet for self-launching seems like an interesting concept. Much cheaper and simpler than a true turboject but much more thrust for a short time than an electric ducted fan alone. It's basically a ducted fan with an afterburner!
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
10,681
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
But for heaven's sake, you guys are all missing the once-in-a-lifetime marketing and social media advantages of the steam powered jet powerplant..... the pilots of these aircraft can legitimately call themselves "Steam-Punks" !!!!

The steam system has also been successfully used to drive a piston "engine" turning an aircraft propeller (not to mention many ship propellers).
 

Vigilant1

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 24, 2011
Messages
7,804
Location
US
For this project (and anticipated airspeeds), rockets employed as tip jets on a propeller would likely be able to provide a lot more effective thrust per lb of propellant. For glide, just select "feather" to streamline the two-position blades.

If the simplicity of true rockets is desired, it might be good to try to use cheap, safe diesel fuel with an oxidizer of compressed air or O2. It would also be worth pricing out industrial grade hydrogen peroxide and assessing the amount of any "bonus thrust" from the steam produced in the reaction.
 

Jerry Lytle

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jan 3, 2014
Messages
461
Location
Everett, WA
The developer of h2O2 helicopter made his own hydrogen peroxide. It is possible to make hydrogen peroxide at home. (Don't plan on an open casket funeral.)

Rotary Wing Forum had a number of postings on the Dragon Fly Jet development I believe He quit the experiments when he was badly burned while handling the H2O2.

 

Bill-Higdon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
2,159
Location
Salem, Oregon, USA
The developer of h2O2 helicopter made his own hydrogen peroxide. It is possible to make hydrogen peroxide at home. (Don't plan on an open casket funeral.)

Rotary Wing Forum had a number of postings on the Dragon Fly Jet development I believe He quit the experiments when he was badly burned while handling the H2O2.

As I've said before after working around H2O2 in semiconductor & UltraHigh Vacuum environment I get careful after 10% and my care/concern goes up rapidly from there. Also I've read a book & reports about the problems with it in the early US rocket work & why they abandoned it
 

TFF

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 28, 2010
Messages
17,052
Location
Memphis, TN
I haven’t seen it in a long time but there is an old movie about moving rocket fuel called “Violent Road. “ What could go wrong with a fuel truck full of rocket fuel?
 

raumzeit

Active Member
Joined
Mar 23, 2021
Messages
44
The developer of h2O2 helicopter made his own hydrogen peroxide. It is possible to make hydrogen peroxide at home. (Don't plan on an open casket funeral.)

Rotary Wing Forum had a number of postings on the Dragon Fly Jet development I believe He quit the experiments when he was badly burned while handling the H2O2.


Interesting. Among many abortive concepts by Gary Hudson for SSTO's was the HMX Roton. Same kind of deal using tip-rockets; the rotors worked like the turbopump in a conventional booster, it would fly to orbit and then rotor would also be a re-entry airfoil, slowly 'blooming' while autorotating back down to the ground. Quite a Wile E. contraption. Partially realized in a test-article by Hudson's startup (long gone) Rotary Rocket. Doubt the concept would've added up after a sober analysis on paper, forget reality. This was all more than twenty years ago.

Now I feel old; but the fundamental tip-motor-rotor-as-pump probably has merit in this context. I have also seen this concept at least in napkin-prototype somewhere using pulse and/or ramjets.
 

Dana

Super Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Apr 3, 2007
Messages
10,764
Location
CT, USA
I have also seen this concept at least in napkin-prototype somewhere using pulse and/or ramjets.
And in ads in the back of Popular Mechanics! Those of us who are old enough surely remember all the contraptions Eugene Gluhareff was proposing for his valveless pulse jet engines.

I actually met the guy in this video, who acquired this project. Fortunately (for him) I don't think he ever actually attempted to fly it, but I saw it sitting in his back yard when I went to look at a Sadler Vampire he was selling. He was a "character", to say the least.

 

Bill-Higdon

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 6, 2011
Messages
2,159
Location
Salem, Oregon, USA
And in ads in the back of Popular Mechanics! Those of us who are old enough surely remember all the contraptions Eugene Gluhareff was proposing for his valveless pulse jet engines.

I actually met the guy in this video, who acquired this project. Fortunately (for him) I don't think he ever actually attempted to fly it, but I saw it sitting in his back yard when I went to look at a Sadler Vampire he was selling. He was a "character", to say the least.


Look at the Hiller Hornet & How long it's fights were with out refueling
 

Tiger Tim

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 26, 2013
Messages
4,568
Location
Thunder Bay
And in ads in the back of Popular Mechanics! Those of us who are old enough surely remember all the contraptions Eugene Gluhareff was proposing for his valveless pulse jet engines.
It amazes me that some number of people actually finished these things, even if they didn’t get them to fly.
 

Victor Bravo

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 30, 2014
Messages
10,681
Location
KWHP, Los Angeles CA, USA
The fantastic giant free flight rocket-copters in Thailand is one very interesting starting point. The principle is that solid fuel rocket prpopellant is used to spin a large rotor (propeller), and the combination of the rotor and the thrust vector lifts the whole enormous wacky thing up to an incredible height.

If this principle is used to spin a propeller, optimized for a longer run time using only the outer tips of the propeller for torque and not rocket thrust, there may be a chance for a usable powerplant for one-shot self launches. There would have to be smokeless powder used!

This video is a jaw-dropper. Your motorglider may not have to be this big :)

Giant VTOL Thai Spinning Copter
 

MACOWA

Well-Known Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2021
Messages
149
Location
Grapeview WA. USA.
The fantastic giant free flight rocket-copters in Thailand is one very interesting starting point. The principle is that solid fuel rocket prpopellant is used to spin a large rotor (propeller), and the combination of the rotor and the thrust vector lifts the whole enormous wacky thing up to an incredible height.

If this principle is used to spin a propeller, optimized for a longer run time using only the outer tips of the propeller for torque and not rocket thrust, there may be a chance for a usable powerplant for one-shot self launches. There would have to be smokeless powder used!

This video is a jaw-dropper. Your motorglider may not have to be this big :)

Giant VTOL Thai Spinning Copter


Dang,Man ! Now all I can do is hang my head and shuffle home with my Estes rocket ! When I owned an Eipper Flexi flyer many years ago A Soar Master kit was made available to me. It was basically a straight legged weed whacker that clamped on to the keel tube with about an 18 inch pusher prop on the end. I declined the offer. After all foot launching off of the Oregon coastal dunes is just too easy, why bother. However, perhaps a free spinning prop of similar size and location could produce a respectable thrust temporarily if a small booster rocket was attached to each tip. (Estes "B" class ?). On a more serious note though Please Please Please do not try using smokeless powder or any other nitrocellulose compound as a propellant. I am sure you were just kidding.You can ask my friend Lefty !
 
Last edited by a moderator:

cluttonfred

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 13, 2010
Messages
9,450
Location
World traveler
The solid fuel rockets used in those Thai copter things would be problematic as your prop would end up horribly out of balance as the tip-rockets burned at variable rates. Something I have considered is a single-bladed prop in which the liquid fuel rocket motor serves as part of the counterbalance to the single blade and a few minutes of fuel are contained in a discus- or donut-shaped tank under a large spinner. The whole thing would be self-contained with a hub turning on a stub shaft bolted to plane and the prop could be hinged to fold aft when unpowered.
 

REVAN

Well-Known Member
Joined
Dec 6, 2016
Messages
363
Location
Tucson, Arizona USA
My premise behind using a propane/n2o combo is that they are both easily obtainable for me, and can be self-pressurized in lightweight composite bottles, and could be throttled relatively quickly. It would be significantly more energy dense than a lithium-ion pack powering a ducted fan.

It's something that isn't even a half-baked idea, but I would love to at least make something on a stand in my backyard to play with :)



I wouldn't do just a rocket, I would definitely figure out a turbine to power a ducted fan.

You could be onto a workable idea here. There is the issue of melting the turbine. However, that can be addressed by using water injection to cool the gas before it goes through the turbine. The water gets vaporized into steam, greatly expanding the gas volume and lowering the temperature. This will make the motor more efficient and the turbine fabrication less exotic. The best part is that part 103 excludes oil and coolant fluids from the empty weight of the aircraft. The water is not fuel. It is coolant. It is not accounted for in either the 5 gallon fuel restriction or in the aircraft empty weight.
 

Latest posts

Top