Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | cool ads | funny | food | futurism | gadgets | russia | japan
military | music | nature | photo | sci-fi | signs | space | sports | steampunk | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird

History of the Tailsitter Airplanes

"QUANTUM SHOT" #202(rev)
Link - article by Erlend Aaseth and Avi Abrams

A vertical takeoff, level flight and a tail landing - first VTOL concepts

These flying wonders, so called "Tailsitter" airplanes, are truly remarkable pieces of aviation history: mainly designed in the late 1940s and early 1950s, they were essentially an early attempt to eliminate the necessity of runways.

(Photographs are courtesy U.S. Navy and U.S. Federal Government, via)

In the later stages of WWII the German company Focke Wulf came up with a spectacular design for a tailsitting fighter: the Triebflügeljäger. The idea was to create an airplane that would take off and land vertically on its tail. With the Allied bombardment devastating the country's armaments industry it was crucial for the Germans to have interceptors that could take off and protect German factories on a short notice. The idea was to station fighters near industrial areas and to get them into the air without the use of increasingly bombarded runways. However, the design came too late in the war for it to reach a prototype or any production stage.

(images via)

After the war the Americans (predictably) saw the potential in such design, and, with the danger of Western Europe falling under a Soviet control, the certain possibility of invasion and the possible denial of airfields, project Hummingbird was born in 1947. The idea was to develop an interceptor that could take off from virtually anywhere; there were plans to station them in fields and on military and commercial ships. There was even talk of a submarine based fighter!

(more info)

Both Convair and Lockheed were commissioned to make prototypes: the XFY-1 and XFV-1. These fighters featured turbo prop engines with contra-rotating propellers. A jet-powered version was also produced, called the Ryan X-13 Vertijet. The XFY-1 was the first tailsitter which achieved a vertical takeoff, level flight and a tail landing during test flights.

The XFY-1, nicknamed "Pogo":

(more info)

XFY-1 (left) and XFV-1 (right):

The XFY-1 was not as successful as the XFV-1. Landing gear had to be mounted in order to conduct test flights:

1954 - XFV-1 Lockheed "Salmon":

(image via)

Continuing into the the 1960s, Bell VTOL X-22 looked promising (being perhaps the grandfather of the Bell- Boeing V-22 Osprey):

(image via)

"The Coléoptère" was a French prototype, featuring so called "annular wing configuration" (designed in 1952, first flight in 1959):

(images via 1, 2)

The Coleoptere is perhaps the most strangely-shaped aircraft ever built, which provided inspiration for many popular science and science fiction illustrators at the time:

(bottom right: rare image from the Soviet 1961 "Smena" magazine)

Ryan Company's X-13 "VertiJet" (1953):

The X-13 was a jet-powered prototype with a design that proved to be much more difficult to steer during takeoff and landing (compared to the prop driven ones). It did not have the benefit of airflow over the rudders produced by the props.

Here's the engine of X-13:

X-13 Vertijet during trials:

(images via)

Here's the X-13 prototype performing a successful test flight in front of the Pentagon officials:

The Hummingbird project proved to be a difficult one. It turned out that tailsitter airplanes could not meet the performance requirements set by the Navy and the Air Force. In the end such designs were abandoned, and the dream of an aircraft that could take off and land on its own tail survived only in popular magazines and science fiction novels.

(many images via highly-recommended French site)

Modern concept vehicle designers keep the idea of VTOL alive and well in new projects:

(images credit: Jose Garcia)

Here is an old-style render concept from Jose Garcia: "This is a free interpretation of a concept design for a VTOL observation aircraft I saw 15 years ago in a 1960's British aviation magazine. It is based on the use of a Rolls-Royce Pegasus vectored-thrust jet engine" (left image) -

(image via)

And we finish with a "what might have been" concept from Jose Garcia, a 1949-vintage Soviet VTOL combat aircraft with its erector-transporter:

(image via)

For further reading please see:
Fogonazos: VTOL prototypes
Global Security: X-13
Global Security: XFY-1
Global Security: XFV-1
Photographs are courtesy U.S. Navy and U.S. Federal Government.

Article by Erlend Aaseth and Avi Abrams, Dark Roasted Blend. Erlend Aaseth, originally from a small Norwegian fishing village, now resides in Australia. His site Giant Earth is all about vintage technology and airplanes.




The Biggest Guns in Human History

"It's not the size that counts" does not seem to apply

DRB Feel-Good
DRB Feel-Good Issue #35

Loads of cool and rare imagery

Bizarre Buses

Wacky Wonders of Public Transportation

"Dark Roasted Blend" - All Kinds of Weird and Wonderful Things, Discovered Daily!"

DRB is a top-ranked and respected source for the best in art, travel and fascinating technology, with a highly visual presentation. Our in-depth articles in many categories make DRB a highly visual online magazine, bringing you quality entertainment every time you open your "feed" reader or visit our site - About DRB

Connect with us and become part of DRB on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus; make sure to subscribe to our updates.



Blogger Unknown said...

The Triebflügel wasn't the only tailsitter that WWII Germany researched; the Messerschmidt Wespe was a design with an annular wing like the French Coleoptere, but with a propellor in the gap between the fuselage and the wing, making it a ducted-fan design.

Anonymous Cthel said...

The reason the XFV-1 was fitted with fixed landing gear was because both the XFV-1 and XFY-1 were meant to use the same turboshaft engine, but only one prototype engine was finished in time for the tests. As a result, the XFV-1 didn't have the power to take off vertically, and had to make a conventional rolling take-off and landing.

Blogger Denis Jurin said...

What about this simple idea to turn modern fighter jets with conventional glider and engine schemes in tailsitter?


Post a Comment

<< Home

Don't miss: The Ultimate Guide to NEW SF&F Writers!
Fiction Reviews: Classic Cyberpunk: Extreme Fiction
Short Fiction Reviews: Lovecraft's "At the Mountains of Madness" (with pics)
New Fiction Reviews: The Surreal Office


Hellish Weather on Other Planets

Wild, Untamed, and Uncut

Medieval Suits of Armor

Metal Body Suits vs. Weapons of Medieval Destruction

World's Strangest Theme Parks

Amusement to the (twisted) extremes!

Enchanting Victorian Fairy Tale Art

"Then world behind and home ahead..."

Adorable Pedal Cars

Collectable Pedal Vehicles Showcase

Japanese Arcades: Gundam Pods & Other Guilty Pleasures

These machines have gone up to the next level

Modernist Tallinn Architecture

Delicious blend of old and new!

Early Supercomputers: A Visual Overview

"Computers in the future may weigh no more than 1.5 tons"

Futuristic Concept Cars of the 1970-80s

French, Italian & Japanese rare beauties

Epic 1970s French Space Comic Art

DRB Time-Slice: Valérian and Laureline

The Trees Are Escaping! The Abandoned Prison in French Guiana

"Great Escape" from the Devil's Island

Videophones from the Future Past

Skype? Smartphone? Google Hangouts?

The Best of DRB in 2014

Weird & Wonderful 2014 Overview

(with previews, fast loading):











Link Lattes

Feel-Good & Biscotti Issues

Feel-Good! | airplanes | animals | architecture | art | auto | boats | books | cool ads | funny pics | famous | futurism | food
gadgets | health | history | humour | japan | internet | link latte | military | music | nature | photo | russia | steampunk
sci-fi & fantasy | signs | space | sports | technology | trains | travel | vintage | weird | abandoned

Cool Ads
Extreme Weather
Funny Pics
Link Latte
Oops Accidents
Science Fiction

UE Abandoned

Avi Abrams
M. Christian
Simon Rose
Paul Schilperoord
Scott Seegert
Constantine vonHoffman

Send us your topic ideas, site suggestions, rants or sweet unpublished poetry. We love to hear from you.

Best binary options brokers