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Bell Textron Air Cushion Landing System (ACLS) for space vehicles

flateric

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A study of air cushion landing systems for space shuttle vehicles
Ryken, J. M.
NASA (non Center Specific)
Publication Date: Dec 1, 1970

http://hdl.handle.net/2060/19710003622 direct pdf link
 

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robunos

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excellent as usual, flateric, now i know where the drawings on page 162 of Jenkins' "space shuttle" came from... ;)

cheers,
Robin.
 

Michel Van

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Shuttle with Hovercraft....

know i see everthing

it was ideal for Landing on water or drylake
but why is never realised for Shuttle and other aircraft ?
 

Orionblamblam

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Michel Van said:
but why is never realised for Shuttle and other aircraft ?

As with many ideas with positive attributes... the positives didn't outweigh the negatives (real and percieved).

For a Shuttle vehicle, instead of three relatively small doors, you'd need a large area of the underside to open up to release the inflatable curtain. That's harsh. Plus, conventional landing gear is... conventional. To replace convention with something new, you have to show *substantial* improvement. And I don't think air cushion landing gear provides substantial improvement for the vast number of aircraft. Landing gear works just fine on runways, which is where most planes land.
 

PMN1

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What next, rubber runways.....oh, wait a minute, didn't the RN waste a whole lot of time and effort with that and HMS Warrior...
 

FutureSpaceTourist

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The Kistler K-1 also planned to use air-bags for a 'soft' landing (http://www.rocketplanekistler.com/flightprofile/fp04.html), although that's a more conventional vertical touchdown with parachutes.

Would love to see any pictures of the C-123 test!

P.S. Sorry forgot to ask, was the shuttle proposal purely about saving the weight/complexity of the undercarriage?

Update: Missed the report link - to answer my own question the report intro claims:

[quote author=NASA CR-111803 report]
[...] the following advantages could be expected if the ACLS [air-cushion landing system] were used on Space Shuttle Vehicles:

(1) Reduced weight of ACLS relative to the weight of conventional gear
(2) Reduced vehicle structural weight due to reduced landing load factors and distributed rather than concentrated loads
(3) Land, water, and rough field capability with resulting reductions in runway requirements and/or increased probability of safe recovery from launch aborts or emergency landings
(4) Ability to land in cross winds without decrabbing at touchdown
(5) Increased ground mobility: towing or taxiing over unprepared sites; lateral ground handling in confined spaces
(6) High speed landing capability, with possible reduction in landing attitude or reduced subsonic aerodynamic requirements
[/quote]
 

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Nick

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skyrocket01 said:
Something very like this was actually tested in the seventies, using a C-123 with the 'bag'; remember the photos from AWST, and the AC was landed at least once successfully.

Are you sure you don't mean the de Havilland XC-8A ACLS (Air Cushion Landing System)?
 

Hammer Birchgrove

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:eek: Heh, one of the spacecrafts I've created for a comic book I've doodled with would land (and start) on water using either water-skis or air-cushion (I couldn't decide what was more realistic).
 

jstar

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skyrocket01 said:
Something very like this was actually tested in the seventies, using a C-123 with the 'bag'; remember the photos from AWST, and the AC was landed at least once successfully.

Actually, it was a DHC-5 Buffalo used by Bell Aircraft as the XC8A to test an air cushion landing system in 1972. Flew, and landed, several times.
 

OM

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...Egads, I can see two of these pulled up aside one another on the runway, boom boxes blaring (c)Rap and Hip-Hop, and the pilots bouncing their pimped-out shuttles to see whose bag will burst first :p :p :p :p
 

Stargazer2006

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jstar said:
skyrocket01 said:
Something very like this was actually tested in the seventies, using a C-123 with the 'bag'; remember the photos from AWST, and the AC was landed at least once successfully.

Actually, it was a DHC-5 Buffalo used by Bell Aircraft as the XC8A to test an air cushion landing system in 1972. Flew, and landed, several times.

For Air Cushion Landing Systems used on aircraft, see this topic:
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,6989.0.html
 

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