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Luigi Colani's improbable designs

Matej

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I forgot Colani designs. So here they are:

1. Cygnus - was projected gigantic passanger plane for soviet airlines Aeroflot from 80s. It was designed for extreme climatic and geographic conditions. It was powered by two bolt - like ducted fans.

2. This is hypersonic Mach 5 passanger plane from 1983. Air intakes were placed in the wing leading edges.

3. Megalodon was passanger plane with shape of the shark (Carcharodon megalodon) from 1977. It had two engines, variable geometry wing and four decks, every with capacity 1000 passangers!

4. Another Colani huge design.
 

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Matej,

Thanks for posting those - I've always been fascinated by the Colani design concepts. Do you or anyone else have more details on them (perhaps 3 view line drawings)?

Regards,

Greg
 

sferrin

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Who is this company? Do they actually build aircraft or are they just a design/ concept house?
 

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Wow. Those are without a doubt the *worst* designs for aircraft that anyone has seriously proposed since the 1920's. And I thought Colani's space shuttle design was wretched!
 

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I also like Colani's Energy Saving Plane design:

"Proposal for an extremely low-fuel-cost, lightweight plane which, seating two to four passengers, dashes forward and upward by means of its engine and glides forward and downward with the engine stopped. Either a VW engine and a propeller, or a small turboprop (or a Wankel rotary) and a ducted fan are suggested propulsion systems. In theory, the plane should be able to fly non-stop a distance of 3,000 to 8.000 km."



I must admit, the graceful lines of his concepts are very attractive to me.

Regards,

Greg
 

Jemiba

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IIRC Colani was very busy during the 70s/early 80s making designs for almost
everything, including aircraft. He had a lot of publicity during this time and, yes,
one of his designs was realised and tested: A Bicycle ! I remember, seeing it on
TV. It was a complete success .... it made the professional bikers laugh, when
they tried to ride this bending and wobbling thing ! ;D
 

Archibald

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Wow. Aparently this men used its feet to draw aircrafts! Seriously, are these projects viable or totally mad?
 

Matej

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They are realisable, but I think that for expected performance there are also a bit more standardised and simplified solutions.

For example you can build Airbus A350 with three wings and five fuselages, but the geniality of aicrafts developing is to find the simpliest and cheapest solution. Colani designs are more designs than practical solutions.
 

archipeppe

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For my opinion even if civil designer have such degree of fantasy, commercial company absolutely not.
They don't want to accept any risk and any design innovation is regarded as something risky.
That's one of the best reason for what commercial civil aircraft looking is not substantially changed in the last 40 years.
 

Jemiba

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The bicycle hasn't changed in it's principal shape for around 100 years !
It's probably not just to prevent any risks, but also the fact, that a completely
new type like a flying wing probably would need a new infrastructure on airports.
And the "classic" layout is the most adaptable to different needs, jus by stretching
or shortening the basic fuselage, without the need to develope a completely new
aircraft. To lengthen a flying wing is quite difficult ..
Development and use of commercial aircraft is a business, the most cost effective
solution wins. And cost efficiency is a mixture of the running costs and the price
of an aircraft over its lifetime.
 

shedofdread

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Should this topic be shunted off to 'Theoretical and Speculative'..? They wouldn't appear to be what I'd term 'real' projects.
 

Grey Havoc

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Some of them actually reached at least early development stage.
 

Jemiba

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I think that for some designs, e.g. the Pontresina, a bit of real development work was actually done
and an example of the RFB Fantrainer flew in the "Colani design".
You know, I'm not a fan of Colani and a lot of his designs to my opinion was only drawn for public
relation reasons. But to be fair, I'm pretty sure, that we would have to move several of those fancy
Airbus studies, or those from Boeing or others, then, too. Often there's only a fine line between
visionary studies and pure fantasy.
 

Avimimus

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Jemiba said:
IIRC Colani was very busy during the 70s/early 80s making designs for almost
everything, including aircraft. He had a lot of publicity during this time and, yes,
one of his designs was realised and tested: A Bicycle ! I remember, seeing it on
TV. It was a complete success .... it made the professional bikers laugh, when
they tried to ride this bending and wobbling thing ! ;D
He also got built a piston aircraft aiming at the propeller speed record...
 

shedofdread

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Grey Havoc said:
Some of them actually reached at least early development stage.

Then I apologise and withdraw my earlier comment - the only designs I'd seen seemed to be devoid of any semblance of aerodynamic design. Hence my post.
 

Stargazer2006

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Ditto. All I've seen of his aircraft designs seemed like pathetic attempts at designing aircraft by someone with no knowledge in aviation... Now if he DID indeed have one of his designs taken all the way to a flying article, I might have to reconsider my views, at least in part. Can you post a bit of info and maybe a pic?
 

Orionblamblam

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Skyblazer said:
Can you post a bit of info and maybe a pic?
The "Colani Cormoran" got as far as a mockup. Note that while interesting looking, it doesn't really look like most Colani designs. In other words, it doesn't look like an acid flashback.


There is also the TT62 Alekto, which was built but unflown. Also interesting, also far from "Colani Standard."
 

Stargazer2006

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Orionblamblam said:
The "Colani Cormoran" got as far as a mockup. Note that while interesting looking, it doesn't really look like most Colani designs. In other words, it doesn't look like an acid flashback.
There is also the TT62 Alekto, which was built but unflown. Also interesting, also far from "Colani Standard."
Hmmm... so what you are saying is that 1°) these were probably heavily reworked by engineers and able aviation designers, and 2°) none of these designs was actually flight-proven. Not so much in favor of Colani's concepts here... ::)

Thanks for the pics anyway, and for the description of Colani's designs as "an acid flashback", which is dead funny!
 

Jemiba

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shedofdread said:
Then I apologise and withdraw my earlier comment -
Nothing to apologise for, I think, Colani is a difficult theme here. His résumé says, that he studied
aerodynamics and worked for Douglas, at least for a year. So he probably was actually able to design
a aircraft.
In the end, he reminds me of a painter, who got his reputation with really great and representational
paintings, but switched to blotches of color, as this still made the crititcs jubilating.
That's not a general depreciatin of abstract painting, to make this clear ! ;)
 

Michel Van

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we had in 2007 a similar discussion about Luigi Colani
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,2690.0.html

I stay on that what, I write in 2007

but I have to defend Colani
he is a good Designer, a Pioneer in Organic and "aerodynamic" forms in 1960s and 1970s
Wat he call "Biodesign, 90% Nature and 10% Colani“
That what he is, a good Designer, Not a Aircraft engineer.

His grew up neat airport Johannisthal-Adlershof in Berlin
From 1949 until 1952 he study aerodynamics at University of Sorbonne, Paris
Yes, he work one year at Douglas in 1953, but R&D of new material for aircraft construction
that what he learned there used Colani in his later work for French car-industry 1954 to 1955
from 1955 he works back in Berlin and concentrate on design of furniture
in 1976 he design for Rhein-Flugzeugbau, the second Fanliner prototype, what he flew also
the only aircraft that fly what he work on
 

Orionblamblam

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Skyblazer said:
Hmmm... so what you are saying is that 1°) these were probably heavily reworked by engineers and able aviation designers,
Damn straight. If someone wants to make a truck that looks like an H.R. Giger fever dream that someone has sanded all the bumps off of... fine. But while bad aerodynamics may make a truck less efficient, if you get the aerodynamics even a *little* wrong with an aircraft, chances are good that it'll simply do a backflip as it trundles down the runway, killing the pilot and trashing the investors money.


Two good rules of thumb in aviation design - and truck design, and boat design, and car design, and... - is that you want to minimize the surface area of the vehicle, and keep it as topologically simple as possible. Put excessively simply, the perfect solution is almost always a modified sphere. Stretch it, mash it, but don't poke holes in it (don't turn the sphere into a torus). Colanis designs almost invariably violate both of these rules: his designs have holes in them (note that the leadoff design in that recent link shows a locomotive with a Great Big Hole all the way through it) and by making them very complex, the surface area is increased while the usable internal volume is decreased. This makes manufacturing more complex and expensive, makes the structure weigh more, makes maintenance more of a headache... and almost certainly not only drives up drag but also makes the airflow complex and chaotic.
 

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Ever improbable Colani's designs...!
 

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gabrielorosco, the real question is not whether something looking like a crossbreed between a hammerhead shark and a combine harvester could be made to fly in principle (keeping in mind the tired old trope that given today's propulsion and control capabilities, even a brick could be made to fly, although probably not yet transoceanically...), but whether it would actually be able to fly safely and ecologically (even leaving economic aspects out of consideration as per your stipulation), and even if it could, whether it would be the most optimal design compromise for a given design mission in doing so - in other words, would it make engineering sense to design an airplane like that? Looking "cool" (if that's what that bizarre model is presumably about, because to me it just plain doesn't) is not really a consideration. Why would you be interested in flying a commercial aircraft that is not economical, irrespective of what the numbers of engines and nacelles are?
 
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Orionblamblam

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Hi!
From an engineering point of view, not considering economical aspects do you think this aircraft can fly? The 10 engines are divide in two naceles of 5.
Nothing about that design indicates the first bit of knowledge of aerodynamics. It's not just "unaerodynamic," it's freakin' ANTIaerodynamic. If it were to somehow get up some airspeed, the air flowing around that "head" would start doing some amazing things. And "amazing" in this context is not good for stability & control, never mind economics.

I know a lot of people seem to like Colanis work and think that it is useful, at least for inspiring others. But honestly, his refusal to understand reality makes his nonsensical claptrap as useful for aerospace design as THIS IS in helping to inspire practical advances in nutrition and biochemistry.
 
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