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McDonnell Douglas & Boeing canard rotor wing (CRW) concepts

flateric

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DARPA Opts To End Boeing-Led X-50A Dragonfly UAV Effort
By Jefferson Morris/Aerospace Daily & Defense Report
09/11/2006 09:35:13 AM

The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency has opted to end the X-50A Dragonfly unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) program, which was attempting to pioneer a new type of helicopter capable of stopping its rotor in flight and cruising as a fixed-wing jet until it lost both of its flight prototypes in crashes.

Boeing, the prime contractor for the $51.8 million effort, will spend the rest of the program funds preparing a final study that will "draw together final ideas on the potential value of the stopped rotor concept," DARPA spokeswoman Jan Walker told The DAILY. The study should be completed by late fall.

Dragonfly never got as far as a "conversion" flight, which would have seen the aircraft take off as a helicopter, stop its rotor in mid-air for forward cruise, then convert back to a helicopter for landing.

After its first crash in March 2004 at Yuma Proving Ground in Arizona, the aircraft resumed flight in late 2005 with its only spare and got as far as slow forward flight during testing through March 2006. Then, 18 minutes into an envelope expansion flight on April 12, the second Dragonfly lost control and was damaged beyond repair (DAILY, April 21).

A review concluded that the aircraft was lost because of insufficient low-speed control authority, according to DARPA. Fuselage aerodynamic pitch moment for the Dragonfly was very sensitive to airspeed and wake strength. During its final flight, the impact of the rotor's wake on the fuselage caused the Dragonfly to pitch upward, and the flight control system was unable to recover.

Like a tiltrotor, the Dragonfly was intended to combine the operational flexibility of a rotorcraft with the speed of a fixed-wing aircraft. It featured an unusually wide rotor that operated on the same principle as a rotating lawn sprinkler. Exhaust from the aircraft's turbofan engine was directed up the rotor assembly and through outlets at the rotor tips to cause the rotor to spin.

For fixed-wing flight, the exhaust was directed out the aircraft's tail, causing the rotor to stop spinning and act as a wing, while additional lift was provided by the aircraft's fuselage and canards. The concept was called Canard Rotor/Wing (CRW).

Control problems related to the Dragonfly's unique design dogged the program from the beginning, causing the aircraft to drift unexpectedly during initial hover tests. The first prototype had performed only two brief hovers before the first crash in March 2004.

After a lengthy investigation, that mishap was linked to a cross-coupling control phenomenon intrinsic to the aircraft's design. The problem was believed solved by modifications to flight software.

Once the concept was proven, Boeing had hoped to market CRW aircraft to the military, and discussed with the Marine Corps the possibility of unmanned CRW aircraft serving as escorts for the V-22 Osprey.
 

Jemiba

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In the Osprey article in the last AI was an interesting statement, about the
requests by several congress men and othres to cancel the program after the
crashes : In future another rotary wing machine, which suffered the same number
of crashes, as the V-22, will be used to fly a well known person ....
The UH-101, the new helicopter for the US president !

Honi soit qui mal y pense ! ;D
 

hesham

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Hi,

a new VTOL canard wing design from Boeing.
 

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yasotay

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Alas hesham, no. The Canard Rotor Wing program being conducted by Boeing and DARPA is dead. After crashing two prototypes they pulled the plug on further funding. I have attached a picture of one of the prototype in flight.
 

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CammNut

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Sorry these are such low resolution, but they come from a paper given at the AIAA's 2003 Centenniel of Flight conference in Dayton. They illustrate Boeing's thoughts on operational applications of the canard rotor wing (CRW) concept for a high-speed, stopped-rotor, V/STOL aircraft. DARPA cancelled the X-50A Dragonfly programme after both unmanned subscale demonstrators crashed while still in hover testing, but apparently there is new interest in the CRW (but not money yet) from an undisclosed source.
 

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flateric

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BTW, as we got beautiful pics from CammNut, probably I also can add something to pictorial history of so short-lived Dragonfly (X-50 pics are quite a few so far)
 

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flateric

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Some more - actually, with McDonnell Douglas roots - CRW concepts, plus Boeing's factory model of evolved X-50 from Chad Slattery collection.
 

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CammNut

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I have this on my computer, but no idea where it came from
 

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Antonio

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I have this on my computer, but no idea where it came from

There was an article about the future of aeronautics on Popular Science (I think it was published in 2003, the First Flight Centenary). The pics were published online too at popsci site.
 

hesham

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Hi,

does anyone hear about the Boeing X-50B ?.
 

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Googling X-50B only produces a mistaken reference to the hypersonic X-51B as the X-50B - the X-51B is to be a version of the X-51A with a different scramjet engine - but that doesn't mean there isn't such a thing
 

flateric

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Never heard of it, too. Desktop model shows configuration different from original X-50A, BTW, but X-50B rumors apparently started from one guy mistake at Airliners.Net forum (missed it with X-51 as CammNut said exactly).
 

flateric

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OK, we must always remember that CRW stuff started ca. 1993 in McDonnell Douglas shiny Phantom Works think tank. Here are two concepts, one of it - manned ground attack convertible - is a predecessor of cool artist's rendering shown several posts above, already under Boeing auspices. 1/5 WT model was intensively tested in NASA Ames

FIXED-WING PERFORMANCE PREDICTIONS OF THE CANARD ROTORWING CONCEPT BASED ON WIND TUNNEL TEST RESULTS
Steven M. Bass*, Thomas L. Thompson**, John W. Rutherford***
McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Systems
AIM-95-1887-CP
 

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flateric

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Another UAV CRW concept from Phantom Works (1993)

Canard Rotor/Wing: A Revolutionary High-speed Rotorcraft Concept
J. W. Rutherford, S. M. Bass, and S. D. Larsen
McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company
AIAA 93-1175
 

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hesham

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Thank you my dears overscan and flateric,

anther low-drag rotor'wing flap aircraft to Boeing.
http://www.google.com/patents?id=3xx3AAAAEBAJ&printsec=abstract&zoom=4&dq=jane%27s+all+the+world%27s+airplane&as_drrb_ap=q&as_minm_ap=1&as_miny_ap=2007&as_maxm_ap=1&as_maxy_ap=2007&as_drrb_is=q&as_minm_is=1&as_miny_is=2007&as_maxm_is=1&as_maxy_is=2007&num=100#PPP1,M1
 

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Charles Gray

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One question, does this mean the CRW concept is dead, or that they're simply planning on taking what they know and moving to another program? given the emphasis on littoral warfare, something like a CRW aircraft would seem very valuable to the navy/marine corps.
 

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There's not much to know. Both X-50A prototypes crashed so the test program was not completed. What we know now is that it's not very credible concept (yet) so I can't see much ways, how to find additional money to continue in the development.
 

LowObservable

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I just saw a Boeing video of a CRW Joint Heavy Lift concept. Aaaarrgggh.
 

flateric

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It's torture...can you give a clue of this wunderwaffe sausage?
 

Charles Gray

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Matej said:
There's not much to know. Both X-50A prototypes crashed so the test program was not completed. What we know now is that it's not very credible concept (yet) so I can't see much ways, how to find additional money to continue in the development.

Do you have any links to the problems with the concept? I recall that the X-wing projects of the 1970's were mostly scuttled due to the extreme mechanical complexity of the systems, but what was the major problem with this design?
 

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Charles Gray said:
Matej said:
There's not much to know. Both X-50A prototypes crashed so the test program was not completed. What we know now is that it's not very credible concept (yet) so I can't see much ways, how to find additional money to continue in the development.

Do you have any links to the problems with the concept? I recall that the X-wing projects of the 1970's were mostly scuttled due to the extreme mechanical complexity of the systems, but what was the major problem with this design?

X-Wing and Canard wing are two different beasts.
 

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The CRW demonstrators crashed because of a flow interaction between the rotor and airframe that was considered unique to the X-50. When I spoke to the Boeing folks at AUSA they said "the wing was too small for the vehicle".

Interestingly, the Sirosky folks I talked to said they looked at all their past R&D programmes, including X-Wing, before deciding to start the X-2 advancing blade concept demonstrator. Scarey to think that thing might make a comeback.
 

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What was wrong with the ABC? Seemed it went fast enough with the turbojets.
 

yasotay

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sferrin said:
What was wrong with the ABC? Seemed it went fast enough with the turbojets.

DRAG and blade stiffness. Other than that its great.
 

LowObservable

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Compound helicopters have more excess drag than Gay Pride Day. It's basically an exercise in boosting speed through brute force. X2's about the best you can expect, with complex blade aero and a streamlined hub.
 

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I know that this is a little late to the game, but one of my professors was directly responsible for the development of this project. The failure of this project was a direct result of the managers thinking that they knew more than the engineers. Many of the managers of the program saw it as a drain in company funds and wanted to see the program die. They went as far as going to the people that had expressed interest in continuing funding the project telling them that the company was going to discontinue funding. It is sad but true.

Adam

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yasotay said:
sferrin said:
What was wrong with the ABC? Seemed it went fast enough with the turbojets.

DRAG and blade stiffness. Other than that its great.

Aside from what Yasotay correctly stated, if yo have to hang auxiliary powerplants on it to go fast, that undercuts the whole reason for developing ABC. During the NASA studies on whether to continue working with Tilt-Rotor or ABC, an important fact was noted. When the craft had to be sent to distant sites for testing or demonstration, the crew would climb into the XV-15 and just fly it there. With the XH-59, they loaded it on a train and transported it there, only taking flight after arrival at the site.
 

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Vibration at higher speeds and excess fuel consumption were other significant issues for the original XH-59 effort. I was told by one of the test pilots that flew the thing that it was very fatiguing with the significant noise and vibration. I really hope that technology has will make ABC viable now. CRW on the other hand will take a lot more work. As Adam mentioned there was not a lot of enthusiasm for the effort even at Boeing. I went to a briefing on it at St. Louis in 2000 and noted that there were more questions from the Boeing people than the press and others not in the company. Knowing a few people at Boeing, they would change the subject as quickly as possible.
 

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Got a couple of pics. The first is a larger version of what you've got and the second is from from an old company called Avpro and was used to advertise their EXINT pods.
 

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donnage99

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Yes, it is an idea before the merger. It was reborn as the x-50 dragonfly, but the thing is dead as DARPA realized the flaws of the design, and withdrew the funding, though Boeing still pursued the research (probably going back to the drawing board and doing wind tunnel testing). There are thread about this already, and I remember there are several pictures of them on there.
http://www.secretprojects.co.uk/forum/index.php/topic,775.0/highlight,canard+rotor.html
 

flateric

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Nice X-50 photo
 

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flateric

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July 14, 2003 – unmanned aerial vehicle flight demonstration - Webster Field annex to Naval Air Station, Patuxent River.
Photo by Jim Garamone

http://www.defenselink.mil/news/newsarticle.aspx?id=28728
 

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CammNut said:
Sorry these are such low resolution, but they come from a paper given at the AIAA's 2003 Centenniel of Flight conference in Dayton. They illustrate Boeing's thoughts on operational applications of the canard rotor wing (CRW) concept for a high-speed, stopped-rotor, V/STOL aircraft. DARPA cancelled the X-50A Dragonfly programme after both unmanned subscale demonstrators crashed while still in hover testing, but apparently there is new interest in the CRW (but not money yet) from an undisclosed source.

I'm inerested in these concepts-- was there ever any more information about them, or were these simply: Hey, this looks cool illo's on the part of the artists?
 

flateric

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official Boeing's NAVY CRW 3-view
 

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flateric

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McDonnell Douglas - original patent of two CRW configurations from 1995
Interesting to compare to official 3-view in previous post
 

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flateric

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and now for something bigger...Boeing 2005 transport CRW patent
 

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