New generation of NPO Molniya triplanes


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1 April 2006
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At MAKS Monliya have presented a family of triplanes, stating that they are 'only design bureau in Russia currently studying triplanes'. Note SML-2, fruit of cooperation with 'Russian Aviation Consortium', and M1-012N - follow-on of Molniya-1 (actual Molniya-1 was used as scrap mockup on fire brigade trainings before MAKS, imitating aircraft crashed into Tu-134 and causung fire to both of them).


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Dear flateric,

May I make a minor "poke" at terminology?

In the West. those are called "three surface" wings. Many 3 surface prototypes have flown, but only the Italian Piaggio Avanti made it to production.
Aerodynamically, most (e.g. Piaggio Avanti) three-surface configurations are more like conventional airplanes with a horizontal tail "lifting" downwards, a conventional wing lifting upwards and a canard also lifting upwards.

Avanti has three surfaces because the main spar is routed aft of the cabin pressure vessel, making it nose-heavy. Piaggio added a second lifting surface to lift the nose and restore balance. The canard has no moving controls, so it is purely a lifting surface ... an extra bit of the main wing in an unusual location.
IOW Piaggio SPLIT the main lifting surface into two pieces to route them around the cabin, but still keep the centre-of-lift close to the centre-of-gravity.

Other three-surface planes may have a second lifting surface on the nose (e.g. Wren STOL conversion of Cessna 182) with control surfaces, but those control surfaces are merely flaps (only deflect downwards) to increase lift at low airspeeds. In the case of Wren STOL, they need more nose-up trim at slow landing speeds.
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I must confess i clicked on the link expecting a modern Dreidecker or something...:D
But yes, triplane is technically correct, but three lifting surface is less ambiguous.
Attached is a photo of the Molniya 1, similar to the first image in reply #2.

It was taken by me at Maks'95 at Zhukovsky and carried the markings RA-103. The Buran shuttle is behind.

I always regarded it as a pusher-canard rather than a triplane layout.


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