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Virgil Kutnar's strange Rotowing


CLEARANCE: Above Top Secret
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Senior Member
Jun 25, 2009
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The invention relates to an airplane and more especially to a rotor wing lifting and stabilizing device for the same.

The primary object of the invention is the provision of an airplane of this character, wherein through the use of rotor wings and slidable stabilizers, a direct vertical ascent and descent of the airplane may be had, in that under the rotation of the rotor wings in an outward direction when the same come near to the fuselage the air cuts under the latter and forces the airplane upward and on further rotation of the said rotor wings the air is compressed against the underside of the stabilizers or slidable wings, so that the air plane will be continuously pushed upwardly to the vertical and when such rotor wings recede from the sides of the airplane or from under the stabilizers or slidable wings they press against the air on their down stroke to force the plane straight up into the air.
All the above was just one long sentence(!)... Not crystal clear, eh? I'm attaching a cleaned version of the patent three-view arrangement, as well as an article from Modern Mechanix showing a scale model and explaining the mechanism in a more understandable way. It also says that Kutnar was "encouraged" by his experiments with a small model, but that sure doesn't mean a full-size contraption would have worked...




So many projects, so little time...
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Jun 25, 2014
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This machine has strong similarities to the "Butteridge" type described by HG Wells in his 1908 novel "The War in the Air", which also featured Magnus rotors (for that is what they are) and curved upper wings.

For some more real-world examples see:
- Foshag, W.F. and Boehler, G.D.; ''Review and Preliminary Evaluation of Lifting Horizontal-Axis Rotating-Wing Aeronautical Systems (HARWAS)'', Aerophysics Co., 1969. http://www.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/857462.pdf
- Seifert, Jost; "A Review of the Magnus Effect in Aeronautics", Progress in Aerospace Sciences Vol. 55, Elsevier, 2012, pages 17–45.

Sorry, I forgot to note the url for Seifert