We stumbled across a pretty intriguing wing design the other day – along with a company that plans to put it into a drone. Let’s just say it’s unlike any traditional design you’ve likely seen before.
Not surprisingly, there are a ton of different wing designs out there for fixed-wing aircraft. There are different shapes and sizes, but they all have one thing in common: They need to provide lift. They do so by forcing air to move faster over the top surface, which causes a pressure differential between the top and bottom of the wing. With lower pressure on top and higher pressure below the wing, it’s effectively pushed up, lifting the wing and the aircraft attached to it.
That principle is a constant in all wing designs. What differs are the various shapes of wings.
A very unusual wing
A company called FLY-R UAS has been working on building a UAS that takes advantage of something called a Rhomboidal Wing. Here’s how they describe it:
“A rhomboidal wing is part of the closed-wing family. It is characterized by the shape of diamond on the 3 axis and the absence of a vertical control surface. The advantages of this wing over a conventional wing (cantilever) of similar performances are:
- “wingspan reduced by about half;
- “reduced aerodynamic drag;
- “structural mass decreased by one-third;
- “wide range of speed;
- “high and relatively constant lift/drag ratio;
- “high maneuverability.”
What does a Rhomboidal Wing it look like?
Very, very different from what we might call more conventional wings. Have a look at this image, from FLY-R’s website:
About FLY-R UAS
This company hadn’t hit our radar yet, but it’s pretty interesting. Formed in 2013, three experienced UAV engineers are at its core. The firm is located on the French island of Réunion – a volcanic island off the southeastern coast of Africa – not too far east of Madagascar. It’s a pretty remote location:
It’s website says it’s developing a total of five different rhomboidal wing UAVs:
The first two aircraft, the R2-150 and the R2-240, have the unique capability of autonomous ship-based operation using a vacuum launcher and an autonomous recovery system. These ancillaries, launcher system and recovery system, are also innovative products developed by our company.
The first two aircraft, the R2-150 and the R2-240, have the unique capability of autonomous ship-based operation using a vacuum launcher and an autonomous recovery system. These ancillaries, launcher system and recovery system, are also innovative products developed by our company. The latter two aircraft, the R2-400 and the R2-600, are mainly suited to defense missions. They belong in the category of ‘MALE’ UAVs (Medium Altitude/Long Endurance). Finally, the R2-HSTD, is a high-speed target drone offering a realistic and cost-effective training tool for surface defence and air combat training.
Here’s a look at the R2-150:
We’ll keep you posted
This wing really intrigues us. We’ll keep an eye on FLY-R, and hope to see some videos on the horizon of one of these aircraft in flight.