Al Bowers and the Bell-Shaped Curve

Dean Sigler Basic Science Research Program, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

Al Bowers has promoted a different kind of lift distribution curve for wings in his talks at the Experimental Soaring Association’s Western workshop, held every Labor Day weekend at Mountain Valley Airport in Tehachapi, California.  Most aerodynamics textbooks model the elliptical lift distribution as an ideal to be achieved in wing design.   R. J. Mitchell, designer of the classic Spitfire fighter, incorporated an elliptical planform, which serendipitously allowed room for the Browning machine guns in the capacious inboard sections.  What could be wrong with that when the finest sailplanes exploit that same theory in their slender spans? Albion Bowers is retiring Chief Scientist at NASA Armstrong Flight Research Center, Edwards Air Force Base.  His experiments with an alternative way of …

An Image of the Future at the 2017 Sustainable Aviation Symposium

Dean Sigler Electric Aircraft Components, Sustainable Aviation 0 Comments

The Seeleys and SA board members did themselves proud for this year’s Sustainable Aviation Symposium.  Your editor visited the grand ballroom in the San Francisco Bay Pullman Hotel the night before the meeting was to take place.  All the tables, chairs and stage were in place, but the room was otherwise bare.  Early next morning, your editor trudged downstairs again, to be met with an astonishing sight.  At the back of the ballroom, a pair of exotic geometric shapes glowed in blue and green lighting.  Somehow, a 50-foot wing and substantial streamlined shape had materialized overnight.  Already, attendees were peering up at the extremely twisted tips of the wings and trying to analyze what they saw before them. Aspirational Geometries …