Hanging on The Prop, Backwards

Dean Sigler Electric Powerplants, Sustainable Aviation Leave a Comment

Burt Rutan, as part of his keynote address at the World Symposium on Electric Aircraft, “’mused about electric-powered aerobatic aircraft whose reversible motors would enable them to deliver symmetric or asymmetric thrust as called for by each maneuver,’” according to the Experimental Aircraft Association’s news release by James Wynbrandt.

“’Imagine an Oshkosh air show where [the planes] dive straight toward the ground and stop,’” Rutan said. ‘They’re not fantasy anymore. The RC [radio-controlled model] indoor guys are doing this.

“’It’s happening. It’s easy to do.’”

Video proof of Rutan’s assertion can be found on YouTube.

The Electric Tournament of Champions, held at Toledo, Ohio April 3rd and 4th, 2009 drew competitors from all over the world.  As shown in the video, R. J. Gritter showed off his variable-pitch (obviously capable of reverse thrust) “foamie” type model, named for the light-weight closed-cell foam from which these little craft are made.  Note also the pivoting wings.  Gritter is not the first to accomplish reverse flight, examples on YouTube going back to at least 2005, but he is one of the more polished performers with this extreme of radio-controlled flight.

This blog will have more on the rest of Burt Rutan’s, as well as other presenters’ talks, in following entries.

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