måndag 10 september 2012

Burt Rutan and Scaled Composites: SpaceShipOne

Burt Rutan is famous for innovative flight designs including SpaceShipOne, the Voyager and an early rigid sail for Ameriacs Cup developed at his company Scaled Composites. I have sent an email to the company to see if there is interest in our new theory of flight.

New theory may open to new innovative designs, or at least remove obstacles to new designs set by Old Theory.

As concerns the aerodynamics of the Voyager, we read:
  • The respectable lift-to-drag ratio of approximately 32 was achieved by careful shaping of the wings for laminar flow, avoiding drag-producing protuberances, and careful design of the engine cooling air paths.
We see here an influence of the Old Theory supporting a common belief that laminar flow can generate large lift-to-drag ratio by maintaing lift and reducing drag. But is the flow around the Voyager really laminar? Can laminar flow generate large lift?  The speed of the Voyager was about 200 km/hour.

Well, the Reynolds number is larger than 100 millions and so the flow is most likely not laminar.

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