#508: Wind-up

Imagine how cool it would be if all light aircraft could develop vertical take off capability.

Today’s invention attempts to supply limited VTO and so greatly reduce the amount of space required for planes to get airborne (I’m not saying anything about landing). Aircraft carrier based planes, of course, use steam-driven launchers and arrestor hooks but I’m talking about achieving very much shorter take-offs. These have the added advantages that the noise footprint can be restricted and all that sickening take-off vibration, as engines and airframes are stressed, can be avoided.

Park your light aircraft facing away from the intakes of say two jet engines (located in a noise dampening enclosure, fixed on the ground). Fire both the jets up briefly, together with the plane’s propellor. The airspeed over the wings can be made high enough to levitate the aircraft whilst the groundspeed is still almost zero (just like on a very windy day). The plane’s engine is sufficiently powerful to sustain flight as it moves upstream to lower speed regions of the jets’ intake flowfield.

Thus a small plane can be launched with almost no runway.

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