Originally Posted by tspeer
I readily admit to being no expert on WIG's. My WIG experience is pretty much limited to post-lecture conversations with Alexander Lippisch and a NASA engineer (whose name escapes me at the moment) that went to Russia for NASA-sponsored flight tests of their WIG's on the Caspian Sea. Other than that, I have to fall back on general engineering principles learned getting my Masters' in aeronautical engineering, completing the Air Force Test Pilot School as a Distinguished Graduate of the Flight Test Engineering Course, and flying several hundred hours of flight test missions on all types of aircraft from helicopters to fighters to the Goodyear Blimp. And almost three decades of engineering experience.
Sigh ... Thanks Tom, That helps me to understand why you don't seem to
be grasping this concept. Usually, those who have extensive backgrounds
in aeronautical design, engineering, and theory fail to fully understand
Aerofoil Boat (WIG) design. My opinion is that this is due to an overload
of mathematical theories all related to aircraft design, most of which
have no relevance to Aerofoil Boat operation.
An exception was Dr. Alexander Lippisch, whose background was founded in
aircraft design (mostly centred around 'delta wings')... hence his great
contribution to WIG design through the development of the anhedral reversed
delta platform. Lippischs' experimental prototypes ( X-113 and X-114 )
were concentrated more on developing Type C WIG, and in these craft
aeronautical design does play a significant role.
However, even before Lippisch began thinking about wing-in-ground-effect
as applied to 'boat' design, the Russian shipbuiler Rostislav Alexeiev
began to design ships (from a naval engineering viewpoint) which employed
WIG principles in his designs. This came from his understanding that
hydrofoils had certain design speed limitations, and he reasoned that if
the foil could be lifted clear of the water, these speed limiting factors
could be eliminated. Although Dr. Lippisch (and his student Hanno Fisher)
are highly regarded as pioneers of WIG, Alexieve must surely be regarded
as the 'father' of WIG / Aerofoil Boat design building pre-cursors to the KM
long before 'the west' was even considering such advanced boat designs. http://aquaglide.ru/history_e.htm
The differences between the background of these two designers
illustrate that one approached the 'problem' from an aeronautical
viewpoint, whereas the other approached it from a hydrodynamic
viewpoint. If the 'problem' is approached from a strictly aerodynamic
perspective, then I would have to agree with you that the HF concept
would be an ineffecient aircraft, However the craft is not meant to be
an 'aeroplane', but rather a highly effecient 'boat' (Aerofoil Boat / Type B WIG).
In an attempt to explain further the differences, there are a few Aerofoil Boat
designers who have abandoned the wing-foil shape completely and are
experimenting with flat surfaces to create the ram cushion, and apparently
with great success... suddenly even more 'aerodynamic principles, math
and theory' disintegrate into irrelevance. It's a bit like an aerodynamic
engineer trying to prove (through reams of data) why a paper aircraft
cannot fly, as a kid folds one and sends it 'flying' across a field.
A 'WIG' (Type B WIG / Aerofoil Boat) is a BOAT, not an 'aircraft', it is
not an attempt to create an aircraft, and does not operate in the
design parameters of aircraft (3 axis control). WIG in fact, are more
closely related to advanced tunnel-hull, advanced hydroplanes, and advanced
hovercraft in their operating parameters. Actually, the Chinese 'SWAN'
Aerofoil Boat (see photo below), is almost capable of 'hovering' and VTOL utilizing 'PAR' (power assisted ram).
I also think you could 'tone down' your 'hard' criticisms of the concept
through such terms as ... "This is what you get when an artist sticks together trendy buzzwords to make a pretty picture with no understanding of the engineering behind the concepts, or of the design requirements for the intended mission... cartoons" ...."
We get the point that, (in your opinion) the concept has no validity. Thanks for your observations - obviously everyone is entitled to their own opinions. I guess the 'proof will be in the pudding', and we will have to wait to see the final testing to actually determine whether the concept is valid or not. Most aeronautical engineers believed the 'Swan' was a ridiculous concept when first proposed also, but it has been successfully operating as a 12 passenger ferry on a Chinese lake since the late 1990's.