Personal Aircraft Carrier

Discussion in 'Boat Design' started by Toot, Sep 15, 2006.

  1. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    Ok. Let's get this out in the open. I'm not designing one, I'm not building one, and I never will. This is just a mental ************ exercise that I play with when I've had a few too many beers. If you don't want to play along, I don't blame you one bit! :) I've just been thinking about this....

    A light aircraft of typical construction and modern design can land at about 42-48mph (stall 30-38). Take off and landing, under its own power, in zero headwind, is about 200 feet. As a practical matter, an aircraft is alway taking off and landing into the wind on a carrier because you can turn the ship into the wind for this purpose. Also, the use of arresting cables can shorten the landing distance. A typical plane will brake at a rate of less than .5 G. A rate of 1G would halve the landing distance to about 100 feet and still wouldn't be applying but a fraction of the inflight loads (2G is common, 3G isn't uncommon, 6G is often the minimum intended max load). Obviously, gear would have to be stouter and attach points for arresting hooks would be necessary, but with such adjustments, 100 foot landing roll would be doable.

    Take off is another story. Custom-designed steam catapults are expensive as all heck, I'd imagine. LOL. But, taking off, needing to reach an airspeed of 40mph, and with a 15mph headwind, means you're only accelerating 25mph (albeit from 15-40, not from 0-25, so there's drag issues there and whatnot). But I'd hazard to say that 150ft would be a conservative takeoff distance in this scenario, neverminding the aircraft that are REALLY designed for short-takeoff performance, that can stall around 25mph- they could almost lift off from a standstill!!!

    So the capability of an aircraft to take off and land from a 100-125 foot deck shouldn't be in question. Sure, carrier landings are dangerous, but a part of that is the relative speeds. A jet fighter will be landing at 100mph+ with the carrier travelling at 20kts(?). That's an 80mph difference. Whereas, what I am proposing is a 10kt ship being approached by a 30kt plane, for an approach speed of 20kts. I can almost ride a bicycle that fast!


    So why hasn't it been done? Surely there is some rich lunatic out there with lots of money to spend (and sadly, it is not I). Yes, it's dangerous, yes you would have to keep a crew on board to maneuver the ship into the wind for landings and takeoffs, but I would think that there would be at least one or two crazy rich people in the world who would want to be the first....

    And you've got to admit, a small 2,3, or 4 seat airplane would be one heck of a lot cooler than your typical tender.


    So what is your take on it? Why hasn't it been done? How long until it *is* done? What would it cost?




    And once again, this is strictly a mental ************ exercise. As such, please don't waste any time of effort that you don't truly want to spend on this question. If nobody responds, my feelings will not be hurt in the slightest.

    Cheers!
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. Robert Gainer
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    Robert Gainer Designer/Builder

    In one word

    Helicopter
     
  3. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    In three words:
    Not as cool. :)


    In four words:
    Not as much range. :)
     
  4. Robert Gainer
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    Robert Gainer Designer/Builder

    You think so?

    It all depends on what you think is cool. I can fly a small plane but can’t fly a helicopter so the helicopter is the cool item to me.

    I really don’t know how it works but I thought that a Bell Jet Ranger had a longer range then most small 2 or 4 person aircraft. Just an impression really but that’s my recollection.
     
  5. Figgy
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    Figgy Senior Member

    HA! That would be cool! But honestly, I think people dont build one is the complicated systems, and the fact youd have one heck of a time getting cleared into ports!
     
  6. Smoothride
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    Smoothride Dog Owner

    A piper cub could do this pretty easily. A super cub might be better with the bigger engine.

    I think you're talking about mostly high wing airplanes such as a C-152 or 172. Most low wing airplanes stall a little higher (airspeed).

    Most airplanes fly final approach at 1.3Vs for their current flap configuration. All factory manufactured airplanes have flight manuals where you can extract landing and takeoff performance, and some of the most common ones of these are online.

    I can tell you also that no "normal" jet business aircraft or turboprops would be able to land on a "small" aircraft carrier. A pilatus porter might be a good bet though (single engine turbo prop)! Another option might be a pilatus PC-12 commonly called a "platipus" in the biz. The platipus is a low wing, but it may be able to do it. A lightly loaded C-130 landed on a large carrier a long time ago (nutty).

    To sum it up, go for a STOL aircraft (Short TakeOff and Landing). :D

    Beers,
    SR
     
  7. yipster
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    yipster designer

    check out the "pilatus" it takes off and lands on a dime
     
  8. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    Ever hear of the Fieseler Storch?

    It was a German aircraft in WWII. To this day, it's probably the most advanced piston-powered STOL around. Stall speed, IIRC, was about 28mph. It had nose flaps which were basically attached to a spring. Air pressure "retracted" them above a certain airspeed. Today, there's a 3/4 scale version that the manufacturer claims can take off and land in 75 feet. It sounds a bit optimistic, but it also sounds possible. It's got a 140hp which is a pretty good amount for a light 2-seater. Though, again, 200ft of take off roll is "typical" for a small piston-powered STOL.

    The Pilatus and other heavy turboprops all need at least a thousand feet. They land short by corporate standards, but not by aircraft-carrier standards. I think to do it, you'd need to resign yourself to an aircraft that carried no more than 4, preferably 2 for starters, and it would require a fair amount of modification to the landing gear and a VERY aggressive STOL planform- much more aggressive than a typical bush plane, so I think an experimental aircraft would be the way to go. It would also allow you to make necessary changes and adjustments on a whim without the FAA looking over your shoulder quite as much.

    I always go back to the Fieseler Storch. sub-30mph stall speed. You could practically hover it over the moving boat and just jump out. The Kitfox is another aircraft that might fit the bill. Thousands built, simple steel-tube construction, very lightweight. It could be made to work as well.

    I figure 120 feet of runway would be enough to launch a small aircraft like those above. You could probably get away with a hundred foot boat with a 20 foot overhang off the bow. Maybe 30 feet wide at a bare minimum. Again, there could be overhangs to accomplish this size.


    Ball park estimate... what would the pitching moment of such a ship be? How many degrees would the ship pitch in a given sea condition and how quickly would it do so?
     
  9. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    Ports Warts Shmorts! You just strap yourself in, put the throttle full-forward and head for whichever air port you'd like.

    I guess you'd have to leave somebody behind though... or maybe just a few guard dogs or something. :)
     
  10. stevel
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    stevel Lost at sea

    Cool idea

    I think this idea is a blast! I agree with the helicoptor answer in one respect, however. The fact that the helicoptor is a more practical solution, that one is the one that actually does get built. I think your proposal would be much more fun. As an added bonus, think of the fun that could be had on all of that deck space when the bird aint flying.
     
  11. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    The thought of the "party deck" had, indeed occured to me. :)


    String up some 18 foot nets around with weights at the bottom, and you've got a nice tennis court, basketball court, or whatever.

    And tell me it wouldn't be cool just to be partying alongside all of those running landing lights.... (even if you never did intend to do a night landing) :D
     
  12. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    I also have thought about using a crane to lift and lower a small 2-4 person amphibious plane.

    Water take off and landings, taxi up to the boat, and then use either a crane or elevator to lift your plane up to the ship. How much space would that require? Well....

    A plane of that size would have a wingspan of perhaps 20-30 feet and a length of about 20 feet with a weight of under a thousand pounds or so. So, really, if you were dedicated to doing it, it could be held on a somewhat small vessel... you'd just have to have a way to keep it out of the elements so it doesn't blow away if the winds get bad.

    But, once again, like the helicopter, it's not nearly as cool. :)


    I really do believe that such a boat will be built in my lifetime. I don't think it will be in the next ten years, but I do think it will happen. Undoubtedly, somebody with money and a touch of insanity will do this at some point.
     
  13. Smoothride
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    Smoothride Dog Owner

    Toot,

    That Storch is a favorite of mine also, I saw a restored one at the local airport in Washington. Never built a model of one as a kid though, they 'aint the purtiest bird at the field; but they sort of have that FUNCTIONAL beauty, like an F-4...

    The pilatus takes off in 646 ft at sea level, without the 50 foot obstacle figured in (which you wouldn't need because you are taking off in the middle of the ocean).

    The kitfox seems like a very lightweight possibility. Maybe a Murphy Moose? Maule? Paragliders? Experimentals with triple slotted flaps, and slats to boot? Screw it, if you can afford a small aircraft carrier, then you can just get a civilian version of the V-22. It looks cool, goes fast, and carries lots of people.

    Seriously, the Moose has floats, it's robust, it's an inexpensive kitplane made out of METAL, and it has a RADIAL ENGINE, which is by itself, very cool. Good times.
     
  14. Toot
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    Toot Senior Member

    Oh goodness! I didn't even think of this until now.....

    GYROCOPTERS!!!! Take off and land in 50 feet or less!!!! That would be almost vertical take off and landing if you were flying into a headwind or the boat were steaming forward!!!

    Ok... so now you could do an aircraft carrier on a 50 foot boat!!! I guess it wouldn't be as cool as an actual airplane... but.....

    A gyroplane can be built for under $30K. You only need 30 feet or runway to safely take off and land. No arresting cables or anything. That's FAR cheaper than a helicopter. You'd cruise at 80-120mph straight off the boat. It could almost bring the technology of aerial exit from a boat a full order of magnitude lower in price....

    you'd just have to sacrifice your deck layout... a lot.


    Here's an example. Rotary Air Force RAF2000

    It's not quite as elegant as a helicopter but it's a heck of a lot cheaper.



    Ladies and gentlemen, I think I just figured out what I'm gonna do once I have a million or so in the bank.
     

  15. Smoothride
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    Smoothride Dog Owner

    Gyrocopters? Surely you jest

    Gyrocopters = for girls. ;)

    Beers,
    SR
     
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