Aerodynamic ‘bellyflaps’ may make aircraft easier to handle in emergency

December 18th, 2007 - 1:23 pm ICT by admin  

London, December 18 (ANI): A US researcher has come up with an idea to make aeroplanes easier to handle, something that is very important for manoeuvring them in emergency situations.

Ron Blackwelder, an aerospace engineer at the University of Southern California in Los Angeles, proposes to add extra control surfaces or “bellyflaps” to the underside of the aircraft to increase manoeuvrability.

Blended wing aircraft, streamlined planes with a fuselage blended together with the wings to form one whole, have significant advantages over conventional planes in terms of generating less drag, being quieter, and using far less fuel.

However, these aircraft are much less manoeuvrable, Blackwelder says in a New Scientist report. He says that since their nose pitches up or down at a slow rate, it is very hard for a pilot to change altitude quickly.

Blackwelder says that the problem lies with the aerodynamic surfaces that control an aircraft’s pitch, which are closer to the aircraft’s centre of gravity than those on a conventional aircraft. The result is that the aerodynamic forces generated by such surfaces produce less of a turning force when the plane is manoeuvred, he adds.

According to him, the problem can be solved by adding bellyflaps to the underside of the aircraft. These flaps work in conjunction with other aerodynamics surfaces to increase the rate of pitch, and should make the aircraft easier to handle, he says. (ANI)

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