Austrian company debuts revolutionary wingless aircraft

Jun 24, 2011 by Bob Yirka report

(PhysOrg.com) -- A firm from Austria, Austrian Innovative Aeronautical Technology (IAT21) has unveiled a new type of aircraft that flies without wings or rotors, at the Paris Air Show. Though not actually flown at the show, spokesmen for the new aircraft, named D-Dalus (no doubt after the tragic Greek figure Daedalus, who lost his son Icarus when his wings melted as he flew too close to the sun) claim the aircraft is capable of both hovering and flying forward as fast as a jet, all with very little noise.

The is actually based on old technology; it flies by means of rotating discs surrounded by blades whose angle of attack can be altered in flight. The discs are spun by means of a conventional . What’s new is the computer and software that controls the blades, allowing for very precise flying. The company says D-Dalus can hover next to a wall, maneuver though buildings or even lay still atop a moving bobbing ship in bad weather by pushing itself down against the deck.

The power comes from its four 2200-rpm turbines and can be thrust in any of 360 degrees, allowing the D-Dalus to launch vertically, hover, dart around and to remain stable even in turbulent conditions. The company also says the craft requires very little maintenance and would be cheaper than current vertical takeoff aircraft and because of its new “friction free bearing at the points of high G force” the craft should be, according to the company, as quiet as a whisper.

So far, the D-Dalus is still just a prototype, and has been flown only in a laboratory near Salzburg as a pilotless drone. In its current configuration, it has five foot (about a meter and a half) long turbines and is capable of carrying 150 pounds (70kg) of cargo. Information on the company website indicates that the initial primary use for such a vehicle would be to assist in search and rescue operations at sea or after disasters, or possibly for surveillance; though it leaves open the door to the possibility of scaling the up enough in size to accommodate passengers.

IAT21 has formed a partnership with Cranfield University in the UK to work through flight certification. If all goes according to plan, the D-Dalus should be ready for viewing by others very soon.

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Nikola
5 / 5 (3) Jun 24, 2011
Cool! I hope it really works as well as they think it will.
stealthc
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 24, 2011
why not just fly it to someone with a harness and a hook, this way one can suit up and go for a boot. Screw the cockpit, just hang there!
Tachyon8491
1 / 5 (2) Jun 24, 2011
The "D-Dalus" / Daedalus correspondence seems a little fate-challenging, like calling a new ship-design Ti-Tanic... Perhaps they should have called it "I-Carus" instead.
Enfin, brilliant potential here and interesting if it's SAFELY scalable. Any asymmetric thrust caused by component failure would seem to cause disaster here unless cleverly compensated for - unlike in aerodynamically streamlined, dynamic lift-suspended designs.
Jat
not rated yet Jun 24, 2011
iirc Daedalus was an inventor
CapitalismPrevails
3 / 5 (4) Jun 24, 2011
This kind of seems to good to be true. Maybe DARPA will invest in this.
fuviss_co_uk
not rated yet Jun 24, 2011
every town rescue team should have machine like this

I am also curious what will be the price of this master piece of technology & engineering
Scientist_Steve
5 / 5 (3) Jun 24, 2011
Very interesting stuff.
However, why does the picture of it look likes it's from 1945.......
ClevorTrever
3 / 5 (8) Jun 24, 2011
Why do I smell cow dung?
pt30
1.8 / 5 (5) Jun 24, 2011
Until we see a working prototype, this is nothing. Keep walking...
Javinator
4 / 5 (4) Jun 24, 2011
Until we see a working prototype, this is nothing. Keep walking...


From the article:

So far, the D-Dalus is still just a prototype, and has been flown only in a laboratory near Salzburg as a pilotless drone.


Sounds like there is a working prototype.
that_guy
2.3 / 5 (3) Jun 24, 2011
Very interesting stuff.
However, why does the picture of it look likes it's from 1945.......

I saw another article on this on io9, I believe, including regular pictures. The company has a website that is created by wordpress software. There are no pictures of it flying, and definitely no videos - and it appears that no one has seen it fly yet, outside of the company.

In some ways this whole thing absolutely smacks of BS, yet the whole concept and facts surrounding it are so freaking plausible. Stay tuned. I'll lead the lynchmob if this is all bogus.
pt30
3.5 / 5 (4) Jun 24, 2011
Until we see a working prototype, this is nothing. Keep walking...


From the article:

So far, the D-Dalus is still just a prototype, and has been flown only in a laboratory near Salzburg as a pilotless drone.


Sounds like there is a working prototype.


Have you seen it working?
Wulfgar
5 / 5 (3) Jun 24, 2011
Could they be more vague about how this thing works?
Silverhill
not rated yet Jun 24, 2011
(from the article)
The company says D-Dalus can hover next to a wall, maneuver though buildings or even lay still
Whether the company, or the PhysOrg writer, said this, someone should be ashamed of his/her sloppiness. The craft can (reputedly) LIE still....
ubavontuba
4 / 5 (8) Jun 24, 2011
First the article states:

...flies without wings or rotors
then it states:

...it flies by means of rotating discs surrounded by blades whose angle of attack can be altered in flight.
So, how is this not a rotor?

ro·tor (rtr)
n.
1. A rotating part of an electrical or mechanical device.
2. An assembly of rotating horizontal airfoils, as that of a helicopter.

http://www.thefre...om/rotor
Telekinetic
3 / 5 (4) Jun 25, 2011
I built a hovercraft years ago and have flown ultralight aircraft afterwards. The disappointment I experienced stems from the antiquated technology of pushing air for propulsion.
Show me something that is truly different. Do I have to go to Area 51 to find it?
Deesky
5 / 5 (6) Jun 25, 2011
because of its new friction free bearing at the points of high G force the craft should be, according to the company, as quiet as a whisper.

How can it be whisper quiet if it's driven by an 'airplane engine' (piston, jet)?
scorpio
5 / 5 (3) Jun 25, 2011
Disappointed nobody noticed or mentioned that this is essentially Tesla's design for a wingless aircraft. Anyone calling BS on this should go look up the tesla turbine.

Far from revolutionary, this design is a century old. Its about time someone put it into practice.
keeshu
5 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2011
In the 1950s-1960s there were two such machines built. One by Rolls Royce as a testbed for their jet engines in 1953, and one by Bell Aerospace as a testbed for the Lunar Lander. See 'flying bedstead' on wikipedia.
bluehigh
1 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2011
Tesla turbines are used for some specific applications, however they can be frustratingly inefficient as perhaps shown by the mention of this flying bed with 4 turbines carrying just 70kg. Scale it up to say 400 turbines on something the size of an aircraft carrier to fly less than 100 people ... nah.
dandaniels
not rated yet Jun 25, 2011
its nothing to do with a tesla turbine, iv got a one disk with two blads on it i wouldent call them blades tho, makes over 1 oz of gs at low rpm small 12 v motor running it..
FrankHerbert
2.6 / 5 (10) Jun 25, 2011
Disappointed nobody noticed or mentioned that this is essentially Tesla's design for a wingless aircraft. Anyone calling BS on this should go look up the tesla turbine.

Far from revolutionary, this design is a century old. Its about time someone put it into practice.


Tesla also invented fluorescent lighting in the 1880's and we are only now widely adopting the technology.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2011
This is essentially a Darrieus wind turbine in reverse,with pitch control of the individual vanes: http://en.wikiped..._turbine
that_guy
5 / 5 (1) Jun 25, 2011
Disappointed nobody noticed or mentioned that this is essentially Tesla's design for a wingless aircraft. Anyone calling BS on this should go look up the tesla turbine.

Far from revolutionary, this design is a century old. Its about time someone put it into practice.


Tesla also invented fluorescent lighting in the 1880's and we are only now widely adopting the technology.


flourescent technology has advanced quite significantly since tesla invented it. It has been widely adopted for decades in areas where it was mature enough to be beneficial. A reliable CFL design that works in light sockets is actually a rather recent innovation.

Yeah, I'd agree that it's a pretty good parallel - just because tesla or someone else came up with the idea or concept doesn't mean that a practicle concept is immediately available, many things need additional work and innovation to get off the ground.
FrankHerbert
1.7 / 5 (6) Jun 25, 2011
My point was that old technologies persist while new ones mature.

However, I believe CFLs would have been a trivial improvement on the technology since at least the 60's or 70's. I'd say the newest technology in CFLs is probably the solid state rectifier diodes which have been around since... I think at least the 40's, maybe earlier. They haven't changed much since the 70's.

So the only real advancement on the technology that I'm aware of is the miniaturization of electronics to the point that a power supply could fit in the base of the bulb.

This also is not necessary. The bulb and power supply could be separate like in ceiling designs. Small versions of these have been available as desk lamps since at least the 60's or 70's. I have my Dad's from when he was in highschool and it still has the original bulb and ballast.

A better solution would be to design lamps meant to use florescent bulbs in the first place, where the bulb and power supply are separate and replaceable.
Skepticus
3.7 / 5 (6) Jun 25, 2011
@ ubavontuba

Fully agree. Anything that rotates(to provide the lift)is a rotational device- a rotor. Quite hard to understand, isn't it?
The writer(s) or the press releaser(s) are talking through their as***!
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 25, 2011
@ ubavontuba

Fully agree. Anything that rotates(to provide the lift)is a rotational device- a rotor. Quite hard to understand, isn't it?
The writer(s) or the press releaser(s) are talking through their as***!

I think you're both splitting hairs here.Although awkwardly explained,the writer was just trying to say that the new design does not use overhead helicopter type airfoils or propeller airfoils as found on tilt-wing aircraft.
gwrede
2.6 / 5 (5) Jun 25, 2011
friction free bearing at the points of high G force the craft should be, according to the company, as quiet as a whisper.

This is crap. Period. friction free bearing at the points of high G force is simply a text-book example of snake-oil sales lingo.

And anybody who has seen a military helicopter flying in Stealth Mode, knows that the word quiet is not the first thing that comes to your mind. And a contraption like this is unlikely to be any quieter.

These guys are simply out to get $100M in funding, and then fade away with the money. They will pretend to be working on the project while covertly transferring the funds to an overseas bank in a shady country.

I'm sorry to be a spoil-sport, but this is way too obvious.
Newbeak
5 / 5 (2) Jun 25, 2011
"This is crap. Period. friction free bearing at the points of high G force is simply a text-book example of snake-oil sales lingo."
I wouldn't call it crap just yet.There are almost friction free magnetic bearings for energy storage flywheels.
Scams are the Rossi cold fusion generator device (http://www.popsci...ugh),and the Blacklight Power scheme (http://www.museum.../3751/).
hard2grep
3.7 / 5 (3) Jun 25, 2011
if it is an air mover, then it is not going to be any different than it's brethren. why not go full Tesla and pick something with no moving parts like a static drive...
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 25, 2011
if it is an air mover, then it is not going to be any different than it's brethren. why not go full Tesla and pick something with no moving parts like a static drive...

Oh,it is going to be different,if it pans out.It's most interesting feature is that it has no exposed rotor blades,which makes it very useful for tall building and cliff rescues.Helicopters can only get so close to buildings and cliffs.
Deelkar
not rated yet Jun 26, 2011
"This is crap. Period. friction free bearing at the points of high G force is simply a text-book example of snake-oil sales lingo."

Or a translation error. I read the German press release and it talks about "ein reibungsfreies Lager, das hohen Beschleunigungskräften standhält" -- frictionless bearing able to work under high G-forces.
dandaniels
not rated yet Jun 26, 2011
it doesent push air it it uses the engen power to push weight up,a lot of weight on those bearings at those rpm ,my toy model one makes a bit of sound, even in a steel box the box would still fly , heigh speed space travel here we come
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 26, 2011
it doesent push air it it uses the engen power to push weight up,a lot of weight on those bearings at those rpm ,my toy model one makes a bit of sound, even in a steel box the box would still fly , heigh speed space travel here we come

No,it is in effect the reverse of a Darrieus wind turbine.Instead of turning wind into rotational energy,it is powered,and creates a thrust ( or lift).The thrust direction depends on which airfoils on the cylinder are set to an increased pitch. It would not work in a vacuum,as it interacts with air to generate lift.
dandaniels
not rated yet Jun 26, 2011
No,it is in effect the reverse of a Darrieus wind turbine.Instead of turning wind into rotational energy,it is powered,and creates a thrust ( or lift).The thrust direction depends on which airfoils on the cylinder are set to an increased pitch. It would not work in a vacuum,as it interacts with air to generate lift. > can you see airfoils in the photo NO but if you look you can see the bearing and the (blade) that gives the (blade) the angle of attack that gives it its lift
Newbeak
5 / 5 (1) Jun 26, 2011
No,it is in effect the reverse of a Darrieus wind turbine.Instead of turning wind into rotational energy,it is powered,and creates a thrust ( or lift).The thrust direction depends on which airfoils on the cylinder are set to an increased pitch. It would not work in a vacuum,as it interacts with air to generate lift. > can you see airfoils in the photo NO but if you look you can see the bearing and the (blade) that gives the (blade) the angle of attack that gives it its lift

And your point is?
dandaniels
not rated yet Jun 26, 2011
And your point is > the only air needed is as fuel > ill have one small electic one that fits in a backpack to take away please....
YawningDog
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
Geez! It looks like the parts came in.
Magnette
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
It sounds as if it's working by vectoring jet streams in very much the same way as the Harrier VTOL aircraft has been doing for decades...or I've misinterpreted the article.

For all you guys calling crap, there is already a version of this at Cranfield University for testing (my son works there)and, although it hasn't flown yet, it's showing promise. They have a lot of testing to do first before anyone would be allowed to fly it.

CapitalismPrevails...Why would DARPA invest in this? It's a European project with no ties to the USA.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 27, 2011
It sounds as if it's working by vectoring jet streams in very much the same way as the Harrier VTOL aircraft has been doing for decades...or I've misinterpreted the article.

For all you guys calling crap, there is already a version of this at Cranfield University for testing (my son works there)and, although it hasn't flown yet, it's showing promise. They have a lot of testing to do first before anyone would be allowed to fly it.

CapitalismPrevails...Why would DARPA invest in this? It's a European project with no ties to the USA.

I still think it is the reverse of a Darrieus wind turbine.See this site: http://en.wikiped..._turbine
ssco00
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
Things like this have been made before; there is no reason to say it is BS as far as that goes. It would be very noisy and very fuel intensive by its very nature. It would also be very unstable, but with today's computing power it could be made flyable with automatic control assist. Anything that relies on pure thrust to get lift uses huge amounts of fuel. Being able to carry out essential jobs nothing else can do would make it worthwhile. It just requires super reliability of engines and control electronics. Any failure would bring it crashing down immediately. Early Harriers had that problem. The McDonnell version had the automation to make it less of a hazard, however I understand it was still the most dangerous aircraft in the Marine inventory. I don't think any other service flew it. Fortunately, today's components and materials can make this sort of thing possible at much reduced risk.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
"Things like this have been made before; there is no reason to say it is BS as far as that goes".
I don't see why it would be exceptionally noisy or fuel guzzling-it uses balanced spinning cylinders.Not sure how stable it would be with manual control.From what I can gather from the description,it does NOT rely on pure thrust to get lift.The vanes on the periphery of the cylinders are like thin wings with adjustable pitch.I believe this is how thrust/lift is generated. I agree that a power failure would be bad news-this thing can't auto-rotate to the ground.Perhaps it could be fitted with one of those ballistic recovery chutes: http://www.brsaer...ome.aspx
dandaniels
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
i will try one last time- see the bearing closest to you on the left, follow it along to the right see it goes tho the spinning disk itll be on a rocker typ bearing there keep following it to the right see the heavey weight there on the end of the (blade),see on the side of d-dalus the aly looking part there that will be to control the track that the bearing on the end of the blade runs on,so when the blades are spinning by moveing that track off center it changes angle of attack, so what ever way the track moves d-dalus will fly the other way,> i dont think thiss is the best way to make thiss but rather the easyt way but well dun to them
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 28, 2011
i will try one last time- see the bearing closest to you on the left, follow it along to the right see it goes tho the spinning disk itll be on a rocker typ bearing there keep following it to the right see the heavey weight there on the end of the (blade),see on the side of d-dalus the aly looking part there that will be to control the track that the bearing on the end of the blade runs on,so when the blades are spinning by moveing that track off center it changes angle of attack, so what ever way the track moves d-dalus will fly the other way,> i dont think thiss is the best way to make thiss but rather the easyt way but well dun to them


This site has better pictures: http://www.gizmag.../136298/
No heavy weights visible in these pictures
rwinners
1 / 5 (1) Jun 28, 2011
Hey, just a little bit of science would be very much appreciated.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
Hey, just a little bit of science would be very much appreciated.

Hard to offer anything concrete science-wise when the company has released almost no details.
rwinners
3 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2011
Well, New... why is this 'scientific' item even mentioned here? I can get lots of made-up stuff everywhere.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
Maybe to whet potential investors interest? I doubt if it's made up..
rwinners
3 / 5 (2) Jun 29, 2011
Haven't been around much,have you.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 29, 2011
Haven't been around much,have you.

I hear you,but this isn't a cold fusion scam.It's a spinning cylinder with little wings/airfoils.Either it works,or it doesn't.
rwinners
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
After looking one of the links provided, above, I can see that this is a wind turbine in reverse with variable pitch blades. I guess it could be called a ducted flow fan, although the fans don't look like conventional ones.
I see potential problems with the variable pitch part, mainly with regard to the mechanics.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
After looking one of the links provided, above, I can see that this is a wind turbine in reverse with variable pitch blades. I guess it could be called a ducted flow fan, although the fans don't look like conventional ones.
I see potential problems with the variable pitch part, mainly with regard to the mechanics.

Yes,that is the design's weak point,IMHO.Those "friction free bearings" better be damn tough.
rwinners
1 / 5 (1) Jun 30, 2011
I agree. While Beacon produces an frictionless bearing for their voltage regulation dynamos, there is absolutely no movement of the whole structure and so no side forces.
Newbeak
not rated yet Jun 30, 2011
I agree. While Beacon produces an frictionless bearing for their voltage regulation dynamos, there is absolutely no movement of the whole structure and so no side forces.

I don't see why an arrangement to control side to side forces couldn't be produced,something along the lines of what keeps Maglev trains steady.