05. December 2004 · Comments Off on Aeronautical Engineers (And Wannabes), Gather ‘Round · Categories: Military, Technology

I’ve just printed out Bell-Boeing’s 26 page PDF information sheet on the V-22 Osprey – some light bedtime reading. A quick scan indicates there’s little here I don’t already know. But I’m pretty sure at least a few of my readers are a lot smarter on this subject than I am.

As I’m sure most of you know, the Osprey is one of the most ill-fated and politically beleaguered and punted-around projects in military procurement history. And I also know why it’s survived (besides the fact that it represents a lot of employment in a lot of key congressional districts).The Osprey, or a system like it, is an absolutely key component in the “faster and leaner” military of the future. Could you imagine how history might be different if we would of had fully functional Ospreys for Operation Eagle Claw? Jimmy Carter might have won a second term (so, ok – it’s a mixed blessing. 🙂 ).

So, anyway, we have had operational tilt-rotor craft in service since the late 1950s. It seems to me that the technical difficulty with the V-22 centers around the military’s insistence that the craft be capable of running on a single engine, and the enabling interconnect hardware. This stands to reason. Transferring all that torque from one wingtip to the other through such articulations, coupled with the aerodynamic, static, and momental loads, and resultant flexure – what a fucking blivet.

Then it occurs to me: If you are going to couple the engines together anyway, why put them out at the wingtips? Why not mount them in the fuselage? Or more likely, the center portion of the pivoting wing structure?

I have some more ideas, if anyone cares to enter into a private brainstorming session.

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