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Answer to Critics of Inflatable and Expandable Fighter Aircraft Wings

Some aerospace designers believe that Mr. Lance Winslow’s design modification of current day fighter aircraft and UAVs to include an inflatable and expandable wing is not feasible or desirable. There critique includes many points, three of these points are worthy of addressing, while the rest of their debate and critique are irrelevant and in fact show their lack of understanding of Mr. Lance Winslow’s excellent concept.

These critics believe that inflatable expandable wings will:

1.) Need for Larger cavity for wing while retracted.

2.) Be like other models of aircraft with retracting wings, which did not work.

3.) Have a loss of use of fuselage cavity for other components and fuel

In addressing the design critique in these items we will show that they major factors to be associated with our concept:

It is my contention that the wing when not in use would be deflated and take up little space and fit into the end cap, which would resemble a stub sticking out of the fuselage. The stub would also serve as the leading edge and spar when expanded and have the same camber as an end cap as it would when acting as the leading edge. In essence taking up no additional space in the fuselage area such as other models such as the “Roll-Wing” concept. The roll wing concept another attempt at a similar design, which was used as an example by the gentleman of, which attempted the same goals.

We believe that as our concept would have an inflatable wing in the end cap, that we would not be similar enough to the roll-wing concept to make a fair comparison and further agree that the roll wing concept is interesting but also need work. Indeed we believe in addition to the roll-wing concept needing additional work that it is not aesthetically correct and would probably not be economically viable in the market place as its design is a radical departure from what most people think an aircraft should look like. As a point on this we believe that the JSF was awarded to Lockheed instead of Boeing for partly this reason, the Lockheed version was sexier. Even if the Lockheed design still has structural issues with the availability and costs of the titanium bulk head and the Boeing version appeared to have excellent performance. There were we believe some Air Force higher ups that did not like its looks.

Retracting an entire wing into the fuselage does take up lots of space and therefore the gentleman makes a good point on the need for other components in the fuselage such as the engine, landing gear, fuel tanks which would mean enlarging the fuselage to the point of defeating the purpose of retracting the wings. However in our concept the wing folds nicely like an accordion when retracted for high-speed flight.

The gentleman further indicated that there is increased weight in such concepts as retractable wings such as the motors to move the wings. We agree that their will be some additional weight for our inflatable expandable wings due to the components such as motors and compression canisters, however since our wing will be inflatable it will be ultra light weight to begin with, making up for much of the difference. The leading edge/wing spar folding out component will be full strength and support much of the wing loading. The JSF has a wing loading of 91.4 lb/ft. The current material we envision for our expandable wing is used in inflatable water dams for rivers and lakes and can easily withstand a higher wing loading.

The motor to move the wing spar only will not be substantial like the F-14. The motor will not be used prior to take off and will not be deployed against the relative wind at over 450 Knots.

The gentleman also had indicated that since the wing is an inflatable version it would not be able to store fuel. Fuel storage in the wings of fighter aircraft is typical, but not all have fuel storage in the wings. This is a good point and therefore this will need to be addressed with larger fuel tanks in the fuselage. However it should also be noted that we will be saving weight wing our wing, which will improve performance and in cruise we will be using far less fuel by substantially reducing the drag. In addition it should be noted that the JSF has a range of only 650 Nautical Miles without drop tanks, so we believe we are within the ballpark to match with our more efficient design. In fact it is possible that a slightly modified JSF indeed might be an interesting platform to try test this new concept. Think again we need better objections from those who call themselves worldclass aerospace designers.

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