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Abstract This is a span loader for standard shipping containers. At slow air speed, the cost per ton / mile is potentially competitive to the cost for container ship. Existing configurations are unable to have the necessary thick wing and great wing surface. This is a novel configuration with multiple wings and two stage landing gear. There are no documents to reference because this configuration and operation have no antecedents. Aircraft - Very Heavy Lift at Very Low CostStephen FunckConcordlift@mac.com ConcordLift.com
The Opportunity The end of 2010 index cost to transport one 40 ft Container (2TEU) across the Atlanticincluding port charges, fuel and all surcharges: New York – Rotterdam: East bound $1810,West bound $2520. The sailing loading and unloading takes over a week. ConcordLiftTM 78 TEU version at that rate can earn $70,590 to $98,280 per trip and make 5 trips a week. There are over 5 million shipping containers in motion.
I - A Thought Experiment • It has been long known the most efficient design is to carry the load along the wingspan.The load in a fuselage supported by wings requires structural members to carry the cantilever load. The span loader is a light weight structure. • Standard cargo transportation is by container. An obvious idea would be to carry them inside the wing from wingtip to wingtip. • It takes less energy to fly slowly than it does to move though water. Flight is more efficient than sailing. • Low wing loading allows low flight speed, low power, low fuel per pound per mile, low altitude, non pressurized, low construction cost
Ship capacity is in Twenty-foot Equivalent Units (TEU). • One container is 20 ft (length) × 8 ft (width), usually 8.5 ft (high). The average weighs less than 30,000 lb. • Minimum dimension for one TEU is 20 ft span,100 ft cord, 2,000 sq. ft. for 15 lb./ sq. ft. 30,000 lb. • Maximum airport width, 80 meters, 260 ft span, is 13 TEU, average 390,000 lb.
Small to Large ConcordLift™ • The following describes small to large ConcordLift™ giving dimensions and capacity. • Illustrate how the various parts can be used for potential capacities. • Gross weight is figured at 20 pounds per square foot. • Versions 1 and 2 will fit on a standard runway and the 80 meter box for air terminal size. Version 3 gives an idea of what a larger version might be like.
V#1 5 TEU in 4 channels • Main wing 100x150= 15000 sq. ft. • 2 auxiliary wings @260x30= 15600 sq. ft. • 2 wing extensions on main @ 80x30= 4800 sq. ft. • Total 20 TEU GWT 708,000 lb. 35,400 sq. ft
V#2 16 autos in 20 channels - or 13 containers in 6 channels The wing is thick enough for most auto channels to be double height Main wing 270x200=54000 sq. ft. 2 auxiliary wings @270x30= 8100 sq. ft. Total 320 autos 78 TEU GWT 1,242,000 lb. 62,100 sq. ft.
V#3 15 TEU in 6 channels Main wing 300x200=60000 sq. ft. 3 auxiliary wings @450x50=22500 sq. ft. 2 wing extensions on main @75x30= 2250 sq. ft. Total 90 TEU GWT 1,695,000 lb. 84,750 sq. ft.
III - Fuel Efficiency • ConcordLift™ is close to the fuel use per ton / mile of a high efficiency container ship. • The cost to build and cost to operate may be even less than that of the ship. • It eliminates the high cost of highway and railroad construction. • The 15 largest ships produce as much pollution as all the world’s automobiles. • Containers have to be moved to ports and stored until the large number needed are collected for the ship. • ConcordLift™ can travel to inland areas direct. Fewer containers are needed for a load. That is an increase in shipper convenience and savings in transit time.
78 TEU Cargo Containers Per ConcordLift™ 5 ConcordLift™ deliver 3900 TEU in the same time as one container ship • ConcordLift™ can load and unload quickly 78 TEU through 6 doors on each side simultaneously • One runway - One ConcordLift™ 5 minutes 936 TEU per hour - 22264 TEU per day
IV - Configuration and Benefits • ConcordLift™ has no fuselage. • There is a main cargo flying wing and auxiliary wings connected by the vertical fins. • This novel configuration creates a new type of aircraft capable of very heavy payload for new uses. • This is a flying version of sea borne shipping. • It is not expected to be a competitor for existing airfreight. It will transform the economies of interior regions by ending their isolation from ocean freight.
IV - Configuration and Benefits • Before this, very large, deep chord, wings could not be stable landing and taking off. Self reinforcing instabilities were unmanageable. • The deep cord wing, creates a venturi between wing and ground. When the trailing edge is closer to the ground, air pressure is lower at the trailing edge, pulling it even closer to the ground.The same effect occurs when one wingtip is closer to the ground. • For stability the shortest dimension between wing and ground must be located at the center of lift. This has an inverted airfoil for maximum lift and least negative pressure.
Angle of Attack • Angle of attack is restricted. If the bottom of the wing is flat, there is no AOA and insufficient lift. • Inverted form still limits the AOA. The inverted airfoil on the ground has a maximum AOA about 5.7°, at a thickness 10% of the cord. • Normal AOA for best rate of climb is 6-8°. AOA for normal flight is about 3°.
The Main Wing • The Cargo wing has inverted camber. On the ground the minimum distance between wing and ground is under the center of lift. • It cannot have flaps but can have slots and spoilers. Dimensions may span to 260 feet, thickness over 15 feet, and chord over 150 feet. • At 150 ft. cord, a 260 ft. span would be able to carry 20 53’ trailer bodies or 52 20’ shipping containers in four rows. Both ends of the container channel have doors. • There is internal space for equipment for Boundary layer air treatment if justified by cost / benefit.
Auxiliary Wings • The auxiliary wings are mounted on pivots so the angle of attack can be changed. They have a suspension to absorb the turbulence cantilevered wings absorb by flexing. • Flaps and slots extend their full width, since this does not need a portion of the wing dedicated for ailerons. The adjustable incidence is necessary to flare for landing and rotate for take off. • At optimum angle of attack and with high lift devices, a wing can produce 2 ½ times as much lift as considered normal. If the auxiliary wings and extensions are 20% of the total wing square foot, 2/10 in area, at optimum deployment, they equal 5/13 in lift.
Wing Extensions • The main cargo wing might only extend 5 TEU wide, 100 ft or less. • If the deep cord cargo wing is 100 ft wide there would be room within the 80 meter airport limitation for 80 foot wing extensions out the sides for a total 260 ft wingspan. • If the center cargo section was 260 foot wide, the extensions could fold like those for use on an aircraft carrier. The flying width could be 460 feet while ground width remains 260 foot.
“Concord” The total lift of the ConcordLift™ is not determined by the deep cord cargo wing portion alone. Wings work together in harmony - “Concord” - to accomplish what otherwise cannot be done.
Yaw and roll • The vertical fins have rudders. The fins carry the tension - lift from the auxiliary wings. • Since flight is slow, cable braces might also be used. • At altitude, the ConcordLift™ will turn and bank in the normal manner. • In ground effect, the control for direction and yaw is by variation of engine power. Power is increased on the outer engine, Spoilers automatically compensate for the increased lift, so the wings stay level.
Pitch, climbing and descending • Pitch control for the main wing is provided by auxiliary wings. They can be used independently or together and control the angle of attack for the main wing. • The auxiliary wings, higher than the main wing, are affected less by ground effect instabilities and provide good flight stability.
Engines • Power for the largest ConcordLift™ is less than a 747. Engine weight is not an issue with ConcordLift™. • On takeoff and landing, the center of the vector for drag will move higher. Some versions will mount some engines high so thrust vector matches the drag vector. • Flights may last several days, over 9000 miles. Heavy, fuel efficient engines, could make for less total weight. Many constant speed diesels with constant speed, contra-rotating, propellers might achieve the maximum efficiency.
The landing gear is very unusual • Two separate types of gear. • In addition to the normal main gear, there is a second set of “stabilizing gear”. The closer the main wing is to the ground the greater is the danger of instability. • The thirty foot height for fully extended stabilizing gear is a “guess” at what might be sufficient. The “guess” is 10 ft. is too short for safe landing.
Landing • First contact is made by very large 10 ft. diameter wheels. • Those wheels carry part of the total load while the rest is carried by the lift from the wings. • The stabilizing gear is controlled to remain at maximum stiffness until all the stabilizing gear have ground contact. Then brakes deploy. • The stabilizing gear is controlled to retract evenly until the weight settles on the main landing gear close to the ground.
Take off • ConcordLift™ lifts off from the main gear while the stabilizing gear, carry a portion of the load. • The gear legs maintain stability.The aircraft finally leaves ground with the main wing already 30 feet above the runway. • ConcordLift™ has two separate take off speeds. • The slower speed is when it has enough lift to unload the weight on the main gear. • The second take off speed is when the aircraft has developed enough lift to carry the total weight.
Gear design • The main gear is of standard design. • The 52 TEU, version could have 16 stabilizing wheels in 4 x 4 wheel sets and 40 main gear wheels 10 x 4 for a total of 56 wheels. • The heavy load is distributed over the total runway surface. Additional main gear could extend the full width of the aircraft for unimproved landing fields.
Two Stage Landing Gear • This complex two stage landing gear and process may appear unnecessary. • This aircraft changes altitude very slowly. It will spend a long time, near the ground. Local instabilities will have time to develop great force between wing and surface. The landing system is designed to make the proper counter actions. • At the extreme, ConcordLift™ may take two minutes and 5000 ft to accelerate to final V2 take off and another minute to reach the runway thresh hold at 50 ft altitude.
Gear Retraction • The main gear retracts into the wing in front and in back of the cargo channels. • The stabilizing gear is too large to retract inside the wing. It retracts into fairings under the wing. • The fairings have enough internal volume to serve as floats for ocean ditching.
Crew, Flight deck • Long distance flights will take several days. Space is needed for relief crew. • Automatic flight control is expected.Ground effect instabilities are self propagating and self reinforcing. They require immediate management. • The base design should be able to fly and land without computerized flight control in smooth air over flat surface. • Storms move faster than ships and overtake ocean shipping. ConcordLift™ is faster than storms. Because of weather forecasting, it should never be flown into dangerous weather.
V - MANUFACTURE • Construction could be done with 1940’s technology. The only “new” item is the stabilizing gear and controls. They are well within current abilities. • ConcordLift™ is expected to compete on cost with ocean shipping. The concept, once it is revealed, will become manufactured world wide.
VI - Air Traffic and Air Ports • ConcordLift™ is low altitude, slow speed, trans-oceanic. The nominal flight would be at less than 200 ft. less than 120 mph in moderate weather conditions. ConcordLift™ can fly over costal mountain ranges into continental interiors. • Traffic will be below, separate, from current crowded aircraft space. High value cargo will continue to use 747F type aircraft. • It is expected specialized Container Air Ports will be built, similar to the specialized sea-borne Container and Ro-Ro ports. They do not need to be near population centers, just near rail and road. The size of the container handling yards will be greater than the extent of the runways.
Usage, profit, number constructed • There are more than 26 million TEU in the global container fleet, over 5 million TEU in motion a week. Building one ConcordLift™ a week will hardly impact the market. A sustained build rate of 1000 a year is reasonable! • The cost of moving containers is less by using these aircraft. That does not include the financial savings from faster and more direct delivery. • Many interior areas with large populations have poor connections for heavy cargo. Such areas will require many of these aircraft. The auto, truck, passenger ferry versions will transform Indonesia, Philippines and other areas. • Because of the great profit potential to the owner, the aircraft should sell at a good profit.
It may be possible to fly without using any fuel, if the great wing surfaces were covered by improved photovoltaics. • It will remain to be seen how large ConcordLift™ will become. Could this become a bulk carrier 600 feet wide, 300 feet in cord, with 6 auxiliary wings over 20 million pound gross? • A version the size of a light plane could deliver 10,000 pounds to a short unimproved field. • Airline industry focus is on faster, higher, sexy! That can only be done at higher cost to build and operate – higher prices! • Which would transform travel more, USA to Europe in one hour at much higher cost, or Mumbai to Bangalore in 10 hours for bus fare?
There has never been such a design proposed because there are major problems. • This requires research and development before actual aircraft can be designed. The drawings are generic illustrations. • If you contact me, I can supply papers and documents that expand and support this concept. • I am looking for Professionals to prepare this for wind tunnel and other studies and to author Research and Development papers.
VII - Origin of idea and reason for name • There are no papers, or prior art, to reference that would increase understanding. • The name for this aircraft configuration is “ConcordLift™”, because the wings work in concord - harmony to lift the great weight. • USPTO Patent Application Publication US 2011/0168832 A1. The International Patent Publication numbers are WO/2011/0816635, PCT/US2010/002124. .