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Found 7 results

  1. Level: Intermediate/Advanced: You need to be able to slap together a plane that flies reasonably well before attempting a VTOL. Background reading: Start with the fantastic Basic Aircraft Design tutorial in this very forum. Craft used to illustrate this tutorial: BAK Cyclone BAK Karmilla BAK Drakula BAK Zephyr BAK Bumblebee What's a VTOL aircraft? VTOL stands for "Vertical Take-Off and Landing." A VTOL aircraft as discussed here is a craft that's designed to fly aerodynamically, using lift produced by lifting surfaces, but take off and land vertically. That's what this guide is all about, so we're not talking about VTOL rockets that don't make use of wings to produce lift. We're also not discussing helicopters here, because stock kerbals have not invented the propeller, and stock propellers are a whole big topic of their own. So this guide is about atmospheric craft designed to fly by making use of lift generated by wings, which can take off and land vertically by use of downward-pointing jets or rockets. This guide also applies to STOL (Short Take-Off and Landing) aircraft which do their thing using downward-pointing jets or rockets, because they're pretty much the same thing. Their hoverjets just have a TWR of less than 1.0. Why VTOL? Because they're fun and educational and you can. Next question? No, seriously. Is there a point? There are a few missions for which a VTOL aircraft is ideal. Kerbin has some biomes that are difficult to reach any other way. The same applies to Laythe, although it has gentler topography. Finally, it is really difficult to land a HTOL atmospheric craft on Duna because of the thin air: you'll be going really fast and terrain is really bumpy, so there's a huge risk of ending up as a big ball of fire, whereas it's very hard to land a conventional rocket lander precisely, like when you're aiming for your surface base. On the other hand, atmospheric craft are superb for exploring it for the very same reason – you can scout for the perfect spot for your base, then land precisely there. A V/STOL atmospheric craft built for Duna can drop you on any dime, anywhere on the surface. But mostly, the answer is still "because they're fun and educational and you can." The BAK Cyclone hard at work on Duna. It's a flatbed freighter suitable for shuttling base modules to and from the surface. The cargo is near the centre of mass, but because it can shift, it's important to adjust the exact balance by tuning the power on the nose hoverjet... The basics At its core, a VTOL aircraft is a plain old aircraft, with downward-pointing jets that produce a TWR of > 1.0 with the vector centred on the craft's centre of mass, and some way of controlling its attitude when it is hovering, because control surfaces do nothing at an airspeed of zero. Getting all of this into one craft is a pretty intricate business, however. In particular, there's one constraint that needs special attention: centre of mass, and the invariance thereof, as you burn fuel. In other words, your fuel tanks need to be placed symmetrically around the centre of mass so it doesn't shift as the tanks dry, and you need to get your vertical thrust vector exactly aligned with said centre of mass. Regular HTOL aircraft can afford to be a bit sloppy with this because aerodynamic forces will effectively obliterate moderate shifts in CoM -- if your plane gets a bit more tail-happy as the tanks drain it's no problem, as long as your CoM stays ahead of your CoL. Mostly anyway. Not so with VTOLs: if the CoM shifts, you're not going to be able to land vertically anymore. Here's how you go about building a VTOL under these constraints. Build yourself a plane. However, don't put any fuel tanks on it yet, and empty any fuel-containing parts that you are using. Switch on the CoM and CoT overlays. Set the thrust limiter on your main engines to zero. Your CoT vector will disappear. Add enough downward-pointing jets to lift the plane, as symmetrically as you can around the CoM, in a minimum of two pods (fore and aft). (You can add more pods to the sides if your body plan permits it.) Adjust the thrust limiter on the fore (or aft) hoverjets until the thrust vector lines up with the CoM. Add fuel tanks symmetrically around the CoM. Add RCS jets to the bottom of the craft, at the nose, tail, and wingtips. Don't forget the fuel – Vernors need oxidant, the others need monoprop. (If you're building a very small craft, you can just use a reaction wheel instead. But that's less cool.) Set up your control scheme: one action group for toggling the hover jets, another action group for toggling the main jets, plus yet another one to toggle the hover jet bays, if you're using them (as you should). There, done. Simple, eh? Hoverjet design The first challenge you're likely to hit is choice of hoverjet. The second one is likely to be aerodynamics – if you just stick on some downward-pointing jets, you will find that they produce a lot of drag, which is going to be really inefficient. Your plane will be slow and have limited range, or you'll have to make it a lot bigger to brute-force your way around that limitation. The solution is to house the hoverjets in a cargo bay of some kind, with the doors opening downwards. That way you can tuck them away for normal flight, and expose them for hovering. There are lots of ways to make this work, but here are some designs I've used successfully: Juno in a Mk 1 utility bay. Stick it inside the utility bay, rotate it to point towards an opening, move it until it's completely inside. These are easy, pretty light, and you can add more of them – within reason – for more lifting power. Array of Junos in a Mk 2 cargo bay. This needs scaffolding: you need to put something in the cargo bay that lets you attach the Junos to it. A short Mk 2 bay will fit an array of 9 Junos, and a long Mk 2 bay will fit 18. That's a lot of lifting power – three Wheesleys' worth in the bigger bay! Also a lot of parts. I hope you have a fast computer. For rocket-powered hover, use Spark, Aerospike, or Vector (if you really need a lot of hover power). Terriers will also work on Duna. Sparks will fit in Mk 1 utility bays, the bigger ones will fit in the bigger cargo bays (Mk 2, 2.5m utility bay, Mk 3). Giving them air Air-breathing hoverjets need intakes. At this point you'll probably need to go back to the plane design you started with, because air intakes are dry mass and will shift the CoM as you add them. Hint: The engine pre-cooler and engine nacelle are fantastic air intakes, and they can be mounted in-line or combined with other elements. You don't have to use their fuel capacity – you might want to leave them dry if they're not symmetrical to the CoM. Hover control The main challenge for hover control is to keep the craft horizontal. If it starts tipping in one direction, you're really likely to flip over and crash dramatically, like a tree falling over. If additionally you can give it a controlled tilt and hold it there, then it'll start accelerating in that direction, like a helicopter. This can be most helpful when transitioning to or from level flight. Option 1: RCS RCS will get the job done nicely, and looks cool to boot. You will need more jets at the nose and tail than on the wingtips, as there will be more forces on pitch when transitioning to or from level flight. Your choice of RCS jet is the Place-Anywhere or the Vernor. You may need to add several on bigger craft. Option 2: Reaction wheels Reaction wheels will balance smaller craft just fine, but are probably insufficient for bigger ones. Managing centre of mass One of the most finicky problems with VTOL craft is managing centre of mass. In principle it's simple – just place your fuel symmetrically around the dry CoM, and centre your vertical thrust vector on it – but... how? Use wing-mounted engine pods on pylons. Engines are dry mass. Mount them on pylons on the wing, and it's easy to move them forward and back to fine-tune the CoM. Put fuel tanks outside your main stack. Wing-mounted tanks, wingtip tanks, drop tanks, and side-mounted tanks flush with the body all work, as long as they can be moved backwards and forwards relative to the dry CoM. If you don't mind a bit of clipping, you can even make the latter look pretty good by clipping them a bit in the body. It makes no functional difference, but if you consider it cheating, don't do it. Use a long, light tail section. Long tails are good for stability anyway. If you make a long, light tail, you can adjust the balance of the craft by making it slightly longer or shorter without adding a lot of weight or making big design changes. Body plans I've found a few body plans to be especially amenable to conversion to VTOL. They have in common that it's easy to tweak the balance by moving things around, rather than having to add or remove pieces. Twin-boom The twin-boom design is one of my favourites, largely because it looks cool. In a twin-boom design, you have one hoverjet at the nose, and one in each of the booms. Light craft have a single engine at the rear of the fuselage. Larger ones have additional wing-mounted pods. The BAK Karmilla. This one is balanced with reaction wheels. It uses six Mk 1 utility bay-mounted Junos for hovering. The BAK Drakula. A bigger twin-boom design using two arrays of 18 Junos on each boom and a single array of 9 on the nose. Twin-Pod A twin-pod design is similar to a twin-boom, except that it has a conventional tail extending from the fuselage. The hoverjets are housed in the big wing-mounted pods. The BAK Zephyr, a rocket-powered VTOL craft designed for conducting science missions on Duna. It is entirely powered by Terriers. The absurdly big wing and control surfaces make it highly economical for high-altitude supercruising. The BAK Cyclone, delivering a station module to Duna. Note the landing area markers. The Cyclone uses Aerospikes for propulsion. Rockets are much less efficient than air-breathers, so it needs to be much bigger than a Kerbin-bound craft performing the same mission! Control schemes and flight To fly a VTOL craft, you need to be able to perform the following actions, which must be bound to a an action group: Toggle the hover jets Toggle the forward jets Control attitude If you have full RCS control, you will additionally need control for that, and if your hoverjets are inside pods, you will want a control for toggling them too. Taking off The procedure for a vertical take-off is as follows: Hoverjet pods OPEN Forward jets OFF RCS ON SAS ON Hoverjets ON Throttle MAXIMUM When off the ground at a sufficient altitude to clear obstacles, main jets ON When at sufficient speed for aerodynamic flight, hoverjets OFF, pods CLOSED, gear UP The procedure for a short take-off is the same, except that forward jets and hoverjets will both be ON from the start. The craft will lift off once generated lift + hoverjet thrust overcome its mass. Landing To land a VTOL aircraft, approach the landing zone as you would with a regular HTOL craft, until on final approach. Then: Hoverjet pods OPEN Gear DOWN Throttle ZERO Main jets OFF Hoverjets ON Keep pitching up as you approach stall speed. When you're close to it, INCREASE THROTTLE until your rate of descent nears zero. Your airspeed will also fall. When your airspeed is low enough that aerodynamic control is getting sluggish, RCS ON, SAS ON. Control your vector primarily with pitch, and your descent rate with throttle. When your airspeed is near zero and you're above your landing spot, reduce throttle until you start descending. Touch down, CUT throttle, CUT engines, BRAKES ON. You've landed. ...and that's it really! I hope you've found this short tutorial useful. Have fun with your S/VTOL craft – and don't forget there are more ways to do them as well, including helicopter-like things that don't fly aerodynamically at all. My first VTOL craft was the Bumblebee, and it's still one of my favourites!
  2. Good day. Since there is an official VTOL thread, but no dedicated STOL thread (or at least not a more recent one, or me not looking hard enough), I thought it would be nice to discuss small, cute planes that can take off and land at low speeds. Mainly because in the last days, I tinkered a bit with these kind of planes. Some of you might know the Fieseler "Storch", a plane used by the Luftwaffe in WW2 as recon machine and by many other organizations since then because it can take off at around 50 km/h (which is like 16-17 m/s) and land at zero with wind blowing against it. I tried building a similar small and light plane and got this "glider" from it. It takes off by itself at almost exactly 30 m/s, has a range of around 270 km (triple that with drop tanks), a top speed of around 135 m/s if you go all out at a height of around 7 km (didn't try going higher) and has very calm and forgiving flight characteristics. It is basically 100% "stock", I just used the struts from Ven's Stock Part Revamp to lower part count (I once made a similar ultralight SSTO with around 40 of the cubic struts). Also, I realized how ugly the stock wings are and how lacking they are in every regard. The second one is basically just a turbine with canards. It can take off at around 12 m/s, but flying it requires a steady hand. https://imgur.com/a/R02qP9s Feel free to post and discuss your creations.
  3. Yatsykon Concept Co. - With us, you'll soar to new heights! After years of R&D, the Yatsykon Concept Co. is proud to unveil our first ever personal UltraLight™ aircraft! Powered by a C7 Aerospace J20 "Juno" Engine, and with a wingspan of over 17 meters, this small personal transportation craft provides an efficient alternative to the bulky, fuel-hungry, and expensive craft provided by other manufacturers. With a leisurely top speed of 130 m/s, the Yat-1 UltraLight™ provides you with enough range to get to the local island or mountain resort and back, many times! Aircraft Characteristics Top Speed - 130 m/s at 1,000 meters above sea level, in level flight. Fuel - 50 Units Optimal Fuel consumption - 0.04 Units/Second Optimal Range - 162.5 km Download Here The Imgur Albums are not working, so here's the album link.
  4. 77 Industries presents: Carrier Aircraft They are all STOL or VTOL, 7 out of 8 have a claw, all very compact so they fit on the elevator of my carrier. Most have a Juno in the nose for carrier operations, some have a dual nose gear for changing attitude. Imgur album with little story Captain's Plane Prop Fighter Jet Fighter Interceptor Taxi Cargo VTOL VTOL Super Aircraft Carrier (EJ_SA Class)
  5. We all do it don't we? Put 3 CRG100 back to back, fill with orange tanks, cluster the cargo bays with so many engines you can't see them, then put a pair of Basic Fins on as wings. Roar off the end of the runway stalling at mach 1, barely miss the water, zoom to orbit. The thing is, Werner Von Kerman's allotment is at the end of that runway, and he's getting quite fed up with Jeb upsetting his chickens. So, the challenge is to show something that can takeoff and land horizontally using a bit less runway, whilst still getting to orbit. The Rules Stock parts and physics obviously. Informational mods are allowed. SSTO please - I do often build spaceplanes with drop tanks and boosters, but i can't see a way to allow that in this challenge without people abusing it. No VTOLs. Sorry but that is a completely different challenge. For takeoff and landing from Kerbin, lifting engines are not allowed. For other planetary bodies, you are allowed to use RCS and Verniers if you wish. No parachutes or Separatrons. I think a true STOL SSTO should just be "fuel and go", and not have to worry about repacking chutes or replacing rockets. Parachutes wont help at these landing speeds anyway. The vessel will carry a single large mk2 cargo bay with two Science Juniors as payload. The vessel should be manned and the Kerbal needs a proper pod (no deck chairs or ladders to heaven). On clipping A blanket "no clipping rule" could make this unreasonably hard, it may also stifle some innovative approaches. In my play testing of this challenge, you may want 3 different kinds of engine on this small SSTO. For example, I'd very much like to have tried this with one Panther, One Rapier, and one NERV. Without clipping, you're going to have some most un-fun off-axis thrust issues. I just spent my morning trying to build a stock Space Shuttle, I don't want to go there. So, I will allow engine clipping so long as it's fully disclosed and so long as there is no way to accommodate your selection in a symmetrical way otherwise. For example, if you want one rapier and one whiplash, clip away :-) OTOH, if you're asking for a RAPIER with two junos, the RAPIER can obviously sit centrally and the junos hang off the wings, no reason to clip. One Whiplash, one nerv and two terriers? Well the whiplash and nerv can cohabit, but the pair of terriers can sit either side without violating any laws of physics. You are also allowed to clip cones onto the back of any engines that have an unused rear attach node. I don't feel this is cheating, you are simply bringing the drag values of a RAPIER or other rocket engine down to what nodeless jets like the Whiplash and Panther experience. But no clipping fuel tanks please and your cargo/service bays need to be big enough for any items you feel you need (batteries, radiators, reaction wheels) without clipping them inside each other. Categories and Scoring Ok there's two ways of doing this. My first idea was to have three classes of SSTO. Orbit, Minmus, Duna. Entries in each category would be scored on the total of takeoff run ength (when full) and landing run length (when empty) on Kerbin. Details for this version of the challenge, below However, I'm tending away from this, because of the difficulty in measuring takeoff and landing run length. So, keep it simple. The challenge is to have wheels off the ground by the second set of "Piano Keys" on the runway. At the takeoff end The STO (Short Takeoff to Orbit) award goes to any vessel that can do this and reach orbit. The STM (Short Takeoff to Minmus) award goes to any vessel that can get airborne by the piano keys, reach Minmus, land there horizontally on the flats, and come back to Kerbin. The STD (Short Takeoff to Duna) award is for any vessel that can get airborne by the piano keys, land on Duna horizontally, using only wings, RCS and vernors, no parachutes or lift engines. Oh yes and here's proof btw, that it can be done. My design is clearly not optimal. Two nervs is obviously excessive on something this size. One rapier is actually ok for speed run, but the subsonic climb to orbit wastes a lot of fuel due to low TWR of rapier in subsonic mode - some junos or panthers would really help. Also note how low wing loading plus wings angled with incidence makes it hard to fly fast unless you're going very very high up. So high in fact that the engines flame out first So I'd recommend using low wing loading or incidence, but not both together. On the bright side, look at how easily it climbs away once the nervs start up. It lifts itself above the atmosphere at quite low speed and the orange glow dies off. No heat whatsoever.
  6. Hey guys, Wanted to share my new STOL Transport. Capable of over 5 tons payload and water operations. Video: Download: https://drive.google.com/open?id=0B7-hhvJgx6_lN1IxZlZJWTd1enM Thanks, buzz66boy
  7. I wanted a plane that could deliver goods in the mountains so I built one. It's got heavy duty linked all-terrain suspension and is able to take off from the very first section of the runway and at least land on the snowy tops of mountains at 5.4 km altitude (see screenshots). The name comes from the ridiculous looking suspension but in this case, function comes before form. Enjoy! see 77I- Praying Mantis STOL on KerbalX.com