The FoldingWing vehicle was built as a concept demonstrator with the accent on flyability. While not tested or flown from a launch tube, the articulating components have been built to endure the extreme loads encountered from deployment.
Prior to the first flight, the recommended CG for this tandem wing plane was calculated using several available modeling programs. Still concerned about the CG after calculating, we elected to produce and glide test a scale model. The scale tests indicated that the modeling programs tended towards a tail heavy condition. We elected to abandon the calcuated CG for the test glider CG for our demonstartion flight.
This proved to be a good thing as our first flight was only barely balanced with respect to pitch stability. At the end of the video it can be seen that the vehicle could be pitched up abruptly at a very low glide speed and forward flight arrested.
The feaured video is the first flight.
Given the design constraints we had to build an extremely thin wing that was light and strong in both torsion and span. Since it was a flat bottom wing we were able to easily vacuum bag a carbon fiber skin over the core. By varying the bias and schedule of the carbon fiber we were able to produce the characteristics desired. The wing core was machined from contest quality end grain balsa.
We were pleasantly surprised by how fast and also by how slow the vehicle flew.
The fuselage was designed to be mass producable and is composed of reinforced vacuformed polycarbonate shells. Access to the payload area, located between the wings, is provided by a flat hatch cover.