in the news 1952
Above: Drawings for a "low aspect ratio aircraft" patent granted to Alfred Loedding in November, 1952. Loedding had been an integral member of the U.S. Air Force first official investigation into flying saucers, known as "Project Sign". Story on Loedding's design below.
NINETEEN FIFTY-TWO might be remembered for many things, large and small. The election of Dwight Eisenhower as President of the United States. Fifty thousand American families afflicted by Polio. The British A-bomb. The first issue of Mad magazine. The theory of the Big Bang.
But for those of a certain bent, 1952 will also be remembered for the second great 'flying saucer flap' which climaxed with the reports of radar and visual sightings over the nation's capital in late July.
Part of the story of that event-filled year is now available in declassified government files. But for the public back then -- at a time when only one in three families in America had a television set -- the story was mostly found in the newspapers and magazines.
This then is a look back at those stories, as they first appeared in print...
NOVEMBER 23, 1952:
Cedar Rapids, Iowa Gazette - 23 Nov 52
Designers Now Paint Space-Dweller Garb
Hollywood has been trying to imagine how the inhabitant of another world would be dressed if he, or she, were to step from a flying saucer.
Designers have come up with a skin-tight garment over which green and gold paint is applied with a spray gun.
Tours, France La Nouvelle Republique du Centre-Ouest - 23 Nov 52
LA ROCHELLE. November 21, 1952. -- An inhabitant of Dompierre-en-Mer, Mr Rene Train, claims to have seen in the sky at 5.000 meters of altitude a white ball, 60 centimetres in diameter, surrounded of sparks. He estimates that the speed of the machine, visible during ten seconds, was that of a jet.
NOVEMBER 24, 1952:
Edwardsville, Illinois Intelligencer - 24 Nov 52
So they say...
... I don't believe there are flying saucers. However, there apparently are physical phenomena which make people think they have seen them -- Gen. Hoyt Vandenberg, Air Force chief of staff...
Huron, South Dakota Huronite And The Daily Plainsman - 24 Nov 52
We Have A-Bomb, H-Bomb, But Do Not Have War Big Enough For Them
Except for flying saucers, nothing seems to set off as much speculation as a progress report on atomic energy. The vague announcement by the Atomic Energy Commission, which did not say a Hydrogen bomb had been exploded, is supplemented by unofficial reports that something pretty big has happened in this field.
And the reactions have been swift. The Mayor of Hiroshima hopes that if the dread weapon has been perfected it will never be used, a hope that will be shared by millions the world around. And an Australian nuclear physicist takes a hopeful note and goes so far as to. say that the H-bomb will virtually secure the world against atomic attack.
On the other side of the fence are some who are impatient because the atomic weapons on which this country's security is largely based are not used in Korea. There is a feeling that a sort of military magic might be worked if the big bomb were exploded.
A viewpoint which has the virtue of common sense is that atomic war is not an immediate threat so long as the United States holds the edge in new discoveries and bomb production. It is the viewpoint of Congress, which approves AEC authorizations and funds almost without debate. We surmise that it is the attitude of most Americans.
But reasonable security against atomic war, which is what we are trying to buy with our atomic program, does not mean security against non-atomic war as the unhappy events in Korea have shown.
And to an American boy -- or any Other -- who is giving his life on a foreign battlefield it makes little difference whether he died by an old-fashioned rifle bullet or by the latest achievement in nuclear fission.
The possibility that the Western World may be prepared for a war that will never happen and unprepared for wars that will occur was expressed recently by the London Tablet, a British Catholic newspaper:
"The chief danger of the position facing the world is not that from either Moscow or Washington there is likely to come a decision to put everything to the hazard; the danger is rather of a continual disintegration, of small fissures becoming big ones. The world is still full of small nations unequipped with atomic weapons still thinking of war in the old way, and very frontier-minded. And these local quarrels, in Asia or Africa, cannot today be separated from the great struggle going on everywhere between Communist and anti- Communist forces."
The Korean War is only one example. The French are fighting such a war in Indochina. The British have one going in Malaya. The Greeks and the Bulgars, the Arabs and the Israeli, the Indians and the Pakistani are all potential sources of conflict that is not likely to be resolved by the nuclear weapons of the great powers.
Americans surveying this unhappy scene have reason to wonder about their part in it. They might want to know how it ever happened that they prepared to fight one kind of war and how their leaders, without consulting them, have involved them in another, in which polar air bases and atomic cannon are not much good.
NOVEMBER 25, 1952:
Hutchinson, Kansas News Herald - 25 Nov 52
Meredith Long, former Hutch policeman, may have an explanation for those weird lights reported flitting around the sky to the southeast last weekend. Long now is driving truck for Kansas Oxygen and spends much time on the highways. Reports Phillips Petroleum opened a new gasoline dispensary in Wichita recently and, in true Hollywood style, installed a couple of powerful searchlights to aid in the ballyhoo. Lights, one with a 10-mile beam, were playing tag in the sky at time at least two people saw the glows and thought enough of them to inform this family journal. Until such time as Washington brass admits flying saucers were in the air, Long's theory sounds as good as any.
San Mateo, California Times - 25 Nov 52
Flying Saucer Season Early; One Seen Here
Flying saucers made their appearance in San Mateo yesterday just in time for Thanksgiving day.
William Wallace, 3956 Casanova drive, reported to police at 10:58 p.m. yesterday that he had seen a flying saucer in the sky as he was walking his dog.
He described the object as saucer-shaped, slightly larger than a star, with a tail leaving a trail of sparks. The object made no sound and was in sight for approximately 45 seconds. It came from the northeast and traveled south at the speed of a plane.
Police Officer John Chichizola advised Wallace to call the department again if a similar event happens and Officer Walter Earth, a licensed pilot, will come to the scene and attempt identification.
Tours, France La Nouvelle Republique du Centre-Ouest, 25 Nov 52
BELLE-ILE-EN-MER. November 24, 1952. In Belle-Ile-en-Mer, Friday evening, Mr. Pascal Gauci, sales representative, travelling on the road of Locmaria was puzzled, while arriving at the locality "La Butte", to see on his left, a luminous ball whose diameter seemed to him to be 3 to 4 times that of the moon. This ball was motionless in the sky. At the end of a few seconds, it moved slowly towards the left, keeping the same altitude. At times, this ball was flattened as if it swivelled on its transverse axis, losing its orange colour at this time to take a white colour. Then it went down slightly, was immobilized before coming back to the right and going up towards its starting point. It thus made three or four times this manoeuver before disappearing in direction from south-west.
Mr. Gauci, who observed this phenomenon during eight minutes is formal: it cannot be light signals. The next day morning, farmers of the village of Tinuhule in Belle-Ile, stated to have observed the phenomenon. Already, Monday evening, Mr. and Mrs. Rene Houan, at the village of Trionguen, had seen a luminous ball of reddish color, motionless in the sky above the coast of Goulphar. This ball had started to go up and go down very slowly while being oscillating from the right to the left. It had disappeared at low speed towards the south-west and above the sea.
The establishment of the co-ordinates of the observations of the various witnesses on a sea chart allowed to deduce that the two phenomena observed at a few days of interval occurred in approximately the same celestial locations.
Bismarck, North Dakota Tribune - 25 Nov 52
With Carl O. Arp
The question for today -- "Do you believe flying saucers are real?"
Mrs. W.R. Sell, 110-1/2 Rosser Ave -- "I hardly think so."
Mrs. Ted DeWall, Driscoll -- "I think It's all talk. People are just seeing things."
Mrs. Martha Jungers, Richardton —"No. I think people are using their imagination too much."
Charles Kinsman, 909 Avenue C West -- "I'm not sure. It's hard to tell."
NOVEMBER 26, 1952:
Lebanon, Pennsylvania Daily News - 26 Nov 52
This Is Something New At The
CALIFORNIA SANDWICH SHOP
1132 Guilford St. Dial 2-2212
Flying Saucer Sandwich 40¢
Three for $1.00
Also All Other Types of Sandwiches
A Complete Line of Groceries and Drugs
Ice Cream and Spaghetti
Hagerstown, Maryland Morning Herald - 26 Nov 52
Charleston, South Carolina News and Courier - 26 Nov 52
Did You Happen To See?
Mrs. English Josey saying she could confirm a report of a flying saucer over Greeleyville last week, saying she, her husband and two children watched it for about 15 minutes as they traveled toward Charleston, and adding, "I've never seen anything like it before."
Florence, South Carolina Morning News - 26 Nov 52
All Hallows Day Everyday
People are finally going to outsmart themselves and bugs will inherit the earth. This will serve us right, of course, for we seem hell-bent on our own destruction. When it ultimately happens, we will have nobody but ourselves to blame.
In recent years we have been busting atoms with abandon, popping hydrogen bombs around the landscape, slaughtering each other with lethal weapons like bazookas and automobiles and, in general, acting much as though we didn't care whether school is kept or not. Sooner or later we will dream up some super-dooper bomb that will annihilate a whole country at a time. From this it will be only a short step to a genuine globe-buster. It ought to be a right impressive thing to watch, from a safe distance. Say, 10,000 light years.
And then school will really be out. For keeps. We hail all this as "progress" and maybe it is. The trouble seems to be that man's inventive genius is outdistancing his spiritual resources. We are perfecting monstrous machines without devising ways of controlling them. Like building a giant locomotive and forgetting to design any brakes.
We are even eyeing the universe and today are talking confidently of sending rocket ships to the moon within 25 years. We suspect the flying saucers we've been seeing for the last five or six years are real and we would not be at all surprised if they came from outer space. If so, we think it an even bet that, rather than indicating earth is about to be invaded by alien spacemen, the saucers are hovering around just to make sure that humans don't leave the earth. And start messing around in the universe.
Not content with solving the physical mysteries of nature we now are using radar to hunt ghosts. We want to go on record, here and now, as being firmly opposed to bouncing radar beams off genuine spirits and we warn that no good will come of it. Those ghosts are minding their own business, are haunting only a few obscure castles here and there and we think it downright unneighborly to start aiming rays of electricity at them.
They might, you know, take exception to our action and, calling out the ghostly hordes, go in for general, or catch-as-catch-can, haunting. We'd be in the soup, then, for sure. No home would be complete without its own pet poltergeist and, personally, we don't relish the prospect.
So let us, if we must, blast each other off the face of the earth; let us even tangle with spacemen in flying saucers; but let us, for once, be prudent and shun the temptation to use our modern-day gimmicks to invade the spirit world and run down innocent ghosts.
If we don't, bugs may inherit the earth, if any, a lot sooner than the experts expect.
NOVEMBER 27, 1952:
Hamilton, Ohio Daily News Journal - 27 Nov 52
Start Hunting Early For Jobs
By KITTE TURMELL
For Christmas work, apply early, in person. Try for part-time work, after school and on Saturdays, that will prepare you for full-time work, after the start of school vacation.
By then, employers want you to be ready to sell and earn the good will of the public, in the shopping rush.
That's what the youth-employment experts advise, along with these self-starters to help you to find and keep pre-Christmas work:
In job hunting, don't be the flying saucer who seems to flash in, then depart for nowhere...
Bakersfield, California Californian - 27 Nov 52
The Reader's Viewpoint
Editor The Californian:
I am 35 years old; but in these days we're having now I have heard of everything. On Nov. 11 in the afternoon of this year 1952 I have heard of these so called "Flying Discs" and had my chance to see them. As near as I can calculate, there were around 16 of them flocked together like birds. They were flat and round like phonograph records and black. They did not shine and were flying edgeways headed north. They sounded like no motor but like something cutting throng the wind at about four times the speed of jet planes. They were traveling edgewise. The sound was heard by my sons George and Gene and my husband Frederick.
MBS. FRED BEBTRAND
NOVEMBER 28, 1952:
Monessen, Pennsylvania Daily Independent - 28 Nov 52
Covina, California Argus Citizen - 28 Nov 52
Santa Claus, Six Bands and Singers in Preview Parade
32 Units Will Parade on Citrus Avenue December 5 at 7 p.m.
Hundreds of musicians, singers and marchers will take part in Covina's Annual Christmas Preview Parade Dec. 5 at 7 p.m.
Thirty-two units, featuring Santa Claus, Bozo, the Clown, six bands, five choral groups, Isabell's majorettes, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, and other groups, will usher in the holiday season.
Santa Claus, brought to Covina by the Y's Men's club, will have free candy for all of the small children. The Sunkist unit will provide free flying saucer toys for all of the small fry at the parade...
Corona, California Daily Independent - 28 Nov 52
Report Of Birth Of 7 Girls Proves A Hoax
Police say college boys in Chile played around with a nursery story today, and caused an international sensation.
The entire South American nation celebrates the spring festival on this day. And the students who gathered in Santiago gave the population something else to celebrate. Word got out of the births of septuplets, seven baby girls, supposedly born to the wife of a Santiago worker.
The story spread like wildfire. But police could not verify the
story. The midwife allegedly involved in the delivery would have
nothing to do with authorities.
Finally somebody remembered that two years ago, students faked a story that a flying saucer had fallen in Chile. And that phony report came during the spring festival. Police put two and two together, added the seven baby girls, and decided it was another hoax.
NOVEMBER 29, 1952:
Syracuse, New York Herald Journal - 29 Nov 52
By Frederick C. Othman
Septuplets and a Flying Saucer
WASHINGTON -- It is my own opinion that the students at the University of Santiago, Chile, have more fun than anybody. I even think I can prove it.
Perhaps you noticed in the papers the last couple of days the story about a Chilean matron, who gave birth to seven baby girls simultaneously. Septuplets, announced the headline writers after hurried reference to their dictionaries.
Practically everybody of importance in Chile, from an ex-presidential candidate down to the local police commissioner, got into the act. They found no septuplets. The mother of same, a Mrs. D.C. Figueroa, wouldn't let 'em in to see. The authorities finally concluded they'd been taken in again by those proliferous university students. Again is right.
When I was in Chile a while back, everybody, including the newspaper editors, were so sore at the students for what they'd done to the town with their flying saucer that not one word was printed about it. Now seems to be the time to scoop the world on the flying saucer that almost brought panic to a great South American capital.
FOUR A.M., it was, when a brilliant blue flash illuminated the hills on the west side of town. Came then a loud boom. Now the switchboards were flashing and the police sirens wailing.
The flabbergasted cops finally discovered on one of the hillsides a gigantic, metallic disc shimmering in the moonlight. From the. portholes around its perimeter glimmered eerie green lights.
The whole thing pulsed noisily, as if about to take off. Smoke came from a vent on one side and those cops were downright terrified.
Quickly they threw up a cordon or officers and steel cables to keep the citizens blocks away. The city wasn't exactly in a slate of siege, but neither was it at ease.
CAME SUNUP and that flying saucer looked more dangerous still. The pulsing continued and now the natives were talking about little men with blue faces and yellow whiskers inside. Along around noon the noise subsided and eventually a really brave man (I never did learn who he was) ventured close.
He touched the silvery saucer gingerly. It bent. He pushed harder and his hand went through cardboard.
Those Chilean students, many of whom are blue-eyed and red-haired and bear names like O'Higgins and McDougal, had built their flying saucers in sections and carted them to the isolated hill for three nights running.
THEY FITTED these together carefully, touched up the joints with more aluminum paint, and put a couple of gasoline lanterns inside. They achieved their high point by installing also an old lawnmower engine with muffler removed. It provided the racket and the proper vibration.
When S-hour came, they touched off 20 pounds of old-fashioned flashlight powder and ran. Human imagination took care of the rest, and fear did not subside until finally the lawnmower ran out of gas.
I happened through Santiago a couple of days later, took a good look at the students' handiwork and asked some local newspapermen why we hadn't heard a thing in the United States about Chile's flying saucer. They said with some disgust that such childish play wasn't worth cable space.
On this I disagree. I also hope those Chilean schoolboys never run out of soap.
Medicine Hat, Canada News - 29 Nov 52
Fairview Family Report Sighting "Flying Boot"
EDMONTON (CP) -- Now it's the flying boot.
A report of a strange airborne object -- which hovered motionless at 2,000 feet for about seven minutes before disappearing in seconds -- has captured the imagination of Residents at Fairview, Alta, 365 Miles northwest of Edmonton.
The report came Friday from Fred Clarke of Foothills Tank and Pipeline Co., who claims he and his wife and their grand-daughter saw the craft while out on an afternoon drive. He related the following to Don Boyce, editor of the Fairview Weekly Post:
"Believing it to be a helicopter we stopped to watch it, only to find that it was not a helicopter. The craft was shaped like a boot and shone very brightly in the sun. We were looking at it from a distance of possibly half a mile.
"Then we drove about one-quarter mile to where we could see the strange object from a different angle. From this point we could see circular-shaped disks protruding from the main point of the craft on an arm that appeared to be no more than a couple of feet long.
"The craft had no propeller or jets of any kind visible. The shiny body appeared to be a mass of contouring curves. It had remained perfectly stationary despite a strong west wind for six or seven minutes.
"It started off without a sound and disappeared over the horizon within the space of 15 seconds. It moved fast, if not faster, than any jet plane I have ever seen."
Austin, Texas Daily Herald - 29 Nov 52
Americans, Too, Can Take a Bow
Flying the great oceans long ago became routine. But this has not meant that there are no more worlds for commercial aviation to conquer. The introduction of jet airliners this year was one demonstration that the frontier still is advancing.
Now we have another sign: the trail-blazing flight virtually across the top of the earth from California to Denmark by a Scandinavian airliner.
The pioneer trip took the plane from Los Angeles to Edmonton, Alberta, across the frozen wastes of northern Canada to a point near the magnetic North Pole, to a big Air Force base at Thule, Greenland, and thence to Copenhagen. The 5800-odd miles were covered in 28 hours, including about four hours on the ground at various bases.
The idea of normal commercial operations over frozen lands that but a few years ago were familiar only to explorers is truly astounding. That such a route should even be proposed is a measure of the courage and vision that marks the men in aviation today.
The inducements for this bold venture are clear -- a saving of 1000 miles and some four hours' flying time, with all that means in fuel, personnel operations, maintenance problems, and the like.
But while we are doffing our hats to the Scandinavians who soon will begin regular scheduled flying over this route, we ought not to overlook the part we Americans played in making it possible. The great military base at Thule, built by us in collaboration with the Danes, is an indispensable element in this daring plan. And the planes which will fly the Arctic airlines will be American DC-6B's, already proven workhorses of domestic and overseas service.
Medicine Hat, Canada News - 29 Nov 52
Russians Claim Will Be First To Visit Moon
STOCKHOLM (CP) -- The Russians, who claim to have been first in nearly everything on earth, now are dreaming they will be the first to visit the moon.
A Russian Jules Verne, writing in the latest issue of the magazine Kgonek, received here today, predicted that the Soviet flag would be planted in the moon within the next 50 years.
The Red fantasy of space in the year 2002 also pictured:
Russian-made artificial moons, marked with the Red Star, circling the earth '16 times every 24 hours.' On these instrument-packed Soviet satellites, Russian scientists will be busy studying cosmic rays and taking pictures of the earth with infrared rays. A huge "cosmodrome" at the city of Kaluga, southwest of Moscow, with factories building more artificial moons at the rate of one every two months. From this space airdrome the satellites moving around the earth could be reached by a four-hour rocket flight.
The article was written by A. Sternfeld. The author forsaw [sic] the first space ship making the jump to the moon in five days.
NOVEMBER 30, 1952:
Albert Lea, Minnesota Sunday Tribune - 30 Nov 52
FLYING SAUCERS? -- Tribune Photographer Russ Yoder is noted for his interest in the unusual. This photo is a result of his observation of a change in season. Trying out a new camera technique, he found this scene reproduced in a day's shooting. Is it a flying saucer? Some say yes; some say no. What do you say? (Tribune Photo)
Toledo, Ohio Blade - 30 Nov 52
Honeymooners See Saucers Over Majorca
MADRID, Nov. 29 -- Proof that flying saucers aren't necessarily an American copyright comes from the honeymoon isle of Majorca, off Spain's Mediterranean coast.
Lazing in the Mediterranean sunshine, honeymooners (among other people) claim to have seen "strange objects" in the sky during past weeks.
Many people living in Manacor (10 miles inland from Palma) report that recently they saw a "flat disk travelling from east to west at a tremendous speed and leaving behind it a trail of sparks."
One observer was lucky enough to have a camera with him at the time and took a photograph of the flying saucer. This photograph was reproduced in the island's most important daily newspaper, but showed nothing more than a white streak across the night sky.
The most incredible report of all, however comes from a farm laborer who maintains that he not only saw the flying saucer hovering above a main road, less than 20 feet up, but he also saw "quite clearly" figures in masks moving about inside the aircraft.
Which is better than even America can do!
Syracuse, New York Post Standard - 30 Nov 52
DECEMBER 1, 1952:
Charleroi, Pennsylvania Mail - 1 Dec 52
Uses Saucer Idea as Model
AMBRIDGE, Pa. -- A practical "flying saucer" type of plane, small enough and safe enough for use by the average American family, is the aim of Alfred C. Loedding, of Laurel Road, Ambridge.
If the contraption sounds like something out of "Space Cadet," it becomes somewhat more credible coming from Loedding, who has a solid background in jet air-propulsion research, and today is director of jet research for a big New Jersey corporation.
The proposed craft would look a good deal like the popular conception of what a flying saucer looks like. It would utilize a new solid fuel which Loedding has helped to develop, and would be exceedingly versatile.
The public may hear more about Loedding's projected machine when he speaks before the Institute of Aeronautical Sciences in Philadelphia on Wednesday, December 3.
1. Translations of foreign-language news articles are from the files of Project Blue Book.
2. The entirety of Alfred Loedding's patent claims (taken from OCR version available through patent office, so mistakes may occur)...
NOV. 25, 1952 A.C. LQEDDING 2,619,302
LOEDDING LOW ASPECT RATIO AIRCRAFT 3 Sheets...
This invention relates to an aircraft and more particularly to an aircraft having a low aspect ratio.
In the conventional airplanes of both the propeller and jet propelled type, there is usually provided two, or a multiple of two, laterally extending well defined wings forming a part of an airplane having a comparatively high aspect ratio. As is well known to those skilled in the art, in the conventional airplanes now in use the thrust of the propeller decreases very rapidly from a static aircraft at rest condition to one where the airplane travels at a high rate of speed. In other words, the thrust of the propeller goes down as the velocity of the airplane increases. Furthermore, the airfoil in passing through air produces a well known boundary layer of relatively stagnant air near the upper trailing portion of the airfoil, which stagnant air has a detrimental aerodynamic effect. Various methods have been proposed for overcoming this objectionable feature. For example, in the patent to Jones No. 1,980,140 dated November 6, 1934, there is shown slots extending through the wings functioning as air passages. Other methods have been proposed for eliminating the accumulation of such stagnant air or boundary layer.
An object of my invention is to provide a low aspect ratio airplane that has great stability, high lift characteristics that can be efficiently utilized for vertical or near vertical take-off and rapid climb and at the same time adapted for high speed propulsion.
Another object of this invention is to provide an airplane which might be referred to as an airplane of the flying wing type, wherein the wing and housing portion cooperate to form a continuous gradually curving periphery.
Another object of this invention is to provide a propeller that is housed within the airplane that has the characteristics simulating a static condition even though the airplane travels at high velocity through the air.
Another object of this invention is to provide a mode of propulsion wherein the propeller is mounted within the aircraft, drawing the air in laterally, so as to produce resultant lower drag components normal to the direction of flight, equal and opposite to each other to thereby cancel each other, the propeller while actually propelling the air operating over a much larger area than the cross sectional area of the exit port of the air flow, thereby permitting the propeller to propel the air at a much lower velocity in the vicinity of the propeller than the velocity of the 2 air that is being expelled through the air expulsion port.
Another object of this invention is to provide a mode of propulsion wherein the boundary layer air is drawn into the airplane laterally and expelled to the rear in a direction parallel to the direction of flight. The air upon being acted upon by the propeller results in a turbulent and rotary motion generally referred to as a slip stream which is later removed so as to cause the air being expelled through the exhaust port and louvers on the upper surface of the aircraft to travel in a substantially straight path parallel to the direction of flight.
Another object of this invention is to provide hollow airfoils or louvers around which the air used in propelling the airplane passes while flowing towards the propeller and also from the propeller, the passages through the airfoils being used as heat transfer elements.
Another object of this invention is to provide an aircraft that has ample ruggedness and rigidity; excellent visibility; structural simplicity; roominess; unrestricted disposition of load in spanwise direction; a minimum of protuberances (that is, absence of fuselage, nacelles, wing tanks, et cetera); low wing loading; high obtainable lift; positive control to maintain almost any flight attitude, particularly at very low speeds and also very high altitudes; low percent thickness of airfoil sections to meet high speed requirements and still provide adequate depth for complete housing of all components due to the fact that the length is greater than the span; practical solution to mechanical problem for efficient utilization of boundary layer removal and obtaining a so-called flow control of the free air displaced by the aircraft; and large mean aerodynamic chord relative to span to obtain large Reynolds number and hence, large scale effect, particularly for small sized aircraft.
Another object of this invention is to utilize the entire primary power plant in conjunction with a comparatively large fan disc area for the production of boundary layer removal and free air stream flow control.
Another object of this invention is to provide suction for removing boundary layer air at the tip portions as well as utilizing the wing tip vortex flow to simulate static thrust conditions, besides preventing its normal adverse aerodynamic effect, so as to greatly reduce drag by a co-action of suction and partial consumption of tip vortex or spanwise flow, which causes free air to flow in a controlled manner from the tip through the entrance louvers towards the center and thence rearwardly, which, in effect, turns the lift component of the louver portions towards the center, which tends to produce a spanwise compression load on the aircraft instead of a drag fore and aft force.
Other objects and advantages reside in the construction of parts, the combination thereof and the mode of operation, as will become more apparent from the following description.
In the drawings, Figure l is a top plan view of my preferred embodiment of a low aspect ratio airplane.
Figure 2 is a front elevational view of the airplane shown in Figure 1.
Figure 3 is a side elevational view thereof.
Figure 4 is a fragmentary, cross sectional view, taken substantially on the line 44 of Figure 1.
Figure 5 is a transverse, cross sectional view, taken substantially on the line 5-5 of Figure 3.
Figure 6 is a cross sectional view of an air straightener, taken substantially on the line 6-5 of Figure 5.
Figure 7 is a top plan view of a modification.
Figure 8 is a front elevational view of the airplane shown in Figure 7.
Figure 9 is a cross sectional view, taken substantially on the line 9-9 of Figure 7.
Figure 10 is a graphic illustration of thrust losses of a conventional propeller compared to a theoretical thrust curve of a propeller functioning as a pump simulating the static condition.
Certain aerodynamic improvements due to boundary layer removal have been recognized and appreciated by many aeronautical scientists for years. Its full utilization is mainly a mechanical problem, which, prior to my invention, has remained without a practical solution. In my invention all the primary power energy is devoted to the removal of boundary layer and to provide proper external flow control. The arrangement is such that the mass flow is sufficiently large to provide the required propulsion for at least all subsonic flight conditions. An ideal configuration is provided which will allow its use efficiently, both from the standpoint of external and internal air flows. The total horsepower available can be employed to produce a high aspect ratio effect. Empirically, in the absence of an exact theory, the thrust which is the product of unit air mass flow and velocity and therefore a direct measure of air flow energy devoted to such control and effect may be used to replace the aspect ratio factor A in the well known induced drag formula Cn represents the usual non-dimensional induced drag coefficient;
C'r. represents the usual non-dimensional lift coefficient; and
A represents aspect ratio, which is the span squared divided by area.
This empirical substitution may prove valid if expressed as thrust in terms of propeller or fan disc area and wing area adjusted by a constant (C) to be determined by actual tests. The formula would now read:
C 2 os fi xo Where K=fan disc area times thrust divided by wing area.
'4 Then =wing area (sq. ft.) divided by fan disc area (sq. ft.) thrust (lbs) at given flight conditions.
As an example, assume wing area 300 sq. ft. Disc area of propeller is 20 sq. ft. and maximum thrust is 600 lbs. at a specific flight condition.
Aspect ratio factor A therefore would change from 0.85 to 40 provided 0:1. It is anticipated that C would have practical values from .3 to unity. Thus, such a low aspect ratio arrangement would compare favorably with present-day long range type conventional aircraft for a C value of only 0.3. The effect would be astounding and result in aircraft performance several times better than the best conventional aircraft by use of adequate power and good design of air duct system and fan or blower.
The airplane disclosed in the preferred embodiment is substantially oval; thereby having an extremely low aspect ratio and at the same time great stability and maneuverability. Instead of having an externally located propeller, as now in general use, the propeller is located within the airplane and so arranged that the boundary layer and spanwise flow induced by tip vortex effect is drawn in laterally, then propelled rearwardly by a fan or blower or propeller, straightened and expelled through suitable openings located in the rear upper portion and aft of the airplane.
As best viewed in Figure l, the horizontal peripheral outline of the preferred embodiment is substantially oval. Furthermore, as best seen in Figure 3, the peripheral appearance, as viewed from the side, is substantially tear-shaped. This arrangement eliminates the use of the conventional fuselage or cabin, in that, as best seen in Figures 1 and 3, the seats for the pilot, et cetera, are located in the forward portion I 0 of the main body of the airplane. Suitable portions of the outer surface, as illustrated at l2, may be provided with a translucent covering to provide the necessary visibility.
A pair of rudders M are used in steering the airplane, particularly at slow speed and transonic speed ranges. The angle of incidence, as well as direction, is controlled by elevons [6 attached to stabilizers 18. As may best be seen by referring to Figures 2 and 5, the stabilizers l8 form dihedral angles with the adjacent portion of the main body, to thereby give the airplane adequate lateral stability.
In conventional propellers the thrust decreases very rapidly as the speed of the airplane increases. For example, using a static thrust as the thrust at 500 miles per hour would be approximately 15%, as illustrated by the full line curve shown in Figure 10. If a propeller could be produced such that it would operate under conditions simulating static conditions, the thrust curve would probably simulate the dotted curve shown in Figure 10.
Furthermore, in conventional airplanes separation of the boundary layer creates a drag, which, of course, is objectionable.
In the device disclosed herein, the propeller 20 is mounted within the outside surface of the air- =40 (neglecting units) plane. A plurality of louvers 22, 24 and 26 cooperate to form openings 28 in the sides of the airplane, so that the propeller 20 withdraws the boundary layer air as well as air flowing laterally from the tips and utilizes this air in propelling the airplane. Furthermore, the velocity of the air in the vicinity of the propeller is less than the velocity of the air passing through the openings 28 and is less than the velocity of the air exhausted or propelled through th opening 30 located in the vicinity of the louvers 32 positioned immediately in front of and above the tail. It is a well established phenomenon that a propeller has greater efficiency at lower velocity levels where the compressibility effects are less. When approaching the well known Mach number of l (M=l.0), the ratio of speed or local flow velocity to the speed of sound, the effect of compressibility becomes very serious. Shock waves are evidenced and the drag increases at an abnormally high rate. When the local velocity is approximately 520 miles per hour at seat level, M is then only 0.7, and compressibility is just beginning to be evidenced.
The propeller 20 is mounted on the propeller shaft 40 driven by any suitable type of engine 42 mounted within the airplane. A liquid-cooled type engine 42 may be efficiently employed. The liquid coolant used in cooling the engine may be circulated through the ducts 44 in the louvers 26, as best seen in Figure 4. Thus, the louvers 26 may function as radiators for the coolant. Some of these louvers may be used as radiators for the oil. By mounting the engine or the power plane entirely within the airplane, a practical solution of coping with extremely low temperature operations, as for example, in the Arctic regions or at very high altitudes, is thereby attained. Furthermore, it is a comparatively easy matter to pre-heat the air used in carburetion.
When a single propeller is used, rotating in one direction, the propelled air creates a vortex, that is, a twisting effect. This is an undesirable movement of the air for the proper flight of the airplane disclosed herein. That being the case, a plurality of straightener vanes 59 mounted between the hub 52 and the rim 54 are positioned near the propeller 2D. The vanes 50 are preferably hollow, so as to form ducts 56 that may be used as a heat exchanger, either for the coolant or for the crankcase oil. The air, in passing from the propeller through the straightener, increases in velocity, due to the tapering contour of the air exhaust passage. The air escapes between the louvers 32, so as to propel the aircraft in a manner similar to jet propulsion. Arrangements employing counter-rotating dual propellers may eliminate entirely the need for the vanes).
Suitable trap doors 6B may be opened in the event the engine stalls. These doors could then be opened, as shown in dotted lines in Figure 2. dropping down, so that if the engine stalls, air can rush in, due to natural pressure differentials between the lower and upper surfaces. The doors will also serve as air brakes to increase the drag, thereby slowing down the airplane to effect a. slow, safe landing. These doors have been shown as extending in a direction substantially normal to the longitudinal axis of the airplane. These doors could be diagonally disposed or angularly disposed with respect to the longitudinal axis of the aircraft, to thereby aid in the control of the aircraft.
The top part of the airplane could be made from porous material. Portions of the upper and lower wing surfaces may be porous to permit eflicient entrance of air to the interior in conjunction with the openings shown or Without them. The porous material should be so selected that it is possible to maintain surface continuity and smoothness. Furthermore, these porous areas should be so selected as not to interfere with the internal and external air pressures in areas of the plane where changes in air pressure are objectionable. At the same time, the porous areas should offer a minimum resistance to air entering into the ducting system, so as to maintain high thrust of the propeller.
The aircraft, both in flight and while landing or hovering, may be controlled by trim and thrust control members 62 and 64 pivoted along the lines 66 and 68 respectively to the main body of the tail portion. These trim and thrust members 62 and 64 subtend an opening 69, which forms a rather large opening in the rear end of the tail of the airplane. This large opening functions as an exhaust passage for the air propelled by the propeller. By actuating members 62 and 64 into the dot dash position 62a and 640., the flow of air through the opening 69 is greatly restricted. This shifts the angle of the effective thrust created by the propellers exhausting the air. It also produces the greatest lift for possible hovering by forcing the air out through the openings 30. Furthermore, immediate high thrust is also possible by suddenly adjusting the surfaces from a restricted position into the full line positions 52 and 64, that is, into their neutral positions, Without increasing the engine speed. By actuating the thrust control members into the position 621) and 6%, these trim and thrust control members function as drag elements. Furthermore, these members may be used in controlling the angle of incidence by adjusting one or the other out of the horizontal plane.
The load or cargo in this type of airplane is preferably carried ahead of the 33% point, as measured from the front of the airplane. Everything to the rear of the 33% point, or substantially so, is used as a space for the power plant, the propeller or fan arrangement and the air passages, to thereby secure adequate air flow through the airplane. The configuration is substantially oval, or tear-shaped, as viewed from the top or upwardly from the bottom. The side of the airplane also is what might be referred to in general as an oval contour or a tear-shaped contour.
The propulsion of the airplane may be accomplished by or aided by the use of turbojet engines that could be located in the space 67 on either side of the air passage conduit or channel. By locating the turbo-jet engines, not shown, in this space, the flow of the air could be accelerated and also the flow of the air around the rather abrupt corners adjacent this space could be facilitated.
These turbo-jet engines can be used either as a sole source of power or as an auxiliary source of power. If used as an auxiliary source of power, they could, in case of emergency, be used as the sole source of power or they could be used to augment the internal combustion engines for super-performance. In the event the turbo-jet engines are used as a sole source of power and the only source of power, the engine 42 would be eliminated; but not necessarily the propeller :and the straighteners 54. These parts could be retained. The turbo-jet engine exhaust is preferably directed out through the center of the channel.
The removal of the boundary layer air and the enclosed .power plant are adaptable for universal use.
The modification disclosed in Figures 7, 8 and 9 disclose a wing type airplane 70 that is similar in contour to the airplane disclosed in my Patent No. 2,118,254, patented May 24, 1938. The main body portions of the wings have been provided with slots or openings 72 along the top rear edge, communicating with a pair of air passages there being one air passage in each wing. A pair of propellers '16, mounted within the airplane and upon the shafts 18 driven through v-belts 80 from a motor 82, are used in drawing air in through the openings 12 and exhausting the air between suitable louvers '83 or through openings 84 located towards the rear and upper surface of the main body of the airplane. The air exhausted from the rear of the airplane flows out in the vicinity of a pair of rudders 86 and the elevators '88. Control members 90, which have been described in my Patent No. 2,118,254, form wing tips. These control members 90 are provided with openings 92 located in the rear upper surface thereof. Air is drawn in through the openings 92 ahead of a partition member 94. Thus, air is supplied to the motor 82 to cool the same. Suitable vents or openings 95 in the curved portion of the partition member 94 cause the air drawn in through the openings 92 to be discharged through the apertures in the rear of the airplane. This arrangement disclosed herein removes the boundary layer air, the propellers operating so as to develop a high thrust. 'By utilizing two propellers driven through a suitable gear mechanism, so as to rotate in opposite directions, the torque resulting from the vortex generated by one propeller is cancelled or equalized by the torque resulting from the vortex generated by the other propeller.
The space in the airplane in front of the 33% line in the preferred embodiment and the space in the main body of the airplane in front of the partition 94 disclosed in the modification are each available as a load carrying space. In the preferred embodiment a large space is available for the load without increasing the overall height of the airplane beyond optimum efficiency. In the modification disclosed in Figures '7, 8 and 9, there may be a double partition, one for dividing the wing-like extensions into two passages, the rear passage for the flow of the air drawn in through the openings 12 and the leading passage for the flow of the air passing through the openings 92. The second partition could extend across the main body of the fuselage-like portion of the airplane in front of the leading passage, so as to prevent the cargo from obstructing the flow of air used in cooling the engine.
Although the preferred embodiment of the device has been described, it will be understood that within the purview of this invention various changes may be made in the form, details, proportions and arrangement of parts, the combination thereof and mode of operation, which generally stated consists in a device capable of carrying out the objects set forth, as disclosed and defined in the appended claims.
Having thus described my invention, I claim:
1. 'In a low aspect ratio airplane, the combination of an outer surface having a substantially continuous curvature provided with laterally disposed openings for removing boundary layer air, and provided with openings in the rear, said airplane having air passages extending from the lateral openings to the rear openings, with propeller means mounted within the airplane for drawing the air in through the lateral openings and 'exhausting it through the rear openings to thereby propel the airplane, and doors providing closures for auxiliary intake openings in the underside of the airplane, said doors being adapted to drop downwardly to provide drag elements for suddenly slowing down the airplane and for providing sufficient airflow through the air passages to maintain control to effect a slow safe landing.
2. In an airplane having a curved surface terminating in a pair of laterally disposed wing-like extensions, said wing-like extensions being provided with openings in the upper rear surface thereof, a partition through the wing-like extensions forming a portion of each of a pair of air passages, said passages communicating with the openings in the upper surface of the wing-like extensions and terminating in a common passage communicating with openings in the upper rear surface of the main body of the airplane, control tips extending outwardly from said wing-like extensions, openings in the upper rear surface of the control tips, said openings communicating with the first mentioned passages in the wing-like extensions, an engine located in front of the partition, and means driven by the engine located to the rear of the partition for removing the boundary layer air overlying the rear surface of the wing-like extensions and exhausting this air through the openings in the upper rear surface of the airplane to create a thrust for propelling the airplane, said partition having vent openings in the vicinity of the engine so as to draw the air overlying the rear portion of the control tips through the leading passage in the wing-like extensions to cool the engine.
3. In an airplane having a curved surface terminating in a pair of laterally disposed wing-like extensions, said wing-like extensions being provided with openings in the upper rear surface thereof, a partition through the wing-like extensions forming a portion of each of a pair of air passages, said passages communicating with the openings in the upper surface of the wing-like extensions and terminating in a common passage communicating with openings in the upper rear surface of the main body of the airplane, control tips extending outwardly from said wing-like extensions, openings in the upper rear surface of the control tips, said openings communicating with the first mentioned passages in the wing-like extensions, an engine located in front of the partition, and a pair of propellers located to the rear of the partition and driven by the engine, said propellers removing the boundary layer air overlying the rear surface of the wing-like extensions and exhausting this air through the openings in the upper rear surface of the airplane to create a thrust for propelling the airplane, said partition having vent openings in the vicinity of the engine so as to draw the air overlying the rear portion of the control tips through the leading passage in the wing-like extensions to cool the engine.
ALFRED C. LOEDDING.
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