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Farnborough24
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BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:11 am

Hi all-I've been reading here and there about long term aircraft designs involving BWB, ie. blended wings. For one thing, what does BWB actually stand for?

Other than that, many seem to refer to the inherent problems and difficulties of this-what are these problems? Just fundamentally if somebody could give me an outline of the supposed core problems stopping Boeing/Airbus designing a blended-wing aircraft tomorrow, that would be great. I wasn't sure whether to put this in Tech Ops/here, so if anyone feels it's in the wrong place feel free to move it/tell me to move it.
My Saab 9000-the chav eater!
 
Alessandro
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:25 am

BWB=Blended Wing Body, one problem is pressurize the fuselage, easiest to do in a tube. Another problem is 90 seconds evacuation.
An unpressurized fuselage for cargo could be the easiest to do, but market for that is limited.
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CHRISBA777ER
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:45 am

Gate space is the obvious one that springs to mind, but also the fact that you would only be able to sit people down the centreline - you cant sit people out in the wings because the turning forces are greater there and even in the mildest turbulence the seats will rise and fall violently. Sitting people on the centreline means nobody has a window either, which creates air-sickness problems.
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
 
Alessandro
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 2:55 pm

I don´t see the lack of windows for passengers a big problem, put in some flatscreen and mimick windows, not too difficult.
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CHRISBA777ER
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:00 pm



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 3):
I don´t see the lack of windows for passengers a big problem, put in some flatscreen and mimick windows, not too difficult.

All very well in a lab or on paper, but when was the last time you went on a flight and all the PTVs worked flawlessly for the whole trip from start to end?

I certainly wouldnt like to have an inop window/screen for a long flight, especially in turbulence - people would be sick left right and centre!
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
 
Alessandro
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:02 pm

Well, the big problem isn´t lack of windows but 90 seconds evacuation and pressurization of a non-tube formed fuselage....
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CHRISBA777ER
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:11 pm



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 5):
Well, the big problem isn´t lack of windows but 90 seconds evacuation and pressurization of a non-tube formed fuselage....

Indeed - one would assume there would have to be some kind of pressure vessel inside the structure - perhaps a rhomboid cross-section etc.

Got no answers to your 90 second evac thing though. Perhaps something radical like having doors that open downwards like the ones you find on the tail of 727s, four on each side, with blow out sections that jettisson and push down egress slides down and underneath?

Doesnt sound very efficient LOL :s
What do you mean you dont have any bourbon? Do you know how far it is to Houston? What kind of airline is this???
 
brightcedars
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:23 pm

It may sound stupid but I don't know of birds that have such BWBs. They are mostly body and wing, with "propulsion" at that area (not tail mounted). Now surely they aren't going past Mach 1 or need to unload their content in 90 secs (pigeons in attack mode do that much faster), or have to worry about windows (I wouldn't like the idea of a plane without windows, frankly, why is it that we put windows everywhere even space stations and to the rare exception of subs if we could easily do without them), but I'm pretty sure they are about the most optimal design you can think of in a few million years. Tubes and wings are all it takes to make the most beautiful man-made birds!
 
GBan
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 3:32 pm



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 3):
I don´t see the lack of windows for passengers a big problem, put in some flatscreen and mimick windows, not too difficult.

I can assure you that I would never fly in any aircraft without windows. Whatever price I'd have to pay for a ticket on a traditional aircraft, I'd be on the traditional one. And if I'm the only one feeling like that I'll just stop flying...
 
EXAAUADL
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:33 pm



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 1):
An unpressurized fuselage for cargo could be the easiest to do, but market for that is limited.

Im not so sure about that for cargo anyways...doesnt a flying wing type design have much more lift and ability to carry more than a similar sized traditional design?
 
parapente
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 4:39 pm

The simple fact is that Boeing decided to go for the 748i (and we assume soon a revamp of the 77W) as such we will not see a new plane from Boeing in this category for some time -sadly. I imagine that they will continue with their scale testing with NASA. Thay have stated that they will now move on to higher speed testing having completed the slow and low work.
 
chuchoteur
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:40 pm

... it also gives lots of ground handling compatibility problems, such as enabling catering trucks, accessing cargo bay areas, etc etc... a real headache!
 
tdscanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 9:18 pm



Quoting BrightCedars (Reply 7):
It may sound stupid but I don't know of birds that have such BWBs.

They're a lot more BWB than your average commercial airliner. Wingspan/body length is way above 1 for lots of birds. The major differentiator is that birds have hugely sophisticated and capable active stability control. They also don't have to worry about material fatigue, pressurization load, or FAR's.

Tom.
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:35 pm

I think we'll see a "semi-bwb" before we see a pure bwb. A much more blended wing and fuse, but still wings and fuse.


As for the windows, sitting in the back of a widebody at night in turbulence is pretty much the same as having no windows at all. People don't puke more or less.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
tdscanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 19, 2008 11:47 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):
As for the windows, sitting in the back of a widebody at night in turbulence is pretty much the same as having no windows at all. People don't puke more or less.

It's not just the lack of windows (although that doesn't help), it's the centrifugal forces (or the centripetal accelerations, for you Newtonian purists). On a BWB you can be a lot farther from the axis of rotation than on a conventional (even a widebody). The combination of odd accelerations with no horizon reference is not good for most people's nausea.

Tom.
 
SP90
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 1:33 pm



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 6):
Got no answers to your 90 second evac thing though. Perhaps something radical like having doors that open downwards like the ones you find on the tail of 727s, four on each side, with blow out sections that jettisson and push down egress slides down and underneath?

Your talking about doors that open up on the belly of the aircraft? What happens if you have to ditch in water or end up with collapsed gears lke BA38? No no no...ejecto seato for everyone is the answer! Big grin
 
Farnborough24
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:41 pm

Hi all-thanks for all the replies. So essentially it seems to me the major problem is of nausea because the wings and fuselage and blended together, any movement on the wing will be transmitted throughout the passenger cabin. Thanks.

As for the evacuation problem, as has been said without any alternative I think it's got to be an ejector seat each hasn't it haha?
My Saab 9000-the chav eater!
 
TSS
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 6:02 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 13):
I think we'll see a "semi-bwb" before we see a pure bwb. A much more blended wing and fuse, but still wings and fuse.

My thought exactly! Why not blend the wing into the fuselage more than is commonly done now to pick up a few of the benefits of a pure BWB without going whole-hog and giving up the logistical benefits of a traditional wing and fuse design?
Able to kill active threads stone dead with a single post!
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:46 pm



Quoting Farnborough24 (Reply 16):
So essentially it seems to me the major problem is of nausea because the wings and fuselage and blended together, any movement on the wing will be transmitted throughout the passenger cabin

Not quite. Movement is transmitted today. But in a tube with wings, everyone sits close to the centerline so even if the wingtip moves up/down 10 meters in a roll the seats only move a few decimeters, and slowly. In a BWB, many pax sit further from centerline so any roll leads to large and fast seat movements.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
2H4
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:53 pm

I still say the cost of deicing such an immense wing would, in and of itself, challenge any potential profitability.  biggrin 

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
phollingsworth
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Fri Feb 22, 2008 1:06 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 14):
It's not just the lack of windows (although that doesn't help), it's the centrifugal forces (or the centripetal accelerations, for you Newtonian purists). On a BWB you can be a lot farther from the axis of rotation than on a conventional (even a widebody). The combination of odd accelerations with no horizon reference is not good for most people's nausea.

While the no reference can be a problem, the lateral moment arm at the outside of a BWB are actually less than the movent arm about the longitudinal and directional axis for most modern large aircraft. Anytime a B767-4ER or a B777-2/3 pitches up an down you get much more motion at both the back and front of the aircraft. Also in both of these aircraft it you happen to be in the middle seat you have no outside reference.

All that being said it will take a significant change in the business case to get the Boeings and Airbuses of the world to build a pax BWB any time in the near future.
 
pmk
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:19 pm



Quoting 2H4 (Reply 19):
I still say the cost of deicing such an immense wing would, in and of itself, challenge any potential profitability.

2H4,

While I greatly respect your opinion and I take note of the smiley in the above referenced post you've made this tounge-in-cheek reference several times.

If you think about it, and since there are currently no BWB aircraft to get the measurements from, I would think that the surface area of a BWB and the total combined surface area of the nose, wings, empennage, tail, etc. would probably be nearly the same.

Besides, by the time we have BWB's in the air global warming will have made snow all but passe.  duck 

PMK
 
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SEPilot
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:07 pm



Quoting Pmk (Reply 21):
Besides, by the time we have BWB's in the air global warming will have made snow all but passe.

You mean it isn't already? I was going to breaking out my bathing trunks for next week but then I had some shoveling to do first...
The problem with making things foolproof is that fools are so doggone ingenious...Dan Keebler
 
2H4
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Sat Feb 23, 2008 5:28 pm



Quoting Pmk (Reply 21):

If you think about it, and since there are currently no BWB aircraft to get the measurements from, I would think that the surface area of a BWB and the total combined surface area of the nose, wings, empennage, tail, etc. would probably be nearly the same.

Do you think so? I'm not so sure. The artist renderings of BWBs I've seen have all looked absolutely immense.

But yes, I'll admit my musings about deicing the things are just theoretical. I just remember being stunned at how many thousands of dollars it costs to deice a CRJ, and imagine how that cost must scale up for such BWB monstrosities.  Smile

2H4
Intentionally Left Blank
 
flipdewaf
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Sun Feb 24, 2008 11:54 pm

Just started a big project at uni to develop a large freighter and we have just got to the stage of the choosing the initial concept to develop and we studied BWB's a bit but it turned out that they were far to difficult to take seriously. Pressurization was difficult like previously mentioned and a huge problem was controlling it as it would have similar longitudinal handling characteristics as a delta (the dropping when pulling up) and the same long landing gear which makes it heavy. The internal space is very inefficient for putting things in, lots of wasted space, once the thickness gets below 2m what do you do? They would be good if you could make them and utilise them fully but at the moment I don't really think they are worth it.

Fred
Image
 
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Starlionblue
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Feb 25, 2008 1:34 am



Quoting Flipdewaf (Reply 24):
once the thickness gets below 2m what do you do?

Lots and lots and lots of fuel?  Wink Or I suppose you could transport bulk goods like rice or other grains. I leave the question on why you would need to transport rice by air in such bulk as an exercise for the alert reader.
"There are no stupid questions, but there are a lot of inquisitive idiots." - John Ringo
 
JoeCanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:01 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 14):
It's not just the lack of windows (although that doesn't help), it's the centrifugal forces (or the centripetal accelerations, for you Newtonian purists). On a BWB you can be a lot farther from the axis of rotation than on a conventional (even a widebody). The combination of odd accelerations with no horizon reference is not good for most people's nausea.



Quoting Phollingsworth (Reply 20):
While the no reference can be a problem, the lateral moment arm at the outside of a BWB are actually less than the moment arm about the longitudinal and directional axis for most modern large aircraft. Anytime a B767-4ER or a B777-2/3 pitches up an down you get much more motion at both the back and front of the aircraft. Also in both of these aircraft it you happen to be in the middle seat you have no outside reference.

This response is basically what is intuitive to me, on the moment/discomfort subject. I suspect that the issues with a BWB are more to do with infrastructure and acceptance of new concepts than a problem with passenger dis/comfort.
What the...?
 
WPIAeroGuy
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:19 pm

Pitch angles are generally much shallower than bank angles. The pitch up on takeoff is acceptable once during takeoff, but having those kinds of forces several times during the flight might bother people.
-WPIAeroGuy
 
metroliner
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Feb 25, 2008 11:47 pm



Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 25):
I leave the question on why you would need to transport rice by air in such bulk as an exercise for the alert reader.

Why yes, thank you, Starlionblue, I was in fact just about to shout at you!  Wink

Quoting Starlionblue (Reply 25):
Lots and lots and lots of fuel?

I like this idea a lot more. Nonstop transats the long way round, anyone?

Cheers,

Toni
Set the controls for the heart of the Sun
 
Alessandro
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 26, 2008 8:20 am

With the recent B2 crash, I wonder if wake turbulence is a major problem?
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Alessandro
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 26, 2008 10:50 am



Quoting CHRISBA777ER (Reply 6):
Indeed - one would assume there would have to be some kind of pressure vessel inside the structure - perhaps a rhomboid cross-section etc.

Got no answers to your 90 second evac thing though. Perhaps something radical like having doors that open downwards like the ones you find on the tail of 727s, four on each side, with blow out sections that jettisson and push down egress slides down and underneath?

Doesnt sound very efficient LOL :s

Sounds like that´ll take a lot of cost, space and wieght penalty to have this evacuation system. Doable, yes, but practical,
no.
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JoeCanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Feb 26, 2008 7:26 pm

I suspect that a lot of the pressurization problems with the BWB shape can be more easily solved with newer composite materials. The shape of the pressure vessel would probably be an oval, much like the shape of the 380 interior, but on its side.

I sure like the concept, though. If not ideal passenger vehicles, they look like they would make great freight haulers.
What the...?
 
tdscanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Wed Feb 27, 2008 1:43 am



Quoting Alessandro (Reply 29):
With the recent B2 crash, I wonder if wake turbulence is a major problem?

Giving or receiving it?

A BWB should throw less wake vortex for its weight due to the more efficient wing. As for receiving it, provided you've got enough control authority it shouldn't be any worse than the airplanes of today.

Tom.
 
Blackbird
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:21 pm

The problem with the BWB is no longer related to cabin pressurization. We now have means to produce sturdy enough structures that are light enough.

Evacuation is not a problem either, there are many doors, all with deployable slides. The A-380 tests effectively showed that even with a double-decker you can evacuate everybody just fine. The BWB also had four huge boarding ramps in the back which could rapidly assist evacuation.

The wingspan is actually a partial-problem, depending on how big the BWB design in question is. Just like many aircraft used in the United States Navy, a BWB could use wingtips that fold. The hingeline would be dictated by the centerbodys width (the area where the passengers, cargo, engines, and some fuel are carried), the point where the wing becomes thin enough for a folding mechanism to not be obscenely heavy, and of course by regulations. I've heard statements that people would not want to board a plane that looked broken, but people aren't stupid and education would solve the problem. The length of many of the BWB studies was around 160-feet, which is well within acceptable length figures.


The real problems lie in the nearly total lack of window-seats, passenger disorientation, and in large BWB designs, the effects of the passengers located far out to either side.

The window-seat problem could be dealt with using TV-screens. Either mounted on the seatback, or up top. Cameras mounted on parts of the airplane could feed to the cockpit to assist with taxiing and also to these "virtual windows". Each passenger could select a number of views.

The disorientation problem could be dealt with using dynamic lighting. It's possible regardless of position in the cabin from most extreme side to right in the middle to use dynamic lighting to provide an artificial horizon like effect. The outer areas you'd see a slant which would also rise up and down to show the horizon position.

The biggest problem I've seen is the effects of the airplane's rolling in areas of the cabin located fairly far outboard. I'm not sure if the G's would pose a serious threat to a human body, but one problem the Russians found out is that trays, and cups would go flying! The best idea I've thought up so far would be to have the tray-tables fitted with electromagnets. The trays, and cups could have a ferromagnetic material in the base of them and it would hold to the tray. Cups could have covers with straws to avoid excessive fluid flying all over the place.


Blackbird
 
tdscanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Mar 03, 2008 5:27 pm



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 33):
The best idea I've thought up so far would be to have the tray-tables fitted with electromagnets. The trays, and cups could have a ferromagnetic material in the base of them and it would hold to the tray.

Wouldn't gimbals be lighter and easier?

Tom.
 
Blackbird
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Mar 03, 2008 6:27 pm

Tom,

Can you elaborate on that?
 
tdscanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Mon Mar 03, 2008 8:06 pm



Quoting Tdscanuck (Reply 34):
Wouldn't gimbals be lighter and easier?



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 35):

Can you elaborate on that?

Well, your basic problem is that the local acceleration vector doesn't align with your reaction surface (tray tables and such). This is essentially the same problem that sailboats have with galley stuff when they're heeled over. An electromagnet to stick the tray/cup/etc. down would stop the utentils from moving but not the stuff that's on them...you could still end up slopping food off the plate (new cuisine...extra sticky!). Magnetics tend to be heavy and power hungry too.

If you put the tray table on a gimbal then it will align to whatever the local acceleration vector is and your food/drink/cutlery will always be pulled straight "down" and not want to go sideways off the tray.

Tom.
 
Blackbird
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Tue Mar 04, 2008 12:11 am

Tdscanuck,

How would that work for negative G's or if the plane banked the other way (your side dipped). Wouldn't the stuff be pulled up?
 
tdscanuck
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Thu Mar 06, 2008 1:29 am



Quoting Blackbird (Reply 37):

How would that work for negative G's or if the plane banked the other way (your side dipped). Wouldn't the stuff be pulled up?

A commercial airliner basically never pulls negative G's on purpose, so I'm not sure you want to use that as a design condition. Even on a conventional tube-and-wing that would cause all your food to end up on the ceiling.

For banking the other way, I don't really see why that would be any different. A gimbal just lets your load align with the local acceleration vector, whatever that may be. In theory, if you went into negative g's the right way it could even handle that, although you'd need a full 360 degree range of motion and that's probably not practical.

Tom.
 
Blackbird
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RE: BWB (Blended Wing) Problems?

Thu Mar 06, 2008 2:50 am

I don't mean negative G's as in pitching down.

I mean as the plane banks, one side dips, the other side goes up. People on the up-side would feel "pushed down" a bit, and the people on the down side would feel pulled up a bit. Glasses on those trays would go up a bit if allegedly the tests the russians did, the glasses would go flying.

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