Inflatable Airplanes - RC Groups
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Nov 11, 2010, 05:04 AM
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Chophop's Avatar

Inflatable Airplanes

This started as a joke but I decided to take a closer look.

Wow, this is funny ! Talk about popping your balloon. They scrapped this sucker after it killed a pilot. Nice idea, at least for storage. The Army got a laugh and said who needs a plane that can be shot down with a bow and arrow.
I think it's funny AND cool. The Goodyear Inflatoplane.

Look closely at the windshield.

It may just work out for model airplane fliers. You could pack 15 or 20, even more in the car. Just bring a tire pump and build your plane at the field. I'll bet they appear on the market after some time.
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Nov 11, 2010, 05:08 AM
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Chophop's Avatar
Today's engineering abilities may make this practical. At least for RC. Looks like a tire patch is what you use for crash damage repair.
Nov 11, 2010, 05:17 AM
no gap is too 'small'
screwup's Avatar
wouldnt rubber be too heavy for rc? i think you would also have a hard time kepping the wings from warping
Nov 11, 2010, 05:23 AM
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Chophop's Avatar
You might think of it as a plane made from inflatable Monokote or SoLite. It obviously can be inflated to a pressure that holds a plane large enough to carry humans. The problem with the one above appears to be that flexure allowed a control cable to slip off the pulley and jam.
Servos could fix that. They simply move out as the wing expands.

And yes, there used to be a bunch of cartoons making fun of inflatable everything. If perfected, it would be a good way to carry an airplane within an airplane and have a plane that ejects and inflates on a major airframe failure. An ejectable escape plane built around the cockpit.
Nov 11, 2010, 05:27 AM
no gap is too 'small'
screwup's Avatar
it sure would bounce if it crashes
Nov 11, 2010, 06:59 AM
**** 37130 ****
RobC(UK)'s Avatar
I've long been tempted to R/C one of those vinyl inflatable toy planes, just for a laugh. Looks like Goodyear beat me to it!
Nov 11, 2010, 07:43 AM
Way to many airplanes!
It has been there forever... It's call a blimp! Seriously though, I kind of like the concept for RC airplanes as well... Could be possible for us to fly some 15 feet wingspan airplanes, and who knows, maybe even carry cameras and other equipement father than we can before we loose sight of our smaller airplanes. Fill them with some helium, and you can fly one hour on a 1 amp pack!
Nov 11, 2010, 07:51 AM
dusty bible = dirty life
Majortomski's Avatar
Actually it wasn't scrapped, just not put into production. There was an article in an aviation mag 10 years or so ago by the USN doctoral candidate that did the evaluation flights of the aircraft.

The major drawback to the plane was as it flew higher the internal pressure had to be reduced to keep it from poping. but then had to be increased as the plane decended to keep it from follding up. That deemed it too difficult to handle for the original mission of rescuing downed pilots.

My Dad worked for Goodyear Aerospace for 40 years. He brought home a roll of the impregnated fabric that the real thing was made out of and had planned to make an RC model.

The airfoil shape of the wings were maintained by stiches through the top and bottom of the wing.
Nov 11, 2010, 09:40 AM
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Chophop's Avatar
That's what I was hoping you all would notice, the airfoil shape. It won't be like some bloated toy, but very close in form to a regular airplane. and the wing loading can be altered by ballast to change it's duty.
Nov 11, 2010, 10:14 AM
Caution:Makes sharp left turns
Troy's Avatar
Look up the RC Hover Disk in the foamies scratch built threads. It uses an inflatable flying saucer for the major component of the airframe.
Nov 11, 2010, 10:33 AM
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Chophop's Avatar
Looks like on an RC scale, many crashes would be bounces. Takes the excitement out of it.
Nov 11, 2010, 01:24 PM
Registered User
Re: Post #8

I'd do everything I possibly could to keep my airplane from "poping".
Nov 11, 2010, 02:10 PM
Roll on Two !
Chophop's Avatar
Pressure management wouldn't be nearly as difficult these days with embedded microprocessors and integrated sensor technology.
Nov 11, 2010, 02:19 PM
Registered User
The pressure differential for the altitude change that these models would see (i.e. 300 ft.) may make it unneccesary. I dunno.
Nov 11, 2010, 05:25 PM
Wake up, feel pulse, be happy!
Piece's Avatar
If the airframe was inflatable but had external tubing to slide some CF rods into, flex wouldn't be much of an issue. The rods could be positioned in a manner that would play tensioning forces against each other rather than using the method most foamies seem to use (relying on the longitudinal stiffness of the rod alone).

After flying the air could be let out and the rods slipped out of the tubing, allowing the plane to be stored in a small plastic tube just big enough in diameter to hold the motor and a folding prop/spinner. A simple motor quick-release system with pressure contacts for power delivery could also be used. Bullets would work too, of course.

Even better, one could fill the airframe with HELIUM to lighten wing loading by a substantial amount.

I think I had that idea before, or one similar to it.....

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