Sunday, 24 April 2011

Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind Aircraft

Well then, Nausicaa is filled with interesting aircraft. From the little jet-assisted glider that Nausicaa herself owns to the great, huge lumbering Tolmekian "Airships", they are all very interesting. Let's have a look.
Nausicaa's little glider is an interesting development. It is possible to achieve, but would be very difficult to control the pitch in flight. The wings are also very short and have a thin camber, which would be unsuitable for such a short wing. The jet system appears to be beyond our technology, able to burst into life and give out great speed when activated. The aerolons look big enough to give a good roll control. There are no rudders to control yaw, so that would undoubtedly make is difficult to control in flight.
So, a would-be analysis:
Handling: Difficult. You would have to stop it from simply falling over and stalling all over the place during flight.
Speed: Quite high. Or high enough for what is like a surfboard in the sky. In the film, it did show to keep up with other, larger aircraft, though.

I don't have a picture of one of these, unfortunately, but let me describe it to you - enormous metal pile of reclaimed scrap.
The wings, which must be at least a quarter of a mile long, eclipse anything made in real life. Ever. They have a low aspect ratio and unbelievably high camber, with the trailing edge about an eighth of a mile behind the leading edge. These would produce, I suppose, in theory, a bit of lift, but would be massively inefficient. The wings have a seemingly random amount of jet-pods containing powerful... well, jets, that shove the unsightly behemoth around the sky. The rest is simply feuselage, containing many decks of metal things. I think it's safe to say that they wouldn't fly very well, if at all.
Would-be analysis:
Handling: Non existant. It would probably collapse under its own weight.
 Speed: Very, very slow.


Once more carrying on the tradition of having no empannage, it would fall backwards or forewards in flight. The wings have a high angle of attack, high camber and interesting tip arrangement, which would probably create a medium amount of lift. The jets, which are all inside the wings, would probably make the wing explode with the pressure as it seems that some of the jet is projected towards the aerolons. Whilst this might create some interesting maneuverability effects, the aerolons would more like than not simply break off. The massive cannons would weigh as much a tank on the nose and probably cause it to simply, hmm, what's the word... snap off.


I don't know exactly what it's called, but it's frigate-like, so that's what I'll call it. With tandem wings in a high camber with a high angle of attack, they would fail. One wouldn't. But two on equal elevation would, as the airflow for the second wing would be disturbed by the front one. Also, it features four jet pods. Once more, if it were simply just the front ones there then maybe it would be alright, but then the Tolmekians decided to plonk another two directly behind them, which would create some very interesting air flow effects. Even if that was alright, it once again lacks a tail so it would simply crash through lack of yaw control.
Would-be analysis:
Handling: Good, as the wings could all work with eachother to achieve movement. Unfortunately, there wouldn't be any lift produced by the rear wing (or at least, none to speak of), so it would probably stall backwards. also, with the front jets pushing directly against the front jets, the rear wing would probably just get yanked clean off.
Speed: Fast, with four high-tech jets pushing that relatively small amount of metal around.

1 comment:

  1. I've not seen any details past what Wikipedia has, but the OpenSky M-02 is a full-size possibly flying replica of Nausicaa's flying wing.
    Here's the video:
    Clamshell brakes can be used to do somewhat coordinated turns and maintain some roll stability, as seen on numerous Northrop aircraft, but the design suffers heavily, like any flying wing, from the large nose-down pitching moment the wing produces, with no tail to counteract it. Usually that's dealt with by adding a recurved camber on the upper wing surface, which pretty much cancels out all the benefits of not having a tail. Well, except for the coolness factor.