I'm fond of ultralight flying and stumbled over the SF-1 Archon site.

Specifications for more details.

I found it very appealing as an ultralight and feel like flying it even though i don't have any prior experience with pusher configuration.

I have never heard of the FFA (flying fuselage aircraft) concept so far. My knowledge is rather limited to basic conventional aircraft where the fuselage is considered to neutral by design.

Can someone expand on it please?

  • One day with SF/1 Archon video on youtube – menjaraz Mar 21 '14 at 9:01
  • Excerpt from a forum: "basically a Fat Ultralight, with a Rotax 503 ( about 50 hp) 2 stroke in a semi-duct with a full sized prop." – menjaraz Apr 8 '14 at 8:26
up vote 3 down vote accepted

I found this off the website after some searching:

The advantages of the flying fuselage aircraft (FFA) category, compared to conventional aircraft (CA) category and flying body aircraft (FBA) category, are the following:

In conventional aircraft design, the fuselage is aerodynamically neutral and joins only the separate parts of the aircraft. As the wings grow the buoyancy grows as well. In the flying body aircrafts, aerodynamic lift is produced only on the outside of the fuselage and the wings, which comprise a unite body. As the fuselage and wings grow, the generated lift becomes greater. In the flying fuselage aircraft the extra lift is generated from the interior of the fuselage and from the whole aircraft in and out. Thus, maximizing the full extent of the aerodynamic performance of the aircraft. Practically, the new category of the flying fuselage has the following advantages compared to the other categories above. i) because of the greater generated lift ,the aircraft is designed smaller in size, in order to have the same performance as its peers.

ii) due to the smaller dimensions of the aircraft, it occupies less space and needs a smaller hangar. (cost reduction).

iii) the most important advantage is that during the flight in conventional and flying body aircrafts, stability comes only from the main wings dihedral, as well as the size of caudal. The flying fuselage design acts as a funnel and provides extra stability to the aircraft, making the air mass passing through the fuselage in a column of air (air shaft). This is maximizing the stability of the aircraft in all angles and phases of flight. Source

So what I think what they're trying to say is that the body generates lift as well. It sounds mostly like something like a blended wing body or lifting body in my opinion as a meeting point between a conventional and flying wing aircraft. In any case, the term FFA seems very uncommon and not widely used.

SF-1 http://www.aerosports.gr/images/photos_gallery/archonSF1/4.jpg

The closest similar thing I've found was this aircraft. The F-22 Raptor which it seems to closely mimic is not considered a flying wing nor a blended wing body, and after looking at the fuselage I remained a little unconvinced that it generates substantial lift as a body due to the substantial upper structure and lower structure.

  • This sounds very enthusiastic but some factual evidence would be great to support the (rather optimistic ) claims. Mind you, seems like a fun machine! – yankeekilo Feb 16 '14 at 13:03
  • The key seems to be "In the flying fuselage aircraft the extra lift is generated from the interior of the fuselage and from the whole aircraft in and out." - it basically implies that the whole thing is a sort of ducted fan / ducted airfoil. – egid Feb 16 '14 at 18:08
  • indeed, ducted fun makes more sense. – menjaraz Feb 17 '14 at 3:25
  • @menjaraz Yes, the front picture shows two very large ducts on the sides of the fuselage. Makes me wonder about the drag... – Ville Niemi Oct 18 '15 at 6:48

"Flying Fuselage" is kind of a buzzword for this aircraft, as far as I know. Normally they're called Lifting Body aircraft. The point is to make the fuselage generate lift by shaping it somewhat like a wing. The ones on the wiki page generate 75% or more of their lift with the fuselage alone, but they don't have to; for example, the Piaggio Avanti's fuselage generates a good bit of lift, allowing its wings to be shorter. An example on the extreme opposite side would be the Apollo crew capsules. If necessary, they could be angled in such a way that the capsule produced lift while it flew through the extreme upper atmosphere. This allowed them to adjust their re-entry trajectory without having to carry fuel or wings.

  • I'm afraid, it has nothing to do with lifting body aircraft. I know of the Facetmobile (powered with a rotax 503) and i am firmly convinced that a lifting body ultralight should look alike – menjaraz Feb 16 '14 at 10:36

Here's a successful flying or lifting fuselage design. http://www.burnelliaircraft.com/ . The 8 or 9 planes built from 1921 to 1945 out performed every other tube and wing design of similar size and power in that era. A new airliner design is now possible with current composites. This design would have many advantages even over the Boeing/NASA BWB. Decrease costs and increased fuel economy equal airfare savings. Decreased take off and landing speeds equal more safety and less wear on the air frame. Using the proper design, increased cruise speeds with little drag penalty equal faster travel at lower cost. Engines at the back of the airfoil body virtually eliminate engine bird strikes. Check out the proof of concept RC at http://www.burnelliaircraft.com/wp/blog . I'm workin' on it.

  • 1
    Hello Burnelli Support, welcome to Aviation.SE. Can you please improve your answer. Currently I see a lot of unsupported claims and it reads like a marketing text. – DeltaLima Oct 17 '15 at 21:20
  • To answer DeltaLima. Most answers to the claims made are in this statement from Gen. Henry "Hap" Arnold in a Sept. 19, 1939 report on Burnelli's design. Read the seven advantages listed from the report here... aircrash.org/burnelli/arnold.htm . As with any statement, one can choose to believe or not believe this report. I've seen NACA wind tunnel tests on the Burnelli design. If one chooses not to believe it, then design this plane, test it and prove these results as untrue. NACA has already done this. I chose to believe them. 1st part of answer. – Burnelli Support Apr 1 '16 at 17:51
  • To answer DeltaLima. Other answers to induced drag concerns and advantages of this design can be found here... meridian-int-res.com/Aeronautics/Burnelli.htm . Opinion of NASA aeronautical engineer... Uses the phrase "strikingly similar" when comparing Burnelli's early 60's SST design to NASA's X-43B hypersonic design. www.meridian-int-res.com/Aeronautics/Burnelli_AIAA.pdf 2nd part of answer. – Burnelli Support Apr 1 '16 at 17:56
  • To answer DeltaLima. Composite for construction proven at NASA, Langley this year. Look up PRSEUS Composite and PRSEUS Update. Without all the curves of the BWB/HWB, the Burnelli design is obviously cheaper to construct. The flat side also have advantages (ref meridian link above). The design is also much more stable making all the extra control surfaces and exotic computer software unnecessary. More savings in weight, complexity and cost. 3rd part of answer. – Burnelli Support Apr 1 '16 at 17:58
  • To answer DeltaLima. The supercritical wing has higher lift and will take off at lower speeds yet travel to higher transonic speeds with significantly reduced drag. The body is an airfoil, so make it a supercritical airfoil. Elimination of engine bird strikes is a given with the mass of the airfoil body removing birds from the path of the engines. Sorry for the short novel but these are the answers to the question. – Burnelli Support Apr 1 '16 at 17:59

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