The Cruise-Efficient Short Take Off and Landing (CESTOL) is a NASA project. There is a video here:

The configuration is a conventional fuselage at the very front of the aircraft with enormous thick section leading edge extensions. The wings outside the LEX appear to have similar aspect ratio to a 737 or A320. The aft fuselage is flattened and there is a v-tail. The engines are buried in the wings in a fashion similar to the Gloster Meteor aircraft.

How much less or more efficient would this configuration be compared to a conventional tube and wing configuration for a 737/A320 size aircraft given similar engines and materials?


1 Answer 1


Without data, it is not possible to tell if one design will be better than another. This is because it is one thing to make a concept (which this is) and entirely another thing to manufacture and operate the aircraft (like A320/737).

Actually, the design in the video is not entirely new, It is similiar to the Boeing YC 14

Boeing YC 14

developed for UASF AMST program. It is instructive to note what happened in that program.

The AMST program was initiated for developing a tactical STOL aircraft, requirements similar to the CESTOL. Even though YC 14 met the requirements, the program was scrapped for other reasons and the C17 was developed from another contender in AMST program, the YC15.

Even during development fo the YC14, the drag was more than expected and Boeing struggled to bring it under control.

However, I doubt the design as shown is ever going to be made into an actual aircraft. There are too many problems at first glance

  1. The wing seems to pass right through the fuselage. This is not going to work in a transport aircraft.
  2. The location of the engines suggest that the main spar will pass right through it. This will have strength implications.
  3. In case the aircraft is used for STOL operations, the rear fuselage design should be redesigned for preventing tail strike as the landing gear in all probability will be shorter.
  4. Putting the engine inside wing is not a great idea as it increases complexity and chances of catastrophic wing failure.

There are a number of similar programs for developing efficient STOL aircraft, none of which have come into fruition. It is going to to be the economics of the operation from small airports, rather than the aircraft itself, which will decide if these designs will ever see the light of day, let alone operate in commercial routes.

  • $\begingroup$ If the design has so many issues, why was it released by NASA? Shouldn't they be trying to provide quality designs that might prove useful? $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2015 at 4:43
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ They have not released anything. It is just a concept. As part of its research, NASA releases a number of concept aircraft, which are rarely made. Usually, the aircraft manufacturers just incorporate some useful technologies from these concepts (like supercritical airfoil etc.) $\endgroup$
    – aeroalias
    Aug 16, 2015 at 4:49
  • $\begingroup$ Besides, small-airport operating economics favor fuel-efficient turboprops anyway -- aircraft like the DHC-6 are simply too good on that front to pass up just because some people have this vague notion of "jets good, props baaad" $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2015 at 16:43
  • $\begingroup$ Another thing to note is that the basic concept of the YC14 is practical -- the Antonov An-72 uses that layout as well to good effect. $\endgroup$ Aug 16, 2015 at 19:56
  • $\begingroup$ @BrinnBelyea NASA’s mission is research, not producing commercially useful designs. Sometimes it is interesting to see if a certain idea is as bad as you think it would be, because sometimes we’re wrong and learn a lot from that. $\endgroup$
    – StephenS
    Jul 3, 2021 at 19:59

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