Any research on the CCW by Robert J Englar at Georgia Tech from the 60's into the 2000's. Many papers have confirmed Englar's work and in many cases, advanced it. This research has proven extreme lift for slower, safer airliner take-off and landing as well as reduced weight, noise and drag.
https://smartech.gatech.edu/bitstream/handle/1853/14123/naqvi_messam_a_200612_phd.pdf This paper covers much for the practical use of a CCW but also references Englar's basic idea as well as posting several references to Englar's research. These can also be covered to help answer my question.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Reminder: The answer box is for answers. The comments box is to seek clarification on the question. $\endgroup$
    – Jamiec
    Nov 18, 2020 at 11:11
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ I feel that this question is incomplete without some mention of safety. Do all these circulation control systems require mechanical intervention, in the form of sucking or blowing along the span of the wing? If so, would a failure of these systems likely lead to an immediate, and possibly asymmetric, stall? $\endgroup$
    – sdenham
    Nov 18, 2020 at 14:00

1 Answer 1


Circulation may be controlled via either air blown through spanwise slots or horizontal-axis rotors, alone or in combination.

Experiments on wing systems go back at least as far as 1902 and since then almost every variation imaginable has been tried.

The problems come in the engineering implementation. Where investigations have reached the stage of flight testing, and in many cases sooner than that, the conclusion is always the same. Either you have a system of large air ducts threading through the wing structure and weakening it, or you have a spinning rotor to support along the span of the wing. Either way, the wing must be strengthened and that means more weight. Both approaches require a supplementary power source, more weight again. The mechanical complexity compromises development time, manufacturing and maintenance costs, and reliability. The thing may work, but the downsides of the weight and complexity are greater than the benefits; the technology is not cost-effective.

So I am not sure what evidence base there might be for claims of actual weight reduction.

If you really want super-slow flight technology, get a helicopter with VTOL thrown in for free or, if you are rich and desperate for somewhat higher speeds, a V-22 Osprey.

Who knows, the balance may change as technology advances, stranger things have happened.


You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .