Saturday, March 6, 2021

Cage F(l)ight

There's always a compromise in structural design between access and integrity, and few people realise that decades ago airframe designers seriously suggested airliners be built without windows... although it has taken until now for the ubiquity of screens to allow idea that is being revived for the next generation of supersonic passenger jets.

Accordingly I am likely to include windows in the above not so much for the comfort it provides as for the fact it bolsters the construction by multiplying the distribution of shear webs to prevent distortion. There's no shame in flexure in aviation and indeed wings flex considerably, whilst fuselages both bend along their length like a sausage dog and twist considerable too. At the outset though it's best to pursue a rigid outline from which you can work backwards with operational experience.

Ingress will eventually be required once this prototype is doubled up, however, and so I have designed it so that the 'bin' that you stand in is separate from the upper half of the accommodation, which effectively forms a cage around the upper torso. It's not as convenient to access as might be hoped for, though with prototypes it's an issue of 'horses for courses'.

In lots of great vehicles like Apollo moon-rockets or Avro Vulcans, access is difficult and the cockpit rarely commodious... which is as it should be.

A child of the Sixties, I don't design for the snowflake phenotype.