Conceptual design is the first and most important phase of an aircraft’s configuration and system development process. That being said, there is no denying that innovation in aviation has stunted over the last 50 years; the once every present fascination of flying has been blanketed by the rapid profit-driven commercializing of an industry. Moreover, we have reached an apex of maximizing the efficiency of current passenger aircraft model configurations. In recent times, new research and development has culminated to the introduction of aerodynamic structures to address key issues such as stability and fuel efficiency. This research paper seeks to push the envelope of innovation with a brand new perspective on how we view air travel — redefining the Why, What and How. It explores novel concepts such as Boeing Blended Wing Body (BWB) aircraft shown in, which does not follow the conventional Tube and Wing (TAW) configuration. It is a tailless design that integrates the wing and the fuselage into a single-lifting surface. The most common advantages include a higher lift-to-drag ratio and higher payload capacity due to a distribute load along the centerline of the aircraft. On the other hand, a tailless configuration comes at a cost to in-flight maneuvering and stability.
The unique design of the Hybrid-MCX-1 aircraft involves the application of the active aero-elastic tailoring to aircraft topology optimization for both subsonic and transonic regimes. With a focus on experimental wind tunnel testing and high-fidelity simulations, this project proposes a new concept that deviates from today’s tubular and wing concept. The aircraft has a unique shape with a forward fuselage that starts off with the conventional tubular and winged aircraft design currently flown in commercial travel, but deviates to a wider cross section at the center of the fuselage. The model has self-supporting, cantilever, dihedral, swept wings, with pronounced fillets at the junction of the wing root and fuselage, blending them smoothly. This smooth transition reduce interference between airflow over the wing root and the adjacent body surface, ultimately reducing drag.
The engines of the Hybrid-MCX-1 are mounted by at 45-degree angle on the rear of the plane. This engine location offers the opportunity for swallowing the boundary layer of air from that portion of the center body upstream of the inlet, providing improved propulsive efficiency by reducing the ram drag. The Hybrid-MCX-1 also possesses a vertical tail that bisects the engines. As with current commercial aircraft, this tail provides lateral stability and controls the yaw. In the case of the BWB, yaw control is made possible by sweeping the wing and downloading the wingtips. However, this approach reduces the effective aerodynamic wingspan of the aircraft and imposes a significant induced drag penalty. The presence of a tail on the concept model addresses the aforementioned issue and rectifies unwanted yawing that may arise during cross wind flight conditions.
The rear end of the aircraft decrease significantly in vertical thickness when compared to the lateral thickness to minimize the possibility of flow separation as air passes around the wings and over the front half of the aircraft while maximizing total lifting surface area. The pylons are adequately sized to avoid aerodynamic interference between fuselage, pylon and nacelle but still relatively short to minimize drag.