Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Like gliding backwards through porridge.

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Light Aircraft Trailer

hitch _that_ to the back of your Cessna.
  (+6, -1)
(+6, -1)
  [vote for,

Well, you're all set to go on vacation, but there's no way all your luggage is going to be able to be folded up to fit the aircraft's CG requirements.

Solution ?

the Light Aircraft Trailer...

an enclosed pod with ground-adjustable wings (for static CG balancing), towed along by your Cessna; towrope-angle(s) sensor and standard basic gyro package keeps it flying smoothly.

FlyingToaster, May 10 2008

Big aircraft trailer. http://www.seeitorn...-towing-trailer.htm
[wagster, May 10 2008]

Lifting body http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lifting_body
[BunsenHoneydew, May 21 2008]

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       i likey [+].   

       you could also just tow a glider the whole way. some sort of radio/automated control could do the piloting, and allow lots of room to pile junk under the canopy.   

       use the tether as a fuel line for those extra long trips - a permanent in-flight refueling system.
TIB, May 10 2008

       How do you land it ?   

8th of 7, May 10 2008

       I like the idea, but just like a rope pulled trailer, you have to worry about the thing rear ending you. With this the situation I am worried about is decent to landing where you both decend and cut power. You turn on flaps for the plane, so I guess you could do the same for the trailer, but then landing, where I guess it needs its own linked brakes.   

       I guess it should all work, I'd just suggest a pole instead of a rope for linkage.   

       But in any case (+).
MisterQED, May 10 2008

       Enquiries will be made about the practicality of landing a light aircraft wil a manned glider in tow; but it is likely that in the UK at least, CAA rules would prohibit such a manouver.   

       Most gliders that launch on a plane tow land from free flight (the remainder crash in to trees).   

       You would have to be able to cast off your "air trailer", land yourself, then either let a sophisticated autopilot land your trailer on the grass next to the runway, or guide it down yourself via an R/C system (or maybe the tower could do it for you).   

       A nice option would be to be able to decouple P2's controls and link them to the trailer's R/C systems, along with VR goggles. Then while P1 flies the circuit, P2 could land the unmanned trailer by remote control. Nice for the guy in the right hand seat to get a landing in now and again.
8th of 7, May 10 2008

       [8th] yes to be sure landing would require a bit of work, but as long as the stall speed of the glider is less than that of the towplane, you could land with the glider still in the air; I had envisioned an "approach" button which would change the angle of the towrope that the glider tries to keep to, so that you could land the towplane without the glider immediately trying to land; that followed up with a "land" button which decreased the angle and lands the glider with partial brakes; the constant pull of the towrope would keep things lined up.
FlyingToaster, May 10 2008

       // the constant pull of the towrope would keep things lined up. //   

       Errrrrrr ....   

       Consider a 10-kt crosswind, well below the limit for most light aircraft. But the towplane will be yawing significantly on the approach, the force of the tow - unless it's attached directly under the plane's CofG, and most attach to the tailplane - will tend to straighten the yaw, causing drift. So you have to put in more and more rudder to hold on the centreline, plus as you dump speed the rudder effectiveness will diminish. The glider, without active control, will inevitably drift to leeward, a problem exacerbated by the diminished airspeed reducing the effectiveness of the control surfaces. A stalled trailer would be a disaster, as this would pull the towplane out of the sky at unrecoverably low altitude, unless you had a fast-acting explosive cutter on the cable, and even then you've got a happy half-hour dodging incoming and outgoing aircraft as you scuttle back and forth across the runway, trying to recover your stuff and the remains of the trailer.   

       FOD ? Did someone mention FOD ?   

       It's a nice idea, especially for Booze Cruising from the UK to France and back, but on consideration, the trailer has to detach and land independantly.
8th of 7, May 10 2008

       Some system, appropriately failsafe, whereby the glider, on release, deploys a parachute for landing?
david_scothern, May 10 2008

       Inspiringly dangerous.
wagster, May 10 2008

       [8th] actually I think I got most of the bases covered, generally speaking...   

       //stalled trailer//
glider designed with a much lower stall speed than the towplane; in-air emergency detachment and glider recovery-parachute are a given.

       //crosswind landing(towplane)//
good point about the reduced rudder effectiveness, but that's going to happen anyways... the hitch-sensors can tell the glider to be directly behind the towplane at all times (zero angle deviation) but response will still be sluggish.

       //crosswind landing(glider)//
well, the hitches' sensor package, consists of pitch/yaw deviation (from the towrope) on both towplane and glider. In a crosswind you could "just" land the towplane, bring the glider directly behind, then land the glider at an angle on controlled castoring wheels, then use wheels, control surfaces(, spoilers) and brakes to keep the glider directly behind and lined up with the towplane. In a serious "shouldn't be flying anyways" crosswind, just come in low, keeping the glider leeward of the runway and detach and 'chute the glider... as long as you can keep it off the runway, control shouldn't ream you out *too* much... then break off and come around again for towplane landing. § x1
FlyingToaster, May 10 2008

       If the 'plane and trailer land still connected, you're going to use up a fair bit of runway. In the absence of a convenient diagonal taxiway or cross runway, you may end up having to make a sharp turn with a 20-30 metre towrope between you and the trailer. In the absence of active steering, the trailer is probably going to try and follow across the grass.   

       Tower is going to want you off the tarmac as fast as poss so stopping to unhitch is probably not an option. You could reel in most of the towline remotely but that's going to complicate the mechanism and add weight - quite a lot of weight.   

       As to the control systems on the trailer, it could be powered by a mixture of solar cells and a wind turbine generator backed up by a small lithium ion battery.   

       The aerodynamics of the trailer are going to need to be fairly closely matched to the towplane. It would be nice to give the trailer long, thin high-lift wings, but if the cruise speed of the towplane eceeds the Vne for the trailer airfoil it could get a bit awkward. Also, when landing, the effects of flaps need to be considered.
8th of 7, May 11 2008

       I can’t decide if [FlyingToaster] is serious about this or not so I will refrain from judgment, however let me give you an idea on the landing.   

       Have a parachute that deploys as you release the towrope. If the airport will not let you “Heavy Drop” something onto their grounds you can always drop it in a field near by, or maybe even drop it off at your final destination. Might want to have an automatic chute retrieval mechanism though if you are dropping it off very far away from the airport. Don’t want the wind dragging it around and playing hide-and-go-seek with it on you.
Ozone, May 11 2008

       Y'all seem determined that I lose my luggage no matter how I fly.   

       I'd be more inclined to have the successful opening of the parachute cause the towrope to disconnect, not the other way around (and a separate towrope disconnect button in case the parachute doesn't open properly, as well).
FlyingToaster, May 11 2008

       I'd do away with the wings altogether and make the entire cargo space a lifting body configuration [link] I think this would increase your useable cargo space to deadweight ratio.
BunsenHoneydew, May 21 2008

       ooh... i'm onboard with that.
FlyingToaster, May 21 2008

       Have you considered making it toaster shaped?
Ozone, May 21 2008

       [ozone] well... luggage is already generically toaster shaped... wings could come out of the slots.
FlyingToaster, May 21 2008


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