Aircraft forms

December 26, 2016

Before we can start designing the aircraft, we need to decide on what sort of aircraft it’s going to be. The most popular form is the fixed-wing plane (like the one shown below), but it’s certainly not the only choice.

Fixed wing plane

Other forms include:

When deciding on the type of vehicle that we need to use, we need to consider all of our requirements, namely:


There are a couple of reasons why these may not be a good idea:

Buoyant flight (Airships)

This actually sounds pretty reasonable. Using an airship means you won’t require any vertical thrust to carry the aircraft since it relies on the principle of buoyancy to achieve lift. Atmospheric pressure exerts a force on objects that are less dense than the surrounding air, causing them to rise.

A beautiful solution, that doesn’t rely on any sort of fuel to move! Alas, there are a few downsides:

The remaining contenders

This just leaves Helicopters and Fixed Wing airplanes. While both could technically work, fixed wing airplanes are more efficient than helicopters.

Fixed wing airplanes have a lower Lift/Drag ratio (something we’ll talk about in the next post) than Helicopters.

Ladies and gents, we have a winner. We’re going ahead with a fixed wing aircraft!