View Full Version : UAV flying wth blown-air flight controls

3rd May 2019, 07:42
BAE Systems in the UK are flying a UAV, 4 meter wingspan, with no moving control surfaces, using blown air for flight control. It's called Magma. (They had a previous smaller one called Demon PPrune discussion here (https://www.pprune.org/military-aviation/475630-bae-pilotless-demonstrator-flies-caa-auth-d-nil-control-surface-movement.html) in the military aviation forum.)

It's produced silly mass-media headlines like Could this plane end bumpy landings? Britain trials the world's first aircraft without wing flaps (https://www.telegraph.co.uk/technology/2019/05/02/could-plane-end-bumpy-landings-britain-trials-worlds-first-aircraft/) (Daily Telegraph, story behind pay-wall after first 2 paras) although in the paper's partial defence, BAE themselves (https://www.baesystems.com/en/article/first-magma-flight-trials) and The Engineer (https://www.theengineer.co.uk/magma-uav-bae-systems-flapless/) talked about flaps in their stories. In fact it seems to be not only flapless but also aileron-less, rudder-less and elevator-less, no moving parts.

Obviously there's a long way to go, but might this technology have potential for commercial aircraft one day?

3rd May 2019, 12:05
It looks like the TO and LD are done with conventional ailerons, but then they get turned off later during the flight as the aircraft seems to be able to roll without them? The video could do with more comments...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WP40eL-xS4&feature=youtu.be (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-WP40eL-xS4&feature=youtu.be)

What happened to the <youtube> tag in PPruNe? No longer available? How do you imbed then?

3rd May 2019, 13:31
Yes, in the video you can see that on this testbed machine there are movable control surfaces, I guess so that the thing is controllable if the blown-air control turns out not to work; also so that the testers can get it off the ground without problems in order to do flight testing.

4th May 2019, 09:23
Explanation here; https://www.baesystems.com/en/article/magma-the-future-of-flight

4th May 2019, 11:44
What happened to the <youtube> tag in PPruNe? No longer available? How do you imbed then?


(no tags needed, just post the URL)

4th May 2019, 13:19
If this technology matures and true ‘control-surface-less’ aircraft are produced, what happens when the engine stops?

Both manual and FBW Systems retain control, but a System like this must need large quantities of air, more than could be stored in any form of accumulator.