Airbus granted patent for double-fuselage turboprop design
Published: July 5, 2012
Airbus patent. Image credit; uspto.gov
Airbus confirmed to ATW it has been granted a US patent for a high-capacity, dual-fuselage turboprop-powered aircraft design, featuring two sets of wings.
“Airbus engineers file patents for their novel ideas all the time,” an Airbus spokesperson told ATW. “There are more than 500 Airbus patents filed each year.”
The design incorporates two parallel fuselages with a front lower wing supporting the front lower parts of the fuselages and a rear upper wing that is supported by the rear upper parts of the fuselages. The symmetric external parts of the front lower wing will have a sweep forward, and the lift generated by the rear upper wing would be greater than the lift generated by the front lower wing, the patent states. The design uses one turboprop engine having “at least” one propeller, carried by the internal part of the rear upper wing, with the axis of the propulsion system lying on the longitudinal mid-plane. The propeller is a tractor propeller positioned in front of the rear upper wing.
“An aircraft such as this has the advantage of having a structure that is particularly robust because it is able to withstand bending moments,” the patent states. “By contrast, the aerodynamic effect that the front lower wing has on the rear upper wing generates a great deal of induced drag … In an attempt to avoid such excessive drag, this [patent] makes provision for moving the rear upper wing up away from the fuselage by raising it up on very tall vertical struts. This then leads to a loss of flexural rigidity of the structure, to excessive vertical size and, in all probability, to the aircraft being difficult to fly because of the ensuing high position of the center of gravity.”
According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, the patent, held by Richard Wilby and assigned to Airbus, was first filed Oct. 15, 2008 and issued April 17.