AlexanderLippisch Aerodyne
Limited edition Sharkit ; 1/72 scale. Priceeur40
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Alexander Lippisch was born in Munich, Germanyin 1894. Developing an affinity for delta-winged aircraft, he designeda series of innoative gliders during the 1930s, his concepts ultimatelyresulting in World War II's rocket-powered ME163 "Komet" interceptor.In 1950, Lippisch joined the American Collins Radio Co. where he investigatedthe feasibility of building a high-performance Vertical Take-Off and Landing(VTOL) aircraft. The "Aerodyne" was the most interesting of hisconcepts: Theoretically, it would be able to outpace most conventionalaircraft with the same weight/power ratio, it would be able to achievesuper-sonic speed, and it didn't have the operational disadvantages ofsuch "tail-sitters" as the Convair XFY-1 "Pogo," Lockheed'sXFV-1 "Salmon," or the Ryan X-13 "Vertijet."
The Aerodyne's lift and propulsion wereto be generated by two co-axial shrouded propellers, the slipstream fromwhich would be deflected downward by "flaps" for vertical take-offand landing. Control was to be achieved by deflecting part of the slipstreamemerging from the end of the tail boom, and by flaps in the propeller slipstream.
Lippisch's fundamental equations surviveon paper, and this Sharkit represents one of the many models built forresearch purposes. Despite the drawn cokpit, only unmanned craft were builtand tested.
The Aerodyne configuration was ultimatelyvalidated by the Dornier aerodyne "E1," a high-speed VTOL dronedeveloped between 1968 and 1971, and succesfully fight-tested in 1972.Hovering flight tests showed extremely smoth attitude stabilization andminimal ground-effects.
And, of course, the McDonnell-Douglas HarrierJump Jet, developed in the 1970s and still in operation today, employsmany of Lippisch's VTOL principles.

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