Wainfan Facetmobile

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FMX-4 Facetmobile
Facetmobile.png
The FMX-4 Facetmobile in flight
Role Homebuilt Aircraft
National origin United States
Designer Barnaby Wainfan, Lynne Wainfan, Rick Dean
First flight 22 April 1993
Number built 1

The Wainfan FMX-4 Facetmobile is an American homebuilt aircraft designed by Barnaby Wainfan, a Northrop Grumman aerodynamicist and homebuilt aircraft engineer.

While only one Facetmobile prototype was produced, it has become well known due to its unique nature.[1] The aircraft is unusual in that it is a lifting body - the whole aircraft acts as a low aspect ratio wing: a flat, angular lifting shape, while lacking actual wings.[2] Also notable is that the aircraft's shape is formed of a series of 11 flat surfaces, somewhat similar to the body of the F-117 Nighthawk jet strike aircraft in using flat plates, but without separate wing structures.

Design and development[edit]

[2][3]

Shape[edit]

As noted above, the Facetmobile has an unusual configuration, but is generally similar in concept to a number of NASA research craft, particularly the Martin Marietta X-24B, however it is optimized for flight at much slower speeds.

The FMX-4 Facetmobile shape forms 11 flat planes, plus two wingtip rudders. Three flat shapes form the bottom of the aircraft (slightly inclined front, flat middle, and sharply raised back), and eight form the top (one large downwards-sloping rear section, one thin nose section, and three inclined side panels per side). The wing section is an 18% thickness ratio, much thicker than the typical 12-15% thickness of normal light aircraft wings. At least one commercial model airplane kit of the Facetmobile is in production.[4]

The prototype FMX-4 Facetmobile crashed on October 13, 1995, after an in-flight engine failure. The aircraft landed at low speed into a barbed wire fence, which caused extensive skin, engine, and some structural damage, though there was no injury to the pilot, Barnaby Wainfan.[5] As of 2006, the aircraft has been partially repaired but not flown again.

Structure[edit]

The Facetmobile structure is composed of 6061 aluminum tubing fastened with Cherrymax rivets. The fuselage uses conventional fabric covering. The aircraft uses elevons and rudders for control. The landing gear is a fixed tricycle type. The large windshield sections are augmented by two floor-mounted windows. The aircraft is boarded through a bottom-mounted hatch. The aircraft has a BRS parachute system installed.

Variants[edit]

Wainfan has proposed two derivative aircraft based on the FMX-4 Facetmobile.

Specifications (Facetmobile FMX-4)[edit]

Data from Sport Aviation

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1
  • Length: 19 ft 6 in (5.94 m)
  • Wingspan: 15 ft (4.6 m)
  • Wing area: 214 sq ft (19.9 m2)
  • Empty weight: 370 lb (168 kg)
  • Gross weight: 740 lb (336 kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 10-13 gallons
  • Powerplant: 1 × Rotax 503 DC , 50 hp (37 kW)
  • Propellers: 3-bladed GSC

Performance

  • Maximum speed: 96 kn (110 mph; 178 km/h)
  • Cruise speed: 80 kn (92 mph; 148 km/h)
  • Stall speed: 29 kn; 53 km/h (33 mph)
  • Rate of climb: 750 ft/min (3.8 m/s)
  • Wing loading: 3.45 lb/sq ft (16.8 kg/m2)

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Jack Cox (October 1994). "The Facetmobile". Sport Aviation. 
  2. ^ a b Barnaby and Lynn Wainfan's Facetmobile page, accessed Oct 24, 2006
  3. ^ Facetmobile FAQ, accessed Oct 24, 2006
  4. ^ Incredible Facetmobile, accessed Oct 24, 2006
  5. ^ Popular Science. January 2005. 
  6. ^ NASA LARC NAG-1-03054 "Feasibility Study of the Low Aspect Ratio All All-Lifting Configuration as a Low-Cost Personal Aircraft", Barnaby Wainfan and Hans Neiubert, February 2004, accessed Oct 24, 2006

External links[edit]