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Anton Flettner's Rotor Aircraft
A flettner airplane or rotor airplane is an airplane that has no wings but instead uses the Magnus effect to create lift. Thus it is similar to the flettner rotor used in a rotor ship. Such airplanes were first built by Anton Flettner. Flettner airplane should not be confused with the cyclogyro, which uses a different aerodynamic effect, but has a similar configuration of rotors.
Although at least one aircraft was constructed, there was no record of them ever having flown. Recently at least one free-flying model has been built and flown.
The development of the rotor aircraft was inspired by Flettner's rotor ship. The rotor ship, the Buckau, now renamed the "Baden-Baden," successfully crossed the Atlantic Ocean on 9 May 1926, and docked in New York, where it attracted considerable attention. The image shows the prototype of the rotor aircraft in an American shipyard at Hudson, New York. At that time, corresponding developments were made in Germany already.
The development of this unusual aircraft based on research by Ludwig Prandtl at the Aerodynamic Research Institute (AVA) in Göttingen. Prandtl experimented with rotating cylinders in the wind tunnel. The cylinders created up to ten times more lift than a plane wing.
More recently, the "iCar 101" project suggests the use of flettner rotors in roadable aircraft design to combine compactness and increased lift potential.
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