|IAR 111 and Haas 2 rocket|
|Role||Supersonic mothership aircraft|
IAR 111 "Excelsior" is a supersonic mothership project, designed by ARCA, intended to transport a rocket payload up to 18,000 m and for developing space tourism related technologies. The aircraft is to be constructed almost entirely from composite materials, and will be designed for take-off and landing from the sea surface. The first flight is scheduled for 2013.
The design of the aircraft started before the successful launch of the Helen 2 rocket. ARCA kept work on the project secret and decided to reveal it to the public in a press conference that took place at BRD headquarters in Bucharest on December 2010. The initial name of the aircraft was E-111. In March 2011 ARCA received approval from IAR S.A. Brasov to use its initials on the aircraft, so E-111 was officially renamed IAR-111. Work on the fuselage moulds started in early 2011 and was completed in September. The cockpit structure was completed in July. It is detachable from the rest of the aircraft and it will be equipped with two rocket propelled parachutes (main and back-up) as a safety system. Also in September the CFD simulations for the aircraft were completed. On September 29, 2011 a successful cockpit drop-test was carried out. A Mi-17 helicopter dropped the cockpit from 700m to test the parachute recovery system.
In December 2011, the first two sections of the aircraft fuselage were completed and preliminary assembled.
IAR-111 is designed to take-off and land on the sea surface. ARCA decided to use this approach to eliminate the need for a landing gear and thus reduce the cost of the aircraft. Another factor that went into the decision was the fact that Romania has no unpopulated areas above which to safely test the aircraft to high altitude flights.
The aircraft has diamond-shaped wings to reduce weight, and drag at high speeds; "V" tails were chosen to avoid contact with the water on take-off and landing. It has two floats and the payload is located between them, acting as a third float. The payload will be either the Haas 2 rocket or an external fuel tank.
For aerodynamic surface control it will use a hydraulic system controlled by fly-by-wire from the cockpit. The aircraft will be powered by the new Executor liquid-fuelled rocket engine, under construction at ARCA, which will use kerosene as fuel and liquid oxygen as oxidiser.
The cockpit walls and windows are very thick, able to withstand a fuel engine explosion.[clarification needed] Additionally, the cockpit is detachable and is equipped with two rocket propelled parachutes (main and back-up). The aircraft will have an anti-stall smaller parachute and a very large recovery parachute.
Mission 6 tested the safety systems with a drop test from 700m. One of the parachutes was opened to test the explosive bolts. The test was a success and the cabin was recovered in good health.
The specifications released to date are approximate design goals, and include:
- Crew: two, in tandem
- Length: 25 m
- Wingspan: 14 m
- Height: 5 m
- Wing area: 100 m²
- Empty: 8000 kg
- Loaded: 18000 kg
- Maximum takeoff: 23000 kg
- Power-plant: Executor rocket engine (240 kN) thrust.
- Maximum speed: Mach 2.6 (2,000 mph; 3,200 km/h)
- Rate of climb: 250 m/s
- "IAR 111 aircraft page on ARCA website". ARCA. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
- "How the first Romanian supersonic plane looks like". Gandul. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
- "The capsule of the first Romanian supersonic plane successfully tested" (in Romanian). Adevarul. Retrieved 2012-03-18.
- "First Romanian supersonic plane near completion". Mediafax. Retrieved 2012-03-18.