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Fan wing remote controlled development model - image c 2007
Two-seat light sport class technology demonstrator - image c 2012.

FanWing or fan wing is a new concept for a type of STOL aircraft. It is distinct from existing types of aircraft like airplanes and helicopters in using a fixed wing with a forced airflow produced by cylindrical fan(s) mounted at the leading edge of the wing.

Its makers claim it is the first horizontal-rotored integral lift and propulsion wing in history to sustain flight.

FanWing Ltd is the name of the company created to develop the concept.


Cross-cut schematic

FanWing is a STOL aircraft that pulls the maximal airflow through both the propulsion and lifting surfaces. A cylindrical radial turbine (resembling a cylinder mower) is embedded in the wing with its axis parallel to the wing and leaving about 2/3 of the diameter exposed above the top side of the wing's length just after the leading edge. This increases the velocity of the airflow across the wing's upper surface beyond that of the forward motion of the aircraft. Consequently the wing has lift at slow speeds where a normal wing would stall.[1][2][3]

Practical trials with various remote-controlled models have proven that the concept provides a vehicle capable of controlled flight. There are however some significant differences compared with normal fixed-wing flying:

  • The throttle directly affects the pitch which means increased throttle can slow the plane down much in the same manner a helicopter flares, and if carelessly applied can force a complete mid-air stop.
  • Glide-ratio in case of power-failure is rather low (about 1:3) but if the power-line is disengaged, the fan-wing is fully capable of doing an auto-rotational landing.

FanWing, the developing company, believes the configuration is quieter, has V/STOL capabilities, stability in cross-winds combined with low to zero risk of stalls and a very low build/maintenance costs. These claims have yet to be verified with full-sized fan-wings.

Early attempts to develop a Coanda/Magnus effect airplane were discontinued because of the gyroscope effect of the rotating parts impairing airplane manoeuvrability. J Seifert: 'A review of the Magnus effect in Aeronautics'. [1]


Patrick Peebles developed the FanWing concept in 1997. He formed the FanWing Company and applied for patents on his idea in several countries where aircraft are manufactured. In July 2005 the company advertised that the first FanWing aircraft was in development in the United Kingdom. They advertised that the concept has undergone wind tunnel tests and powered model flights, and that the UK government was contributing to its further development. Recent design development has added a tail-plane which has increased the forward speed to the same as that of a helicopter.[4]


In May 2007 the developers announced a prototype version built for low speed STOL urban surveillance as a drone.[5][6]

A two-seat light sport class technology demonstrator is planned to fly publicly for the first time at the Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States in 2013.[4]

As of 2014, the EU is supporting wind tunnel tests of a 1.5 meter wing section with 783,000 euros through the German Aerospace Center and others.[7]

See also[edit]

References & notes[edit]

  1. ^ "It looks like a lawnmower, was designed in a kitchen - but it could revolutionise aviation" The Independent, 11 November 2002
  2. ^ "2004 Year In Ideas: The FanWing" The New York Times Magazine, 12 December 2004
  3. ^ "More-powerful Fanwing set to fly" Flight International Magazine, November 2004
  4. ^ a b Could FanWing go from LSA to heavy lifter?, Robert Coppinger, Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association, November 22, 2011. Accessed June 2012
  5. ^ FanWing UAV gets airborne after ground roll of only 1m Rob Coppinger, Flight International 01/05/07, Accessed August 2007.
  6. ^ FANWING - The Fixed-Wing Contender in the Rotorcraft Segment, Frost and Sullivan, 10 Jan 2011
  7. ^ Warwick, Graham. "Intermodal-container Air Cargo Concepts Attract Interest (Cargo Cult)" Aviation Week & Space Technology page 15, 25 August 2014. Accessed: 26 August 2014.

External links[edit]