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A Bizarre Fat Airplane that Changed Military Aviation Forever

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SENIOR MEMBER
Sep 18, 2012
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The early 1930s saw the most extravagant aircraft with unique shapes and sizes as part of a widely experimental phase in the aviation industry. And still, the Stipa-Caproni stood apart.

The inventive airframe designed by Italian aeronautical engineer Luigi Stipa and manufactured by the Caproni Company was in many ways like a cartoon aircraft. But it was functional!

The so-called flying barrel consisted of a mere tube for a fuselage and an engine and propeller that washed the airflow through the cylinder’s length, creating thrust.

Some experts consider the Stipa-Caproni the ugliest aircraft ever built, while others still call it an aerodynamic aberration. Still, there is reason to suggest that the bizarre concoction was the direct predecessor of the modern turbofan engine…

 

gambit

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Apr 28, 2009
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It was basically a giant 'ducted fan' contraption. And it worked.


The main advantage is to give greater directionality of airflow created by the propellers. The duct or shroud just have to be long enough to cover the blade width to begin creating that directional airflow. The main disadvantage is additional weight, minor disadvantages are increased complexity in engineering the duct or shroud. Overall, the open props design is proven too much and too long for the ducted fan to overcome.
 

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