FANWING - The Fixed-Wing Contender in the Rotorcraft Segment

Published: 10 Jan 2011

FanWing is a relatively new concept of aircraft design and propulsion technology that was designed by Pat Peebles in UK and is patented and marketed globally by FanWing Ltd. The concept is built around spinning lateral rotors that generate lift and thrust at the same time. The rotors have a cross-flow plan that covers the span of the wing and pulls the air in across the front of the wing and blows it out the back across the wing's trailing edge at very high speed. Provided that the number and power of engines that run the lateral rotors is appropriate to the size of the platform, FanWing aircraft should have a very high lift and thrust, and therefore stability at very low speeds. FanWing concept is fully scalable and can be used both for smaller unmanned platforms and for large manned or unmanned ones.

Its design gives FanWing two key features: the ability to take off from very short unprepared runways (10-100m depending on the size of the aircraft); and its ability to fly very slowly. The latter can be viewed as both a distinct advantage but it can also be a constraint depending on the type of mission that the FanWing type aircraft would be used for.

Frost & Sullivan has worked on a number of studies on current and future applications for civilian UAS and has tried to estimate the future market size of this emerging segment. According to the study that Frost & Sullivan prepared for the European Commission in 2008, the annual demand for civil UAS in Europe will vary stand at 60-100 units per year in the period 2015-2020. Government (Law Enforcement and Border Security) segment and Fire Fighting segment will jointly account for over two thirds of this demand with the remainder distributed between Energy, Earth Observation, Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and Communication segments.

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