Sunday, October 11, 2009

Mystery Mono at China Lake

Sometimes it pays to repeat a search from time to time.
Previously, when I Googled Monocopter I'd get some of the
usual scattering of model vidclips and discussion, and a whole
lot of that Euro turbofan jetpak, which may be mono, but
aint no copter.  This time around the photo below popped
out at me.  Quite a find.
It was at the China Lake Alumni website, in the photo gallery
page for 1963. China Lake is home to the US Navy weapons
test facilities.  The site search engine, unfortunately, yielded
no other photos or info. I kept the original file name on the pic;
Monocopter perch 16AUG63 CLK SL-027985

I am able to infer a few things from the pic. Foremost is that 
the protuberance on the far side of the hub is not the same as
the wing on this side, so I believe this really is a monocopter.  
The wing is mounted to the hub at the center of lift, therefore  
is probably capable of changing pitch in flight, likely in response
to control inputs to the elevon at the wingtip. If the hub isn't
made from actual truck hubcaps I'll be surprised as hell.   If it's
heavy enough the disk hub will stabilize a rotor despite the lack
of a proper flybar.  I had already designed a monocopter using
a ring shaped hub, although the ring on mine is proportionately
larger in relation to the wing since it'll have no extra internal mass.

Two things are puzzling.
Obviously; what is the powerplant?
The other is the source of the 1/2 round shadow directly below
the hub? You can see that the sun is to the left and the shadows
are stretching to the right, therefore the hub's actual shadow is
to the right as well.

If anyone knows ANYTHING further, PLEASE comment!

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