French micro plane fast forwards to hover

High-concept MAV takes off with fixed wings and counter-rotating propellers, allowing it to operate with high aerodynamic efficiency--even in adverse conditions, according to its creator.


It may look like something your kids brought home from shop class, but this rugged, French-designed micro air vehicle (MAV) could be a missing link between smooth, steady hover and fast, forward flight.

The inventor, Dr. Jean-Marc Moschetta, professor of aerodynamics at the Institut Superieur de l'Aeronautique et de l'espace in Toulouse, France, created what he calls the MAVion with both commercial and military markets in mind.

A mere 30 centimeters long, the MAVion combines fixed wings with two counter rotating propellers, allowing it to operate with high aerodynamic efficiency--even in adverse conditions, according to the professor.

"The ultimate goal of the MAVion concept is to demonstrate a twofold capability using the same vehicle: fast forward flight and hover flight," Moschetta explained. "The two counter-rotating tandem propellers provide a simple means to enhance yaw control, which is particularly important in vertical flight."

"The global vision for developing the bimotor MAVion is to provide a fixed-wing aircraft that can be easily upgraded for hover, but also for rolling on the ground or along walls by adding wheels on either side," he said.

The project, funded by the European Office of Aerospace Research and Development in London and the French military, took top honors at the International Micro Air Vehicle Flight Competition held in Pensacola, Fla., this year.

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    The military establishment's ever increasing reliance on technology and whiz-bang gadgetry impacts us as consumers, investors, taxpayers and ultimately as the defended. Our mission here is to bring some of these products and concepts to your attention based on carefully selected criteria such as importance to national security, originality, collateral damage to the treasury and adaptability to yard maintenance-but not necessarily in that order. E-mail him at Disclosure.


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