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Vertical Lift Consortium

FVL JMR RFF meeting

Tiltplane Presentation
by John Lawrence
December 7, 2010


Lockheed Martin

Missiles & Fire Control 5600 Sand Lake Rd. Orlando, Florida 32819

Proof Of ConceptFig. 6.   Hover Mode

All rotor blades are lifting when hovering.The CG is between the rotors so that the craft can accelerate side-ways without first tilting in the direction it is going.

Horizontal Flight

Fig. 7. Horizontal Flight

In a snapshot in time all the lift is from the horizontal rotors. The forward propulsion force is obtained by commanding more lift from the down-going rotor blades than from the up-going rotor blades. High performance servo motor drives are recommended to control the pitch angles of the rotor blades.

Fig. 8.Transition Flight

In a snapshot in time the two forward-going rotor blades must provide the primary lift.

Taking off and Landing

Fig. 9. Taking-off and Landing

The fuselage is oriented close to vertical when the craft is flying slowly, but it tilts as the speed builds until it is horizontal when the craft is up to speed. The nose is pulled up and the process is reversed when landing.

Horizontal Land

Fig. 10. Horizontal Flight

With 380 HP the craft is capable of 280 MPH at sea level with rotors extended and 340 MPH at 6000 ft. with rotors retracted.


Fig. 11. Landed

Toe-holes and hand grips would be provided. A ladder to the ground is barely visible.


 Press Release  


by John Lawrence

Abstract - This paper introduces a design for a very simple dual-rotor VTOL aircraft. It is a “tail-sitter” which takes off with its fuselage oriented vertically but cruises with its fuselage oriented horizontally. It is fully supported by only its rotor blades in all its flight modes: hover, transition and cruise. The transition between hover and cruise is discussed at length; transition can be accomplished in level flight with an amount of power similar to what is needed for the hover and cruise modes. This novel design offers higher cruising speeds for a given power and weight than most fixed-wing aircraft, very low noise generated when cruising, power loadings and rotor disc loadings typical of most helicopters, and an excellent lateral maneuvering capability when hovering. It promises dramatic improvements in performance for manned and unmanned aircraft. Many diverse applications are possible ranging from small songbird-size unmanned aircraft to large manned aircraft carrying a dozen people at over 400 MPH.

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Horizontal Flight

For a long time there has been a great deal of interest in finding an aircraft configuration which can take off and land vertically and also offer efficient high-speed cruise performance – and a surprising number of different VTOL concepts do exist.

This paper describes a simple and promising VTOL concept which heretofore has been mentioned only once, and very briefly, in published literature. (Ref. 1) It offers both vertical takeoff and a very high speed flight capability which can meet a number of existing needs. A small prototype model three feet long has been designed for flight testing and studies have been made to evaluate the basic aircraft’s capabilities and anticipate possible applications.

This paper reviews past work and suggests some applications for this new “tiltplane” that seem appropriate. More detailed studies need to be done to confirm previous assessments and to evaluate this flight concept in depth for specific applications. If the results of these studies are promising, then the next step would be to build and test an unmanned prototype.

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1) Unmanned and armed escorts for V-22s. These could have a top speed of 340 Knots and fly ahead of V-22s, allowing V-22s to be used more widely than they are at the present time. One challenge would be to provide on-board fuel capacity sufficient for a 6 to 7 hour mission using gas turbine power.

2) Unmanned and lightly armed scouts for Coast Guard vessels. Helicopters cannot land on the smaller Coast Guard vessels, but small tiltplanes with rotors 8 feet in diameter can. With a search speed of 300 Knots these small craft could dramatically speed up search and rescue efforts. When people at sea are located it could drop a collapsed life raft and emergency supplies. The tiltplane pilot would fly the craft from the hosting Coast Guard vessel.

3) Manned and lightly armed rescue craft for the Coast Guard. Two pilots would fly this larger craft from a cockpit forward of the first rotor giving them excellent visibility. A sphere in the center of the craft would carry perhaps six passengers. The pilot's seats and the sphere in the craft's center would remain upright when the orientation of the tiltplane's fuselage changes. To pick up people on the water surface the craft would hover and open its landing gear. Then a cable-supported basket about three feet in diameter would be used to move people between the water surface and the center sphere. With a cruising speed of 300 or 400 Knots this craft would be able to rescue people and return them to safety very quickly. These proposed rescue craft would operate from the larger Coast Guard vessels and from ports.

Your responses are appreciated. Please send your emails to

John M. Lawrence 727-785-2993 










A Breakthrough VTOL Concept – A Green Machine

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A patent was applied for internationally on Feb. 28, 2008 which should have a far reaching impact on powered flight. A VTOL (Vertical Take Off and Landing) aircraft concept has been found which promises more efficient cruise performance than in fixed-wing aircraft.

The inventor, John M. Lawrence of Palm Harbor, Florida points out that the basic limitation of a helicopter is that when it is advancing at high speed the rotor blade tips become transonic and the retreating blades operate in stall or near stall. The basic limitation of a fixed-wing aircraft is that the rather large wing area needed for a low speed takeoff is a liability at high cruise speeds because it produces aerodynamic drag. Lawrence says that the new concept he has found has neither of these limitations.

The new rotorcraft has two counter- rotating rotors which implement cyclic and collective pitch. The rotor blades are rigidly mounted in their hubs and are movable in pitch (feathering) only. Each rotor blade has its own fast-response servo drive so the pitch angle of each rotor blade can be adjusted quickly by the on-board computer to produce whatever lift is needed from the rotor blade.

The craft takes off vertically, flies nose- high as it develops horizontal flight speed, and gradually noses over into horizontal flight. To land, it reverses the process: it slows, pulls its nose up and flies nose-high slowing further until arriving at its destination hovering in a vertical orientation.

The total rotor blade area can be made significantly less than the wing area of a fixed-wind aircraft because the airspeed of the rotor blades when hovering can be made much higher than the take-off speed of a typical airplane. Because of this the "wing area" of the rotor blades can be significantly less than the wing area of a fixed-wing airplane. The airspeed of the rotor blades when flying horizontally is only 5% to 10% higher than the craft's speed. The result is that this new aircraft has less aerodynamic drag when cruising than an eqivalent fixed-wing airplane. This advantage can be used to obtain a higher cruising speed or to reduce the fuel consuption.

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January 20, 2010

A presentation was given by Lawrence Engineering at the AHS Specialist' Meeting on Aeromechanics in San Francisco introducing a new concept for a VTOL aircraft. Most of the pictures used in the presentation are shown below. The paper itself may be viewed starting in the center column.