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US Army XV-8A Flexible Wing Aerial Utility Vehicle (FLEEP)

The XV-8A was a delta-shaped, fabric Rogallo wing with inflatable leading edge, attached to a podlike cockpit on a tri-gear platform; V-tail. It folded into a relatively small package for transport. It was nicknamed "Fleep," short for "Flying Jeep." A full scale of XV-8A Fleep prototype, a flexible wing aircraft built by Ryan, was flown in NASA Langley Research Center's Full Scale Tunnel.

The XV-8A aircraft (designated FLEEP) resulted from Ryan Aeronautical Company design studies of the application of the Rogallo flexible-wing concept to a manned aircraft. This aircraft is an improved version of the origional Ryan flexible-wing manned test vehicle. The aircraft was designed as a single-place, lightweight utility vehicle, capableof carrying a 1000-pound payload and having short-field take-off and landing characteristics.

The US Army Precision Drop Glider was designed and constructed by the Ryan Aeronautical Co. This cargo delivery system was designed for a payload of 300 pounds which is contained in a rectangular box attached to the bottom of the wing control platform. Four riser straps are attached to the sides of the control platform and the suspension lines from the wing are attached to the risers.

The wing had 6-inch-diameter inflated-tube leading edges and keel, which are 22 feet long_ and a cloth lifting surface. Air for inflating the leading edges and keel is supplied by a high-pressure storage bottle in the rear of the keel. Directional control is achieved by pulling on the suspension line on either wing tip and is actuated by a motor in the control platform. The control system was designed for steering by radio command from a ground or air controller, or by an automatic homing system that seeks a radio beacon located on the ground in the target drop area.

The wing is folded in a compact package similar to a parachute pack and was located in the control platform before deployment. The cargo box and packaged wing are discharged from an aircraft3 and wing deployment is initiated by a static line. Deployment loads are attenuated by use of an initial parachutelike phase. After the tubes have been inflated the reefing lines are cut, and the wing completes deployment and then makes a transition from vertical flight to gliding flight.

This program was successful in demonstrating the feasibility of aerial delivery of cargo by means of a deployable parawing. It was anticipated that development of this use for a parawing would continue and additional controls can be included to provide flare capability for reduction of landing speeds.

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Page last modified: 30-03-2012 18:45:21 ZULU