Aircraft Description - First Generation Prototype

Aircraft Description - First Generation Prototype

Posted 06.27.2012 in Reviews by Christopher

The Stratos was built of fiberglass and Kevlar, with a full blown Plexiglas canopy which hinged forward with a small instrument panel attached.

The tailless two-wing design is sometimes classified as a canard, although it is very different from a conventional canard. It is similar to a biplane, but with a pronounced negative stagger. The forward wings sweep back at 120 degrees to join the straight rear wing, which is mounted above the fuselage and the shrouded pusher propeller. The wings are joined in a box by vertical surfaces which contain split rudders.

The forward wing has trailing-edge elevators and ailerons. The rear wing has flaps and ailerons. The main landing gear is laid out in tandem, like a motorcycle and there are two small wheels in the wingtips that are used only when the plane is at rest or during a slow taxi. The nose wheel has an aerodynamic fairing which assists steering in flight, augmenting the split rudders. The main gear has drum brakes.


The design exhibits some unusual handling characteristics. With down elevator on the canard and lowered rear flaps, the aircraft can climb with virtually no attitude change. It can be made to descend quickly using opposed split rudders as air brakes and the rear flaps deployed. The wingtip rudders and nose wheel fairing can combine to produce flat turns with no loss of airspeed. With just a 24hp engine, the 414 gross weight Stratos can take off and land in under 300 ft. The shrouded prop reduces power loss by minimizing tip vortices. The aircraft has phenominal gliding characteristics, with a reported 20:1 glide ratio.

The pilot reclines in a semi-supine position. Control surfaces are manipulated using a center stick and conventional pedals.

A ballistic recovery parachute positioned behind the cockpit allows the aircraft an alternate descent in the event of an emergency.

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