Der Fachbegriff dafür ist Höllenkinematik
February 10, 2024 11:27 AM Subscribe
The AK-X (in German) is a radical experimental flying-wing sailplane being designed and built by Akaflieg Karlsruhe. A YouTube playlist documents the progress so far (and introduces some of the many students working on it), but if you want a comprehensive overview, take in this Presentation about the AK-X at our 95th Anniversary Celebration - Let's Talk about Flying Wings (also in German with good subtitles), summarising the many engineering challenges faced. For a Wikipedia-powered glossary and some background, there's
- An akaflieg is a student aeronatical engineering club found nearly exclusively at some German technical universities. While some akafliegs are dedicated to flying only, several others do some truly world-class experimental aircraft engineering, often for sailplanes. Forschen, Bauen, Fliegen (research, construction, flight) is the official motto of several akafliegs and the ethos of the century-old movement (in German).
- Sailplanes or gliders aren't the hang-gliders or paragliders known to many: they're fully rigid aircraft built for the recreational enjoyment of unpowered flight. Optimised for gliding capability and speed, the graceful, drag-minimising, broad-winged design found on most sailplanes reflects the tireless pursuit of flying efficiency: so, a natural target for an akaflieg. A high-performance modern sailplane can glide for over 50 metres without losing more than one metre of altitude.
- A flying wing (nurflügel auf Deutsch) is an aircraft form that lacks a tail or a fuselage. (By that score the AK-X might not seem a flying wing as there's a big pod where the pilot sits, but if Akaflieg Karlsruhe are calling it Der Nurflügel on their homepage then I am going with it.) There have been flying-wing gliders many decades ago (most famously the Horten H.1 through Horten H.VI plus several Northrup test articles), but the conventional planform has prevailed.