The harvester-like plane

Patrick Peebles has created the FanWing, the wingless aircraft.

He replaced the wings with a tube filled with blades that rotate like a harvester or like a water wheel on a Mississippi riverboat. This year, Peebles was flying a prototype with a 10-foot span, which he introduced to the public at the Farnborough International Air Show in Britain.


Compared with a traditional airplane, the FanWing can fly at much lower speeds but with greater stability and it is safer. It can take off from a relatively small runway and cruise at the pace of a car. It is also more fuel-efficient than a helicopter.

The only real danger is if the fan blades jam and cease spinning, then, it “drops like a rock.”

The Fanwing could be used as an air taxi, ferrying people on short hops from city to city, or out to airports. Peebles is currently talking to military experts in the US and Britain about using the craft as unmanned surveillance vehicles, since they could stay aloft for eight hours on one tank of gas.

Flight video.

Via The New York Times.