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Posted: 10/2/2007 10:40:13 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/7/2007 1:33:16 PM EST by Chokey]
Launch video
www.youtube.com/watch?v=ogYrvEEM0Ts

gizmodo.com/gadgets/star-wars/rocket+powered-21+foot-long-x+wing-model-actually-flies-305976.php

www.polecataerospace.com/X-Wing.htm



Andy Woerner and his crazy rocketeer friends have built a 21-foot long X-Wing model that can actually fly. Yes, this is a real X-Wing powered by four solid-fuel rocket engines complete with radio-controlled moving wings. It blasts off in California next week, and we talked with Andy about the project, and how they expect it will do. All the details and a full construction gallery after the jump.


The X-Wing model is huge. At 21 feet long and with a wingspan of over 19 feet it is, in fact, big enough to fly a kid in. However, knowing that it will be powered by solid-fuel rockets, they wouldn't put a kid, dog, monkey or Gizmodo editor inside, even if it uses three full parachutes to land.

After drawing the plans using CAD software, Andy's team and his friends at Polecat Aerospace used laser cutting to make the pieces out of Baltic Birch wood. They also used solid aluminum for some parts, like the rods which are the pivot point for the wings.

Why solid aluminum rods? For the most impressive part of the project to work, not only does the axis have to be strong enough to support the stress of the launch but also it has to allow the wings to change position from folded to open while in flight—or, in the words of Red Leader, putting them in attack position, the X that gives the Rebel aircraft its name.

The wings, including the root sections and the outer panels are about 8' long and weigh 60 pounds a piece, including the motors. The motion mechanism had to be able to move all four of these simultaneously, while keeping them in position relative to each other. Additionally, the motion hardware had to be strong enough to keep the wings in position once they were at the extents of their travel.

They used an electric motor from a RC helicopter, reducing its 40,000 revolutions per minute to generate enough torque to move those massive wings. Still, the wings will take 35 seconds to travel from open to closed. Hopefully, they will be able to change before the flight ends, so they can get the full effect in the air.

The wings also hold the engines. Andy told us they are using "four solid rocket motors which are Class M, the kind that produce a red flame"—which as you probably know, it's also the same color of the X-Wing engines' glow.

Even with the aluminum rods, however, there's the possibility of structural damage. We asked Andy about how he expected the flight to go: "it's likely we will have a structural failure in the wings, but we are hoping it will hold."

If it holds, the X-Wing will be fully recoverable. It won't land on its own, but Andy pointed out that they "will use parachute recovery, with three man-rated chutes which will have radio control deployment," like the wings position control.

When I first learnt about the project there was one thing that didn't click for me: why the X-Wing? It doesn't seem to have the right shape to be a rocket. Maybe a better option would have been an Y-Wing or A-Wing. But an X-Wing? Well, according to Andy, "it was the one design from Star Wars that made the most sense to try to scale for rocket power." And on top of that, it just looks cool. I completely agree.

The X-Wing will launch next week, on October 10, and we can only wish the project the best of luck. Godspeed Andy and friends, godspeed. [Polecat Aerospace - Thanks Andy for your time and Anthony for the heads up]
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:41:24 AM EST
Tag for crash and burn at lift-off.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:41:37 AM EST
That is one video I will want to see.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:43:47 AM EST
starwars geeks,
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:44:20 AM EST
Anything with enough power (such as rocket or catapult power) will fly. The key would be if it would have controled flight.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:44:21 AM EST
Now if they only made a model of the U.S.S Enterprise-E that will fly...
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:45:01 AM EST
That is sweet!
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:45:11 AM EST
With rocket engines anything can fly.

Look at this model:



Is it a boat? Or a plane?

Click this and discover
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:48:39 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2007 10:49:15 AM EST by Torf]

Originally Posted By Chokey:
Maybe a better option would have been an Y-Wing or A-Wing. But an X-Wing? Well, according to Andy, "it was the one design from Star Wars that made the most sense to try to scale for rocket power." And on top of that, it just looks cool. I completely agree.



Have these people ever actually seen a Y-wing or an A-wing? Yeah, I can see that they are going to get a lot of lift from a Y-Wing. I suppose an A-Wing MIGHT be able, with modifications, to generate some body lift...

At least an X-Wing looks plausible from an aerodynamic standpoint.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:50:08 AM EST
tag
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:50:40 AM EST

Originally Posted By Codename46:
Now if they only made a model of the U.S.S Enterprise-E that will fly...


No, that would be ghey.

X-Wing = Cool
Silly Star Trek ship = ghey.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:50:43 AM EST
[Obi Wan]"These are not the nerds you're looking for..."[/Obi Wan]
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:51:07 AM EST

Originally Posted By Strider47:
Tag for crash and burn at lift-off.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:56:52 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2007 10:57:01 AM EST by Paveway_]
It's not flying, its big shoved through the air. The wings are not generating lift, and there are no control surfaces.

Lets see it do a pylon turn....


Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:57:58 AM EST
tag for video
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 10:58:24 AM EST

Originally Posted By Dragonfly228:
Anything with enough power (such as rocket or catapult power) will fly. The key would be if it would have controled flight.




"Controlled" is the key word here kids.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:01:24 AM EST

[Obi Wan]"These are not the nerds you're looking for..."[/Obi Wan]



I LOL'd
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:03:15 AM EST
WTH?!? Those guys are locals.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:04:21 AM EST

Originally Posted By triage1998:

[Obi Wan]"These are not the nerds you're looking for..."[/Obi Wan]



I LOL'd


+1..

Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:04:48 AM EST
Fuck yeah.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:04:54 AM EST
Yep, anything can "fly" with a solid fuel rocket up its ass
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:08:03 AM EST
Tag for crash report.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:10:26 AM EST
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:10:48 AM EST
[Darth] The geek is strong with this one[\Darth]
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:23:39 AM EST
If it is just a rocket, then this is probably cheaper, simpler and more reliable:
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:27:14 AM EST

Originally Posted By Torf:
If it is just a rocket, then this is probably cheaper, simpler and more reliable:
i12.ebayimg.com/01/i/000/b8/c0/048f_1.JPG


Those Estes Star Wars models were NOT well thought out.

We had a Y-wing rocket that made several slow loops at an altitude of about 25' before smashing itself into the side of my brother's van.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:28:05 AM EST
B-wing owns X-wing.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:28:42 AM EST

Originally Posted By photokirk:

Originally Posted By Torf:
If it is just a rocket, then this is probably cheaper, simpler and more reliable:
i12.ebayimg.com/01/i/000/b8/c0/048f_1.JPG


Those Estes Star Wars models were NOT well thought out.

We had a Y-wing rocket that made several slow loops at an altitude of about 25' before smashing itself into the side of my brother's van.


I dunno, that sounds a hell of a lot more exciting than any Estes rocket I ever launched.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:29:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Partisan:
Will they celebrate by getting laid?


Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:38:05 AM EST
I hope they have good liability insurance (or are illegal alien undocumented engineers and can skip across the border), cause when that thing augers into someone's McMansion it ain't gonna be pretty.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:38:42 AM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2007 11:46:17 AM EST by Phoebus]

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By Phoebus:

Originally Posted By Towely:

Originally Posted By NAKED-GUNMAN:
Bet it goes boom on the maiden flight.


I didn't read the full report but if they are using standard(but large) solid fuel engines I don't see why its any different than any other rocket... I give them a 60/40 shot of a successful launch and flight...landing on the other hand..


The article says they are using M-class motors. Back in the day I did some pretty serious amateur rocketry (my biggest was 17 feet tall, with an onboard telemetry system and camera). Ms are the largest motors I ever used. They have several sections of solid fuel stacked inside a metal tube, about three feet long if memory serves. I used an M to launch my 17 footer several times, until a combine crushed it prior to recovery on one flight

The tricky part will be ensuring simultaneous ignition of the four motors.


Beg pardon, I don't usually LOL at people's misfortunes, but the way you put that, I had no choice...


No problem, it was getting to be a hassle to fly anyway.

I had to get FAA clearance when I wanted to launch it, since I'd often break 12 thousand feet.

ETA: kind of a waste of post 6k.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:41:55 AM EST
reminds me of the one I used to fly a long long time ago.....
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:43:39 AM EST

Originally Posted By sq40:
img227.imageshack.us/img227/2491/wwiixwing9nwws1.jpg



that SOB told me he gave me all the photos/negatives that existed!!
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:45:52 AM EST

Originally Posted By Phoebus:

Originally Posted By macman37:

Originally Posted By Phoebus:

Originally Posted By Towely:

Originally Posted By NAKED-GUNMAN:
Bet it goes boom on the maiden flight.


I didn't read the full report but if they are using standard(but large) solid fuel engines I don't see why its any different than any other rocket... I give them a 60/40 shot of a successful launch and flight...landing on the other hand..


The article says they are using M-class motors. Back in the day I did some pretty serious amateur rocketry (my biggest was 17 feet tall, with an onboard telemetry system and camera). Ms are the largest motors I ever used. They have several sections of solid fuel stacked inside a metal tube, about three feet long if memory serves. I used an M to launch my 17 footer several times, until a combine crushed it prior to recovery on one flight

The tricky part will be ensuring simultaneous ignition of the four motors.


Beg pardon, I don't usually LOL at people's misfortunes, but the way you put that, I had no choice...


No problem, it was getting to be a hassle to fly anyway.

I had to get FAA clearance when I wanted to launch it, since I'd often break 12 thousand feet.


LOL 12,000 ft? Damn.

Where can I get one of those rocket engines?
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 11:46:12 AM EST

Originally Posted By Strider47:

Originally Posted By eswanson:

Originally Posted By photokirk:

Originally Posted By Torf:
If it is just a rocket, then this is probably cheaper, simpler and more reliable:
i12.ebayimg.com/01/i/000/b8/c0/048f_1.JPG


Those Estes Star Wars models were NOT well thought out.

We had a Y-wing rocket that made several slow loops at an altitude of about 25' before smashing itself into the side of my brother's van.


I dunno, that sounds a hell of a lot more exciting than any Estes rocket I ever launched.


Seriously. I'd pull up a lawn chair and some beers for those shenanigans.


+1 I used to love watching the look of anticipation turn in to a look of horror when one of my buddies rocket creations didn't fly as planned and either blew up, landed in the bed of a passing truck, or just crashed because the chute melted... Oh good times, good times...
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 12:09:10 PM EST
[Last Edit: 10/2/2007 12:09:40 PM EST by Dragonfly228]

Originally Posted By Keith-J:
But look! They actually have a WOMAN in the design team


Where?
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 12:38:55 PM EST
So are they going to launch this thing vertically or at an angle? I'll need to know to figure out how deep to dig a safety bunker.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:02:53 PM EST

Originally Posted By Partisan:
Will they celebrate by getting laid?


"Wow, two firsts in one day! This is the greatest day EVER!"
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:10:40 PM EST

Originally Posted By NAKED-GUNMAN:
And on top of that, it just looks cool

Yepper...we gots some engineers here.

Bet it goes boom on the maiden flight.

If you'd looked at the web site, you'd realize that these guys run a company that makes kits for large model rockets. This model lets them push the envelope a bit, get some publicity, and have some fun. It's a win no matter what happens.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:13:22 PM EST
In Thrust We Trust!!

That thing needs a bunch of boost to get up, and I am curious to know how the control the X-wing after the rockets flame out. I bet all the R/C does is pop the parachutes.

BIGGER_HAMMER
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:13:39 PM EST

Originally Posted By Codename46:
Now if they only made a model of the U.S.S Enterprise-E that will fly...


The phrase "as aerodynamic as a chandelier humping a platter" comes to mind.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:13:55 PM EST
I wonder why they're even messing with the opening wings. It takes 35 seconds, so it's not going to be a dramatic thing like in the movie. They should just launch it twice, once closed, once open. I also think that the moving wings are going to jack up what little aerodynamics that thing has.

It is way cool though. It would rock to have that sitting in my driveway!

I mess around with model rockets every few years. I found them to be a cheaper alternative to my old hobby of crashing RC airplanes. now that you can get them cheap at wal-mart and target, I just go buy one of the little pre-build AA models and launch kit, pick up a few extra engines, go spend a couple hours in a field, and I'm good for another few years.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:15:10 PM EST
anyone who tags this thread is a loser.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:16:36 PM EST
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:23:31 PM EST

Originally Posted By Keith_J:

Originally Posted By Partisan:
Will they celebrate by getting laid?


Good one.

But look! They actually have a WOMAN in the design team!gizmodo.com/assets/resources/2007/10/X-Wing34.jpg

Bet she gets her pick!


And it will be the R2 unit!
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 1:45:23 PM EST
In all seriousness, I cannot see flight possible. With all that fin/wing area at the rear, it probably will be an acceptable rocket, if the CG is far forward.

Unless the wings actually move forward at apogee, the most they can do is guide its downward auger. There is very little comparative lifting body in the forward section.

Link Posted: 10/2/2007 2:15:23 PM EST

Originally Posted By Strider47:
Tag for crash and burn at lift-off.
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 3:36:46 PM EST
What if they launch it horizontally, from a treadmill, that moves in reverse as fast as...


Link Posted: 10/2/2007 3:51:10 PM EST
Looks to be not too far from full-scale (admittedly, it's been a while since I've seen the full scale model).

Which one from the picture is going to be the poor sod they're bunging in the cockpit?
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 3:54:42 PM EST
tag for later
Link Posted: 10/2/2007 4:05:12 PM EST
Geeks...


But then again at least they make something out of their fantasy.
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