Stunt pilot hopes to build a vertical-winged airplane
By Ben Coxworth
January 24, 2012
Matthew Tanner is a Colorado-based air show pilot who also competes in aerobatics competitions and teaches Air Force pilots how to fly. His current stunt aircraft of choice is a Laser Z300. Much as he is able to do with the nimble little airplane, he wants to be able to perform aerial maneuvers that no one has ever seen before. In order to do so, he intends to equip the plane with a pair vertical wings.
More specifically, Tanner's plan is to remove his Z300's existing wooden horizontal wings, replace them with custom models, and then install removable vertical airfoils through the middle of each of those. Everything will be made from the same state-of-the-art carbon fiber used in the construction of the Boeing 787.
He also plans on beefing up the plane's fuselage to withstand the new structural loads that will be placed upon it, along with swapping in a more aerodynamic front cowling (the area immediately behind the propeller) and a more streamlined carbon fiber tail.
With the addition of the second set of wings, he hopes to be able to open up a whole world of new stunts. These could include the ability to perform knife-edge flight (flying with the plane on its side) indefinitely, and to perform a knife-edge aerial loop.
According to Tanner, he and his team have already consulted with structural engineers, aerospace engineers, and aerodynamic experts. The next step is to actually build and install the wings, which he figures should cost about US$75,000. He is currently in the process of raising funds on Kickstarter, with hopes of having his transformed plane in the air by the end of the year.
"We are hoping to inspire non pilots to become pilots, to show people what can be done on our three dimensional canvas - the sky, and to inspire creativity and motivate people to do great things in their lives," he states on his Kickstarter page.