The ADIFO (All-Directional Flying Object) features four ducted fans for VTOL and low-speed maneuvers, and a pair of vectored jets provide thrust and a high degree of agility in horizontal flight. (Image credit: ADIFO)
A pair of Romanian engineers, Razvan Sabie and Iosif Taposu, has designed a flying saucer of sorts, by merging a quadcopter and jet, giving the aircraft a high degree of agility and maneuverability. While the shape of the vehicle is very UFO-like, it’s inspiration comes from a more terrestrial source- the back cross-section of a dolphin’s airfoil, which (theoretically) doesn’t produce a sonic boom when entering faster than sound flight.
The engineers designed their ADIFO (All-Directional Flying Object) using four ducted fans, which are used for VTOL (Vertical Take-Off and Landing) and low-speed maneuvers. A pair of vectored jets provide the aircraft with high-speed capabilities and agility during horizontal flight, while two lateral thrust nozzles, located on both sides of the craft, allowing it to slip sideways in either direction. Combining all systems allows the ADIFO to perform ‘hypermaneuvrability’ aerial feats no conventional aircraft could reproduce.
During supersonic flight, the ducted fans on the craft can be covered and replaced by additional thrust nozzles for high-maneuverability, which act similarly to a reaction control system(RCS) found on modern spacecraft. The engineers state that the saucer shape of the ADIFO gives it a high lift/drag ratio and receives no shockwave on its surface during transonic flight. Moreover, there are no low vibrations, low heating, and low noise at high speeds. Drag is also drastically reduced, giving the craft a high fuel efficiency at both transonic and supersonic speeds.
Sabi and Taposu unveiled an all-electric 4-foot prototype ADIFO earlier this year as a proof-of-concept RC aircraft, but the pair state it has the potential to democratize supersonic flight if a full-scale manned or unmanned version is built, which offers several applications- including use as a private aircraft, UAV, UCAV, and military fighter. It will be interesting to see if the ADIFO, or something like it, is ever produced.
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