The media talked about a "flying stingray" when Prospective Concepts AG
finally unveiled its secretive technology demonstrator in May 1998.
Stingray is indeed an appropriate name for the groundbreaking
aircraft designed by this small Swiss company. The Stingray has a
revolutionary wing that derives its rigidity from compressed air.
Later versions will be filled with helium. The second radical concept
developed especially for the Stingray is a pneumatic catapult
to be placed in the aicraft's tail. The concept has been tested on
the "Kangarou," a light airplane with slow flight characteristics
similar to the Stingray's: a cylinder that extends to 5 meters catapults
the craft right into the air and accelerates it from standstill to
flying speed at 1.5 g.
The Stingray on approach for landing.
As the founder and president of Prospective Concepts Andreas Reinhard
notes, the Stingray constitues the high end in the use of pneumatic
structures. It is thus a showcase and the pionneer of a technology
which uses high strength fiber materials and air pressure as its
components. With the use of this technology, rigidity and flexibility
can be combined, a union that seemed contradictory up to now. The
Stingray was developed as a people moving concept taking
off from standstill and landing on the spot and it is a hybrid
between an airplane and an airship. According to the company, a
significantly larger successor to the Stingray is also planned. It
will derive 25 percent of its lift from helium in its wing and integrate
propulsion and the gondola into the wing. Development of the Stingray
was supported by the German pneumatic conglomerate Festo.
For more information please visit the official
Prospective Concepts website