Design of HALE aircraft using inflatable wings

Jamey D. Jacob, Suzanne W. Smith

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Inflatable wings are examined for use in high altitude long endurance (HALE) aircraft. Due to the unique requirements for HALE flight such as high aspect ratio and and unconventional airfoil profiles due to the low density and high aerodynamic efficiency, this places significant constraints on inflatable wing designs for use in such vehicles. Since inflatable wings achieve their structural stiffness from inflation pressure, the high bending loads experienced at the root of high aspect ratio wings must be supported by either extremely high inflation pressures, mechanical means, or some combination thereof. Different inflatable designs result in different load carrying capabilities that are matched with the aerodynamic loads encountered by extremely high aspect ratio vehicles. This paper discusses the design considerations and requirements of inflatable wings under such restrictions for use in HALE applications.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit
StatePublished - 2008

Publication series

Name46th AIAA Aerospace Sciences Meeting and Exhibit

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering


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