Special: Horten Flying wings

Some works of the Horten brothers


I recall one of the books about ww2 on the book shelves at my parents house. It had a small section about the last attempts of the Germans to make good airplanes to reconquer the sky again. One airplane caught my attention. The Horten HIX v2. Man, what a airplane. As a kid it was a true marvel to see. About 30 years later ...it still is.


Horten HIX plastic scale model box cover by DLM.
Admid ...if you didn't know about this airplane yet,
you are impressed. Especially if you know that this is WW2 stuff!

Many sites will talk about the Horten HIX or the Gotha 229 (The firm Gotha was planning to mass produce these). I try to show here more about the lesser known Hortens. Be assured ...those are not less interesting in design.

I truely admire the work of Reimar and Walter Horten. I hope to get the sparkle of interest started within you too.

Don't like Hortens or believe in Hortens yet?

For people who are further into Hortens, here is a quote from Al Bowers (NASA engineer) to see more the advantage of a BSLD (Bell Shaped Lift Distribution) over a elliptical lift distribution:

You confirm something I have been coming to realize about the difference between elliptical And bell spanloads. 
Elliptical spanloads on swept wings are a very careful balancing act. And the balance is easy to upset in the elliptical. The CG range is tight. So the control power must be small, to prevent over controlling the aircraft. However the landing gear stability requires a certain geometry, and this amount of control is usually larger than easily achieved in most designs. The X-56A has a similar problem at rotation as the Cygnus. 
Bell spanloads are somewhat more forgiving. The CG range is s little more open. And a little more control moment is desirable with the longer wings of bell spanload aircraft. The additional moment (more leverage and more control) makes rotation somewhat easier. The PUL-10 and the H-1b are both good examples. 
Just a random thought...

Horten and Bell Shaped Lift Distribution

The Horten brothers used a different way to design their wings. All schoolbooks talk about elliptical lift distrubution. The Hortens based themselves on a old work of Prandtl. Hard to explain in easy words, so ... go see how these young inters of NASA explain it. ThIs group of interns became part of a important patent for modern aviation. It is also the story about the work of Albion Bowers, the NASA chef engineer who desinged the DragonWing for me. 
BSLD wing are "easy" to recognise. They have a non-lineair twist. But watch out. It can be that the trailing edge is straight. In that case the leading edge will be curved.

Click to get to more info about these Hortens.


HORTEN HII. This Horten was the first where they attempted to reduce the frontal area by placing the pilot in a special position. this time is was a very recumbent position. The pilot was nearly lying on his back. To give him better visibility the leading edges were made transparent. A motorised edition was made. Here i show a few of the pictures of the glider at the museum in Berlin.


HORTEN HIIIf. The first Horten glider with a proned pilot. It became a very sleek glider. The forward visibility increased a lot when compared to the HII. Some pictures of the HIIIf. The first effort by Horten to use a prone pilot. Thanks Jörg Schaden for the pictures.


HORTEN HIVa. This is probably the most known glider of the Horten brothers. It looks sweeeeet. The idea of the proned pilot was used to the max. The fuselage section where the pilot has his legs serves also as a side area to give more directional stability. There picture here is of a full scale replica, which is build in Germany. Thanks to pictures of Sascha Heuser, i am able to talk about some details of this wonderful glider.


SPECIAL: HORTEN HX. This page is really large. I "studied" the Horten Hx models for some time now. "Landing gear", steering system, the amazingly easy to make roll-pitch mixer, ... . All i know from the HXa, which flew in Argentina, to the gliders made by others using the Horten HX plans. Many, many pictures. Again a special thanks to Ronaldo Jones, who visited the museum in Argentina for me, just to take these pictures. One of my most favorite pages in my site. 


THE AUSTRALIAN HXc. In the workshop of hangglider legend Bill Moyes, Manfred Baum and Rolf Markman, build a Horten HXc based on data Manfred got from Reimar Horten. I had the opportunity to correspondent with all three. The Skype session i had with Bill Moyes about this lesser known glider is fully written down here. I hope to later add the later works on the two German builders. By the way ...Bill was surprised with the fact that i had found and solved his problem with the adverse yaw of this specific glider. My own test with my own DragonWing made me really love this sleeky, high performing footlaunchable ultralight glider.

MARK 10.The work of Rolf Markmann is lesser known. It is also inspired on the work of Horten and a project that started after the Australian HXC. The weight was a bit higher that previous projects. Rolf made also tests like they did with the HXC. He was towed behind a boat. Sadly i cannot find any reports about the flights.

DRAGONWING BY NESTOFDRAGONS. This footlaunchable hangglider would have outperformed the Swift Light and the Archeopteryx ...by far. Sadly i had to stop the project due to not enough money for the mould making. Soon i will give you all the needed data to make this composite hangglider yourself.

But ...be patient, please. Working hard on the Guide for Beginner Pilots now.


NASA PRANDTL PROJECT BY ALBION BOWERS. Proving that elliptical lift distribution is not the perfect answer is not easy. Especially if it is written in every handbook about airplane design. Now you can better understand what hard work it was for Albion Bowers to convince the rest of the world that the BSLD (bell shaped lift distribution) is better in many cases. I guide you to a video where Al explains it all and i have a collection of pictures of how they made the models.


FLYING WING DESIGNER, a tool to create your own RC model. Made by Marko Stamenovic for www.nestofdragons.net