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Why This Web Site?

Hummingbird History
What is Excluded?
Copyrights & Patents

Hummingbird History

Hummingbird began as a seed of an idea back in 1984. I had attended Oshkosh the year before and witnessed a paradox: While most airshow aircraft emphasized brute force to achieve vertical performance (noisy, smoky, macho machines), Duane Cole flew his Taylorcraft to classical music, down low and in close, like a ballet—tranquil beauty and artistry. Wouldn’t it be possible, I wondered, to blend the power and performance of the “superships” with the delicacy and grace of the Taylorcraft?

Soon after, I was reading a technical book about ducted fans which established that—despite what other limitations they may have—a suitably designed ducted fan can produce considerably more static thrust than a free propeller of the same diameter. The thought arose: would it be possible to configure an aerobatic airplane to use a large ducted fan? Perhaps produce enough static thrust to hover?

During the ensuing 11 years I pursued the idea in fits and starts, many times writing it off as unworkable. But always the configuration would return to my mind as a new possibility and inspire a deeper insight. Over the years, the concept grew and matured.

In 1995 my partner, Selina Simon, encouraged me to devote a concentrated time to the aircraft’s conceptual development. Hummingbird transformed from just an interesting idea into a real research problem, which I have been intensely engaged in ever since.

This website is to freely share my thinking with others for the sake of aeronautical progress, in the hope that such sharing may stimulate development and help attract the resources to build a Hummingbird prototype.

What is excluded?

In this Web site you will find a synopsis of my work on the Hummingbird concept during the past 14 years, with the exception of many details, such as:

a. Results of quantitative analyses.
b. Airfoil and propeller geometries.
c. Propeller structures and pitch actuation systems.
d. Control system details.
e. etc. etc. etc.

These details are not considered to be basic to the concept, but peculiar to this particular example.

If you develop an airplane independently based on this information, I wish you luck and God-speed. It wouldn’t hurt to have at least two independent examples of the configuration flying and competing to accelerate refinement of the concept and to hasten acceptance from the aerobatics community.

Copyrights & Patents

While several features of the Hummingbird Configuration are patentable, I have made no attempt to protect these published ideas in such a way. Design documentation has been secure-filed for more than 10 years, however, meaning that others cannot patent these ideas and the design is protected by copyright law. Further, patent applications are being filed for various unpublished details involving propellers, control systems, and other key components.

In summary: While the general details of the Hummingbird concept are in the public domain, some details are proprietary and my specific Hummingbird design is copyrighted. Thus, if you plan to develop your own Hummingbird, be careful to make your airplane different enough that you are not violating my copyright.

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© Copyright 1992-2009 Philip Carter