FanWing or fan wing is a concept for a type of aircraft
An aircraft is a vehicle that is able to fly by gaining support from the air, or, in general, the atmosphere of a planet. An aircraft counters the force of gravity by using either static lift or by using the dynamic lift of an airfoil, or in a few cases the downward thrust from jet engines.Although...

. It is distinct from existing types of aircraft like airplanes and helicopters in using a fixed wing with a forced airflow produced by cylindrical fan(s) mounted at the leading edge of the wing
A wing is an appendage with a surface that produces lift for flight or propulsion through the atmosphere, or through another gaseous or liquid fluid...


Its makers claim it is the first horizontal-rotor
Helicopter rotor
A helicopter main rotor or rotor system is a type of fan that is used to generate both the aerodynamic lift force that supports the weight of the helicopter, and thrust which counteracts aerodynamic drag in forward flight...

ed integral lift and propulsion wing in history to sustain flight.

FanWing is also the name of the company created to develop the concept.


The fan-wing is a radical solution for the problem of how to get the maximal airflow through both the propulsion and lifting surfaces. A cylindrical radial turbine (resembling a cylinder mower) is embedded in the wing with its axis parallel to the wing and leaving about 2/3 of the diameter exposed above the top side of the wing's length just after the leading edge. This increases the velocity of the airflow across the wing's upper surface beyond that of the forward motion of the aircraft. Consequently the wing has lift at slow speeds where a normal wing would stall.

Practical trials with various remote-controlled models have proven that the concept provides a vehicle capable of controlled flight.
There are however some significant differences compared to normal fixed-wing flying:
  • The throttle directly affects the pitch which means increased throttle can slow the plane down much in the same manner a helicopter flares, and if carelessly applied can force a complete mid-air stop.
  • Glide-ratio in case of power-failure is rather low (about 1:3) but if the power-line is disengaged, the fan-wing is fully capable of doing an auto-rotational landing.

FanWing, the developing company, also have high hopes of the configuration being more silent, having V/STOL capabilities, stability in cross-winds combined with low to zero risk of stalls and a very low build/maintenance costs. These claims have yet to be verified with full-sized fan-wings though.


Patrick Peebles developed the FanWing concept in 1997. He formed the FanWing Company and applied for patents on his idea in several countries where aircraft are manufactured. In July 2005 the company advertised that the first FanWing aircraft was in development in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

. They advertised that the concept has undergone wind tunnel tests and powered model flights, and that the UK government was contributing to its further development.


In May 2007 the developers announced that a version built for low speed STOL urban surveillance as a drone was at the prototype stage and claimed the following performance.
  • Airborne after a ground roll of just 1 m (3 ft).
  • Wing-span 2.4 m (7.8 ft) UAV,
  • Made from composite materials,
  • Dry weight of 5.5 kg (12.1 lb),
  • Maximum take-off weight 12 kg,
  • Payload capability 2 kg,
  • Powered by a 1.2 kW electric motor,
  • Flight speed 15.5kt (29 km/h),
  • Endurance, (development goal) 80min.

See also

  • Flettner airplane
    Flettner airplane
    A flettner or rotor airplane is an airplane that has no wings but instead uses the Magnus effect to create lift. Thus it is similar to the Flettner rotor used in a Rotor ship...

  • Fixed-wing aircraft
    Fixed-wing aircraft
    A fixed-wing aircraft is an aircraft capable of flight using wings that generate lift due to the vehicle's forward airspeed. Fixed-wing aircraft are distinct from rotary-wing aircraft in which wings rotate about a fixed mast and ornithopters in which lift is generated by flapping wings.A powered...

  • Rotary-wing aircraft
  • Ornithopter
    An ornithopter is an aircraft that flies by flapping its wings. Designers seek to imitate the flapping-wing flight of birds, bats, and insects. Though machines may differ in form, they are usually built on the same scale as these flying creatures. Manned ornithopters have also been built, and some...

  • Gyroplane
  • VTOL
    A vertical take-off and landing aircraft is one that can hover, take off and land vertically. This classification includes fixed-wing aircraft as well as helicopters and other aircraft with powered rotors, such as cyclogyros/cyclocopters and tiltrotors...

    STOL is an acronym for short take-off and landing, a term used to describe aircraft with very short runway requirements.-Definitions:There is no one accepted definition of STOL and many different definitions have been used by different authorities and nations at various times and for a myriad of...

    STOVL is an acronym for short take off and vertical landing.This is the ability of some aircraft to take off from a short runway or take off vertically if it does not have a very heavy payload and land vertically...

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