Why Do Backwards Wings Exist?

  • Published: 20 July 2019
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    Writer/Narrator: Brian McManus
    Editor: Stephanie Sammann (stephanie-sammann.com/)
    Animator: Mike Ridolfi (moboxgraphics.com/)
    Sound: Graham Haerther (haerther.net/)
    Thumbnail: Simon Buckmaster twitter.com/forgottentowel

    [1] hugojunkers.bplaced.net/junkers-ef131.html
    [2] nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/news/FactSheets/FS-008-DFRC.html apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a124715.pdf
    [3] dept.aoe.vt.edu/~mason/Mason_f/ConfigAeroTransonics.pdf
    [4] bit.ly/2Y17MM2
    [5] apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/271130.pdf
    [6] srmuniv.ac.in/sites/default/files/downloads/class5-2012.pdf
    [7] nasa.gov/centers/armstrong/news/FactSheets/FS-081-DFRC.html
    [8] repository.lib.ncsu.edu/bitstream/handle/1840.16/2141/etd.pdf?sequence=1
    [9] page 18 nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Sweeping_Forward.pdf
    [10] iloverimini.mobi/video/LOmvrk3LPGc/video.html?t=421
    [11] apps.dtic.mil/dtic/tr/fulltext/u2/a124715.pdf
    [12] nasa.gov/centers/dryden/pdf/88172main_H-1574.pdf
    [13] page 24 nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Sweeping_Forward.pdf
    [14] nasa.gov/centers/dryden/pdf/120266main_FS-008-DFRC.pdf
    [15] Page 124 nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Sweeping_Forward.pdf
    [16] Page 127 nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Sweeping_Forward.pdf
    [17] Page 208 nasa.gov/sites/default/files/files/Sweeping_Forward.pdf

    Thank you to AP Archive for access to their archival footage.

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Comments • 4 020

  • Rusbel Ayala
    Rusbel Ayala  4 hours back

    First time I see the term *aerofoil*.
    Aeronautical engineer btw

    • Paul Moffat
      Paul Moffat  14 hours back

      I have flown several gliders that had mildly swept forward wings. That was done for a very practical reason, as those gliders were all 2 seat trainers, and the rear seat was at the CG position of the lift of the wings. That made the weight of the person in that seat, non-contributory to the trim of the glider (only affected the total weight), and the front pilot was the only one that affected the weight and balance.

      • Bubbly
        Bubbly  22 hours back

        Because Wipeout

        • Lucas Ray Exp [LRE]
          Lucas Ray Exp [LRE]  24 hours back

          I swear to god, this fucking algorithms lol. They've done it again.

          • Barry Manclark
            Barry Manclark  1 days back

            You want us to buy into your channel?
            1:50 in and you state that WWII aircraft wings were of the straight design, you named a few including the Spitfire. The spitfire wing is elliptical. It doesn't quite fit in the ME-109 or P-51. Yes the main spar is perpendicular to fuselage center-line but the plan is a drag reducing ellipse.

            • Advocatus Diaboli
              Advocatus Diaboli  2 days back

              Is there anything the Germans haven't done before anyone else?
              Jeez, this is crazy.

              • Pat McCann
                Pat McCann  2 days back

                AND they had the best uniforms. (by far...)

            • cordell Hughes
              cordell Hughes  2 days back

              The trapezoidal wing of The f-104 Starfighter wasn't that bad.

              • Nella Yema
                Nella Yema  3 days back

                Question for the engineers out there: During the design of the forward swept wing, did the engineers already know about the need for the twist stiffness (Kt in the [email protected]:02), or did they have to discover it through observation and/or analyzing crash data and failed wings? Not having an engineering education, I'm not sure if or how they could have even know it was an issue.

                • Helder Fagundes
                  Helder Fagundes  3 days back

                  It's so obvious... For fast backwards fly. Gzz

                  • eddie R
                    eddie R  3 days back

                    Like,in the era of Biplanes saying why only One Wing. Its all part of the evolution and experimental progress of Flying.

                    • Jack T
                      Jack T  3 days back

                      The canard positive lift vs. horizontal stabilizer negative lift is far from new. Stability in a design is determined by the degree the aircraft will tend to return to normal flight. The canard was used by the highly-efficient Wright Flyer. The problem was stability. Canards are destabilizing like putting feathers on the front of the arrow. Forward swept wings have the same effect plus adds instability to the yaw axis which is where the twist problem comes from. The swept forward wing moves the center of lift closer to the canard, which makes it short-coupled, which makes it highly responsive, like a car with a short wheelbase. Being short-coupled also gives little leverage to stop things once they start to get out of hand without adding a lot of strength and surface area which is self-defeating. The B1 Lancer has a small computer controlled canard to assist with this problem, and the B2 depends entirely on the computer for its stability.

                      The Germany talk I always hear is laughable. In 1939 Germany was the only country who wanted war and the only one who had prepared for one. They had destroyed everyone else's country in the previous war. That facts are, Germany lost technologically to both the US and Great Britain in every technology that mattered to the war. The US The Lockheed L-133 was a practical canard jet proposed in 1939 with axial flow engine that they would be prevented from building. The Vought V-173 "Flying Pancake" flew in 1942. Jack Northrop made the flying wing the focus of his work during the 1930s. In 1941 before the USA entered World War II, Northrop and Consolidated Vultee Corporation had been commissioned to develop a large wing-only, long-range bomber designated XB-35. He was crushed when they went with the B-36 but before he died while confined to a wheel chair and unable to speak, the Air Force briefed him on their new, highly classified, Northrop-built B-2 Spirit bomber. Built in a flying wing configuration and incorporating many of Jack Northrop’s design innovations, the B-2 has evolved into the most capable bomber in aviation history. Upon seeing the drawings and a scale model of the aircraft, Northrop reportedly wrote on a sheet of paper in a shaky, feeble hand, "Now I know why God has kept me alive for 25 years." When WW II was going a year past projected, they told Lockheed they might need a jet fighter to counteract Germany's jets against their bombers, but in order to make sense, they had to have it in 5 months. They delivered a debugged and flying P-80 in and a production plan in 137 days. It saw limited service due to Germany's mismanagement and more sudden collapse. Notice it's the Goddard Space Flight Center. Robert Goddard, whose plans Germany extended for their own rocket program, was also denied pursuing rockets like Germany in WW II. All the US would pay for was rocket assisted take-off for the war effort. The German rocket program had no strategic value and a complete waste of resources. The best Germany achieved was 7 miles from the aiming point, down from 28 miles, and they killed more of their own people building it than all of the rockets killed. By contrast, the US spent 1/10th the resources on the atomic bombs and it saved 1/2 a million US casualties, shortened the war, and saved the enemy from starvation. Great Britain defeated them with their radar by 1940, and drove them off the sea with their electronics, hedge hogs, and Ultra. By 1941 Great Britain already had them mired in North Africa. They were stuck in Stalingrad by 1942, waiting for a tank that was not ready. They spent 2 years, massive resources to build an Atlantic Wall that was overcome in less than 8 hours with far fewer casualties than they took to build it. The deployment of technology that had no strategic value for the war was to deceive themselves as to their situation. Obviously the allies would target those involved in these technologies after the war because they focused on winning and did not invest in technologies that did not align with that goal during the war.

                      • Jimmy Hendrix
                        Jimmy Hendrix  2 days back

                        You are also correct on how the US won the technology race, as well as the britains. And yeah, the Russia move was probably the biggest strategic blunder ever made by a warring force next to the Pearl Harbor attacks and Napoleon's shot at Russia. However, many... Deja vu. Hmm. However, many technologies discovered post war were grounded in wartime research, not unoften by german researchers. The main reason many things weren't implemented or realized was due to the fact that Germany was fighting almost a five front war; eastwards russia westwards the US, northwards Britain, southwards.... ehm... France, I guess? Kind of. Hey, normandy. Anyways, they also had resources invested in africa. The thought process behind attacking russia was probably to preemptively stop them from mobilizing a force capable of overrunning germany.

                        What I mean to say is, without overreaching and thus minimizing ressources and putting priority into maintaining a set standard Germany's technology could most definitely have rivaled it's opponents. However it would have resulted in Russia being an even more powerful opponent. Either way, the one who starts the war without the means to end it always loses. Most definitely if your allies are not on par with your enemy's allies. In a way, I'm glad Germany lost, though. Then again, a shame to all the history that was destroyed in the process.

                      • Jimmy Hendrix
                        Jimmy Hendrix  2 days back

                        Actually germany lost the 1st world war in a most pathetic manner and had limits imposed on it's military. Your historical knowledge is off, but your technical knowledge is on point

                    • Thomason1005
                      Thomason1005  3 days back

                      very intersting. the stabilization shouldnt be a problem anymore today, as it is common practice in drones now. maybe it would be interesting to pick this design back up.

                      • William Master
                        William Master  3 days back

                        Pretty well done, however, you forgot to mention/glossed over the fact that conventional wing designs include a twist from root to tipi so that the ailerons are at a lower angle of attack and remain effective early in the stall to help prevent the aircraft from rolling over and entering a spin.

                        • wataaaaaaaa
                          wataaaaaaaa  3 days back

                          But that very early part of the stall, when an aileron goes down, it will increase the angle of attack and cause that wing to fully stall before the other wing;Hence the neutral aileron instruction for recovery on many airplanes.

                      • Kees Jan Hoeksema
                        Kees Jan Hoeksema  3 days back


                        Really Engineer that!

                        • Ali Kim
                          Ali Kim  2 days back

                          It's pretty ironic, that this "engineer" calls forwards swept wings backwards, and backwards swept wings "normal?"

                      • Usua Rio
                        Usua Rio  4 days back

                        First video I watch from you, super interesting. Subscribed

                        • Rahul rahul
                          Rahul rahul  4 days back

                          So the Americans just stole the Germans ideas basically

                          • Pat McCann
                            Pat McCann  2 days back

                            Better than that, we stole THEIR SCIENTISTS!!

                        • Euan Easson
                          Euan Easson  4 days back

                          Surpassed yourself with this one mate! Watched in 3 times to hoover up all the knowledge

                          • Rahul Phillip
                            Rahul Phillip  4 days back

                            In other words - to look different.

                            • M. Fadhlurrahman Amorshandi


                              • Peter Allan
                                Peter Allan  5 days back

                                8:46 I wondered what Robert Ryan had been doing recently. It ain't like it used to be but it'll do.

                                • Anton Konrad
                                  Anton Konrad  5 days back

                                  meshersmitt? wtf?

                                  • Sisi Fourkay
                                    Sisi Fourkay  5 days back

                                    Lift is NOT created because the air speeds up on the upper side of the wing. Like he stated many people disagree. And that's for a reason.

                                    • Si Wilson
                                      Si Wilson  3 days back

                                      Present your correct answer oh wise one

                                  • boma357
                                    boma357  5 days back

                                    I can't believe the Macross YF-19 actually exists.

                                    • bmo
                                      bmo  5 days back

                                      All because males can't get along with each other. :-)

                                      • Weapons Grade Gaming
                                        Weapons Grade Gaming  4 days back

                                        @bmo you don't know if I'm male or female. What did you really prove? Such a sad troll.

                                      • bmo
                                        bmo  5 days back

                                        @Weapons Grade Gaming - Thanks for proving my point. :-)

                                      • Weapons Grade Gaming
                                        Weapons Grade Gaming  5 days back

                                        This isn't the right place to be a snowflake.

                                    • Charles -
                                      Charles -  5 days back

                                      I was looking for porn and I found this....

                                      • Devin Crawford
                                        Devin Crawford  6 days back

                                        I think this is just a video of you talking about how much you like the Grumman X-29

                                        • SuperMcgenius
                                          SuperMcgenius  7 days back

                                          Most high-performance sailboat sailors will get this immediately

                                          • DastardlyWaffle
                                            DastardlyWaffle  7 days back

                                            basically this entire video is about mankind trying to find the right static wing shape. Why not spend all our effort on an aircraft with adjustable wings?

                                            • Alexander Stone
                                              Alexander Stone  6 days back

                                              joints and complicated piping and expensive and heavy and just not needed for passenger/cargo planes because theyre not going to be flying above the speed of sound

                                          • goodtasteification
                                            goodtasteification  7 days back

                                            It usually happens when people get stoned and go to work!

                                            • Marked Zenuasia
                                              Marked Zenuasia  1 weeks back

                                              Remember Cyclonus? Wasnt he badass and cool looking! 🤘

                                              • SMDoktorPepper
                                                SMDoktorPepper  1 weeks back

                                                Now that is a sexy plane..almost as nice as the Hustler.

                                                • Charley Foster
                                                  Charley Foster  1 weeks back

                                                  I think this plane was a gift to the Soviet Union. You have to understand the times. When this thing was brought out, the US was quietly ruining the USSR by making them blow large chunks of their R&D budget on insane projects. I mean, sure this was a model for an incredible dog fighter. Unbelievably maneuverable, etc. We had a lot of stuff like this in the can and we were letting the reds try to copy some of it, knowing that they were racing down a dead end alley. Why would we need this, when an F-14 can turn inside a Cessna 150 (watched one do it at Luke AFB in 1980 - absolutely shocking!) and an F-16 can do better than that? (And now, an F22 can tie them all in knots!)

                                                  • Brandon Zacharie
                                                    Brandon Zacharie  1 weeks back

                                                    hmm, technically, these wings are facing forward... just sayin'

                                                    • Unver Ozkol
                                                      Unver Ozkol  1 weeks back

                                                      Everything about this video is good and dandy, except explaining the lift with Bernoulli. It is just not the correct way of explaining lift.

                                                      • Tech News for Tech Noobs

                                                        X-29: HELP!! I am unstable and unusable in practical combat situations! My wing design won't ever work!

                                                        Su-47: Hold my beer...

                                                        • Tech News for Tech Noobs
                                                          Tech News for Tech Noobs  5 days back

                                                          @Red Wolf lol...good point. I should have gone with Vodka. What was I thinking. ;)

                                                        • Red Wolf
                                                          Red Wolf  5 days back

                                                          More like hold my vodka, considering the Russians. Wouldn't doubt they installed a cooler in the 47, considering the Su-37 has a functioning kitchen

                                                      • Mike B.
                                                        Mike B.  1 weeks back

                                                        You forgot to mention the HFB320 "Hansa Jet" first flown in 1964 in Hamburg

                                                        • Insane إنسان
                                                          Insane إنسان  1 weeks back

                                                          let's play a game:
                                                          every time he mentions the word "wing"
                                                          take a shot !

                                                          • J
                                                            J  1 weeks back

                                                            alright, I'm finally watching it, so could you please leave my sidebar alone

                                                            • X Critic
                                                              X Critic  1 weeks back

                                                              Ok but why do slower aircraft like biplanes and seaplanes have perfectly straight wings? Is it better for gliding at lower speeds and altitudes?

                                                              • HAREKRISHNA Daas
                                                                HAREKRISHNA Daas  1 weeks back

                                                                They are still experimenting this? We already have this in nature ,look at birds

                                                                • g0mhc
                                                                  g0mhc  1 weeks back

                                                                  Do you really need that annoying music. I want to listen to what you have to say without distraction, is that tooo much to ask?

                                                                  • Rich Purslow
                                                                    Rich Purslow  1 weeks back

                                                                    well executed documentary. Interesting concept with the forward sweeping wing. do you reckon computers today would be better for this concept.

                                                                    • Veevslav1
                                                                      Veevslav1  1 weeks back

                                                                      Why are they not using backwards wings for supersonic civilian transports that do not need or want stealth features?

                                                                      • Dean Coronado
                                                                        Dean Coronado  1 weeks back

                                                                        The G.I. Joe Conquest X-30. Imagine being aboard it, when it takes flight!

                                                                        • Modern Archive
                                                                          Modern Archive  1 weeks back

                                                                          Von Karman did the backswept ones. Or so I heard.

                                                                          • IamYourFather38 delta
                                                                            IamYourFather38 delta  1 weeks back

                                                                            Holy fuck we invented nothing it was all thanks to the germans

                                                                            • michael coleman
                                                                              michael coleman  1 weeks back

                                                                              Those that down vote videos like these shouldn't be allowed on the internet.

                                                                              • kounov B
                                                                                kounov B  1 weeks back

                                                                                ok I understand now :) tks my art https://www.artmajeur.com/fr/louis-jean-braye-1/artworks/galleries