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  • Return of the Trijet - by Airbus?
    Posted by Graham Warwick 4:49 PM on Mar 16, 2011

    Airbus takes another look at the widebody trijet in new U.S. patent (number 7,905,449), and the result is a little different to a Lockheed L-1011 or McDonnell Douglas DC-10.
    blog post photo
    Graphic: US Patent and Trademark Office

    Although it looks a little odd, the logic behind the design as detailed in the patent (filed in 2005) is interesting. The patent notes the trend towards "big twin" widebodies that can fly long-haul routes and withstand the loss of one engine en route has resulted in aircraft with powerful, but heavy and noisy, turbofans.

    As pressure to reduce noise grows, a return to the trijet would allow use of smaller and quieter engines, the patent argues. But the problem then becomes the noise - in the cabin as well as on the ground - generated by the third engine on the tail.

    The solution detailed in the patent is to mount the third engine above the rear fuselage so that it exhausts into a channel formed by the horizontal tailplane and its tip-mounted vertical stabilizers. This channel would direct the jet up and away from the fuselage while shielding the noise so less reaches the ground.

    It may be an Airbus France patent, but to me it looks like a cross between an A330 and a Heinkel He 162 Volksjager! And I am not so sure about reducing interior noise as mounting the engine on the fuselage is bound to allow vibration into the cabin. That aside, I like the idea of bringing back the trijet.

    Tags: tw99, Airbus, patent

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