What Happened To Ring Wing Planes?

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This plane is unique in the sense that its wings are round. More specifically, the wings form a circle all the way around the fuselage- a closed wing or more accurately, a ring wing around the plane. 

Why did this ring-wing plane didn’t fly, why we never built it, and what happened to the concept? 


The ring wing aircraft had its roots in the dawn of aviation, from the French. An early example of the closed wing was on the Bell Riot aircraft. 

The lifting surfaces are made of two annual wings mounted in tandem and the later version replaced the forward annual wing with a biplane and added a Canard 4 plane to make it a three-service aircraft. It was able to leave the ground before being damaged beyond repair. 


With the title of the ring wing Lockheed Transport, the plane would be 52 meters long with a wing circumference of 7.4 meters. The wing is a low mid-length attachment before arching backward 27 degrees to attach itself to the tail of the aircraft. 

Innovative Design

The plane could carry up to 120 passengers and because of the fuel efficiencies of the design, it would be perfect for those commuter destinations that don’t really reach high altitudes. 

Unique Aircraft

Because a ring wing plane doesn’t have actual wingtips, the wingtip vortices and the downwash of the wing that they cause aren’t completely eliminated. Thus, the wing could generate more lift, which means shorter runways, less fuel, and no impact on crosswinds. 

Why Didn’t It Fly?

But these kinds of aircraft also suffer from increased parasitic drag and require careful design to avoid flutter and boundary later separation. In layman’s terms, the fuel saved from the increased lift is canceled out by the increased drag. 

There’s also a problem with funding. The design isn’t as mature and well-understood as conventional planes, making it more expensive to achieve.