The Manta was mostly an experiment in animal form aesthetic, but ended up being a fair design for a really safe, slow, and stable plane. It runs on electric charge and hydrogen. I didn't get it orbital, and it's not particularly acrobatic, but super stable. It rolls well, but is a pain to pitch back and if not anticipated, will cause problems. Perhaps a multi-atmospheric submersible design could be inspired by this little guy. I wanted to design a plane that looked like a Manta Ray and this was the first round draft.
The second attempt at a Manta Ray inspired plane looks good, but is tough to fly. Once flying the plane is extremely stable, but again does not pitch back well at high speed. Still running on electric charge and hydrogen, the best parts of this plane were the look and the name. The Hydray.1 inspired the name for my second novella, and a very different craft. More about that later.
Swift .1 & .2
Swift: inspired by modern fighter jets, the Swift was actually awesome. I used some experimental thruster configurations which made for a stable flight platform, with flexible engine combinations. It was not designed for it, but I was able to push it out of atmosphere, even with conventional intake reliant electric thrusters. It was fast, stable, and responsive.
Swift.2: This was the second version of the Swift, but designed with orbit capability in mind. It worked. The first version was kind of a minimal build, so the 2.0 version was not. Extra energy storage and generation systems, airbrakes, survival systems, lights, and a hydrogen Ion thruster sent us into space and back with repeatable success.
Here are some insights into my adventures in Kerbal Space Program. Learning curves and crashes create cool crafts.
Anyone else a Kerbal Space Program fan? I discovered KSP around 2014 when it was in a pre-vanilla state, and had a rich mod culture backing it up. I became kind of obsessed with single stage to orbit spaceplanes, and designed a little experimental fleet of animal inspired spaceplanes.
I held my designs to using electric and ion thrusters, and eventually got into VTOL and Munar (Moon) lander designs. This craft is not that though.
The Electric Moth: This craft has four conventional electric engines, and one hydrogen fed ion thruster, and is great in atmosphere and orbit capable. Shutting conventional intake apertures at the cusp of atmosphere breach is necessary, but the Hydrogen-Ion thruster takes over seamlessly and allows the plane to carry on to a range of flexible orbits. It will make it to, and touch down on the Mun (Moon) but is not great at it.
This plane was one of the earliest designs I made. I designed it loosely after the form of a moth. The winglets on top of the cockpit are not necessary or practical, but are thematic and adorable. They also only helped the flight profile so I kept them. This plane is an absolute thrill to fly. It flexes but doesn't break, and can pull all sorts of acrobatics. It has four strong landing apparatuses that are wide set for rough field landings. I landed it all over Kerbin (Earth). The Hydrogen Ion thruster allows the E-Moth to achieve stable orbit, and though the plane is not particularly fast, it is brilliantly maneuverable and just fun to fly.
I was running this game on an old laptop, with a heavily modded (mostly parts) pre-vanilla Kerbal Space Program, and yes it ran this choppy. I am a little embarrassed to upload these videos because of the lag, but also want to share these old designs. Maybe they'll inspire someone else.
Trilogy Productions - Logo Design
Artist, designer, musician, writer, craftsman, nature geek...