Ever had a sudden flash of insight, an “aha!” moment? That moment is called a “Eureka Moment” thanks to the ancient Greek scholar Archimedes, who, the story goes, yelled “Eureka” (literally “I have found it”) when he stepped into his bath and saw that the bath water rose in proportion to the volume of his body he put in the water – thus discovering how to precisely measure the volume of irregular objects.
Robert Carr had his Eureka Moment in 1976. After a stint in the Army he had returned to Oklahoma City and was earning a living as an instructor pilot, flying out of Wiley Post Airport. One day while he was flying over the zoo, on approach into Expressway Airpark, he realized that there could be a more efficient way to fly, a better way to design aircraft so that airflow and lift were maximized. The critical need was to increase the speed and density of the airflow over the airfoils – the wings. He went home that night and experimented in the bath with a cigar tube – a great place to study fluid dynamics it seems – and learned enough to know he was onto something. Unlike Archimedes he didn’t shout “Eureka!” and run through the streets, but started designing and researching. He studied the physics of flying, and applied his inventor’s eye and years of flying experience – and, critically, an open mind – to optimal lift and the design of flying machines.
That was the beginning of the journey – a quintessential inventor’s journey, exemplifying the spirit and energy behind the greatest economic engine the world has ever known: America. Edison comes to mind, as do the Wright Brothers, Jobs & Woz. The courage to live the dream – and keep on slogging away. It was three years before Robert was introduced to the work of Henri Coanda and truly began to understand the science behind the effects he was creating, thanks to Dr. Edward F. Blick, at the time Professor of Aerospace, Mechanical and Nuclear Engineering, the University of Oklahoma. It was seven more years before Robert got his first two flight-related patents. His most recent patents were granted in 2006 and 2007.
The four major patents – the first two and the last two – are available in PDF form and can be downloaded by selecting their numbers and titles, below:
- 4568042_Internal_wing_aircraft (1986)
- 4579300_Internal_wing_aircraft (1986)
- 7147183_Lift_system_for_an_aerial_crane (2006)
- 7258302_Aircraft_internal_wing_and_design (2007)
Robert also holds related patents in the European Union, Norway and Australia.
To see the lab results achieved by designs based on the patents – including Dr. Blick’s wind tunnel testing of an early internal wing aircraft (IWA) wing design – please go to our Test Results page. To see what those designs look like when they become flying aircraft, check out our Graphics page. That’s where the wing really meets the air.