Metaplane is the configuration of the air vehicle that can be classified as an aerodyne. It uses static lift mostly to enhance stability. The lifting wing is characterized by big dimensions, airship’s envelope and low wing loading that gives the vehicle STOL characteristics. The correct lightness, strength and correct aerodynamic characteristics have been obtained by multi layer envelope structure. [1][2][3][4]

An example of a metaplane is the air vehicle developed by Italian company Nimbus and displayed at the Paris Air Show at 2007.[5]



Word metaplane (what is the direct translation to English language of the italian word “metaplano") is composed from words meta greek μετά = "beyond"[6], and plane what is the part of english word "airplane" [7] The meaning could be under stand as “beyond the airplane”.[8]

Mentioned expression has been created to underline that metaplane cannot be classified as traditional airplane because it uses also the static lift generated by envelope filled with gas lighter than air and don’t have ailerons. Furthermore, respect to the known hybrid airships, metaplane is characterized by lowered weight center respect to the wing.[9]

Basic proprieties

Such configuration allows to obtain absolute stability. Additionally the lowered position of the propulsion system aligned with empennage surfaces allows to generate directly control forces and assure high maneuverability. Complementary aspect of this kind of configuration working with delta wing is that even at deep stall conditions it permits stable flight allowing high flight slope angles, extremely low velocity with landing characteristics obtainable usually only with highly sophisticated flap systems. [10]


  1. ^ E.Cafaro, L.Stantero, R.Taurino, A.Capuani, A. Mercalli, S. Fantino, Nimbus Meta-plane, a New Aerodynamic Concept for Unmanned Hybrid Aerial Vehicle Application, SAE International, Technical Papers, August 19, 2009 [1]
  2. ^ Metaplano, Wikipedia, IT [2]
  3. ^ A. Mercalli, P. Bellezza Quater, G. Ballesio, A. Castellero, G. Ricchiardi, Studio dell'impermeabilizzazione all'elio di tessuti speciali per applicazioni aeronautiche, Progetto Dimostratore Nanomat, 2007
  4. ^ Tessuti innovativi per far volare i metaplani, Torinoscienza, November 04, 2008[3]
  5. ^ Nimbus flies hybrid UAV prototype, Jane's, December 12, 2007 [4]
  6. ^ μετά, Wikipedia [5]
  7. ^ airplane, TheFreeDictionary [6]
  8. ^ Metaplano, Wikipedia, IT [7]
  9. ^ Metaplano, Wikipedia, IT [8]
  10. ^ P.Valpolini, Nimbus turns UAV dreams into reality with Metaplane, AINonline, PARIS AIR SHOW, June 11, 2007, [9]

Other sources

  • M. Morrison, Italy special: beyond Turin, Flightglobal, November 13, 2007
  • NIMBUS EOS XI, TURIN MARATHON, Tutta Dritta, December 18, 2009
  • SkyMedia and Nimbus at PROTEC 2011, SkyMedia, Tuesday, July 19, 2011
  • R. Taurino, Simulazione numerica del Campo Aerodinamico prossimo ad un metaplano. Progetto D-Fly, Politecnico di Torino, 2007
  • A. Nassisi, "Progetto di un sistema di georeferenziazione e visualizzazione di flussi video", Politecnico di Torino, 2009
  • D. Trèves, "Progetto di una Ground Control Station di un Unmanned Aerial System", Politecnico di Torino, 2009
  • J. Pellissier, Aerospaziale, corsa ai fondi Ue, ItaliaOggi, March 1, 2007
  • A. Lo Campo, Torino capofila dei distretti aerospaziali, LA STAMPA, Torino, March 1, 2007
  • O. Giustetti, Piccole e medie imprese alleate Ecco la carta per l'innovazione, la Repubblica, Torino, March 3, 2007
  • A. Settefonti, Le aziende di Torino guardano tutti dall'alto Con il velivolo D-fly, FINANZA MERCATI, March 8, 2007
  • K. Plucinski, Simulatore di volo light UAV: la missione progetto SMAT_F1, Technologie e Servizi per la Protezione Civile e Ambientale, PROTEC, Torino, June 30, 2011
  • M. Traverso, Un ultraleggero senza pilota targato Pmi, il Giornale del Piemonte, March 8, 2007
  • J. Pellissier, Piemonte via al d-fly, velivolo Uas, ItaliaOggi, March 8, 2007
  • Decolla "D-fly" velivolo leggero ideato dalle Pmi, la Repubblica, Torino, March 8, 2007
  • L'aereo "spia" sarà costruito in canavese, TORINOCRONACA, March 9, 2007
  • Vola senza pilota ma vede e sente tutto, LA STAMPA, Torino, March 12, 2007
  • R. Chiaramonti, Aerospazio al decollo pur senza riconoscimenti, 24 ORE NordOvest, March 14, 2007
  • A. Previati, Volo sperimentale del <<D-Fly>> della Nimbus, IL CANAVESE, March 16, 2007

Media appearance

See also

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