Ball-Bartoe JW-1 Jetwing

A collaboration between the Ball Corporation, a well-known maker of glass food jars and similar products, and Otto Bartoe, a Ball executive, was formed in 1973 and lasted until 1978.  They secured a contract from the U.S. Navy to develop a “blown wing” research aircraft to aid in the development of new military aircraft designed to operate from aircraft carrier decks and small airfields.  The concept of a blown wing is that exhaust gases from the plane’s jet engine, instead of being ejected out the tailpipe of the plane, would be ejected along the upper surface of the wing through slots or other apertures near the wing leading edge.  This would produce a controllable aircraft at low speeds by maintaining lift over the wing whenever the engine was running.

Ball and Bartoe produced one aircraft, the JW-1 Jetwing, which was evaluated by the Navy in 1980 and 1981 under the civil registration N27BB.  The evaluation, conducted by the University of Tennessee, is available online here.  The aircraft was a small, single-seat design with a small wing having fences and a secondary mini-wing to force the jet exhaust from the wing slots to stay close to the wing upper surface.  According to the report, it flew about 59 hours while being evaluated, having already flown about 70 hours of test flying.  The research report criticized the aircraft for having a badly designed tail that did not permit the aircraft to reach its lowest sustainable speeds or provide adequate stability, it was optimistic about the future of the blown wing principle.  However, the JW-1 became the only airplane ever to use a blown wing as its sole source of both propulsion and lift, although partially blown wings and blown flaps have been used on several aircraft designs.  Today the aircraft is preserved at the Wings Over the Rockies Air & Space Museum.