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The Antares is an advanced visual representation of an airplane design based on the Amelia project  Every dimension and most elements are different, but the spirit of the concepts remains.

For me, inspiration comes in many forms and one of them is when I’m reading magazines. Last summer, I read an article in Popular Science about the future of flight  It featured a new regional jet design envisioned by a team from the California Polytechnic State University. This project, named ‘Amelia‘ was developed with NASA and it combines three aircraft designs that normally conflicts with each other. I really liked the idea and wanted to see how it would look if we used some DNA from the ‘C-Series’ DNA and come up with more advanced renderings.

The Antares looks like a normal aircraft, but it has a large wing that sits on top of the fuselage similarly to the Bombardier Q400  It would be equipped with two Pratt & Whitney Canada turbofan engines mounted on top and at the front of its oversized wing. In the 1970s, NASA modified a De Havilland C-8A Buffalo to see how it would perform  with engines mounted in this position. This STOL prototype (Short Take-Off and Landing) named QSRA seemed to perform well. There’s even a YouTube video where you see it land on an aircraft carrier. (Check out also the Boeing YC-14)  Mounting the engines on top and at the front of the wing could generate five to ten times more lift than on a conventional aircraft. It would also help reduce noise by 30 decibels or more and that is a major asset for the airline industry. Obviously one key challenge would be the pre-flight maintenance and accessibility of the power plant…

The Antares could land and take-off on very short runways (3 000 feet) This means, it could serve smaller and less accessible airports and tap into a new market, similar to what the Canadair Regional Jet did back in 1992. The increase in lift and performance could also mean, ultimately, a lower cost per seat for the airline industry and maybe, a smaller ticket price for passengers. If you’ve been following the development of the C-SERIES you know that it takes a lot of time and capital to develop a new plane. It also takes a lot of political and corporate support because the risks are really high, especially if you venture into new designs. In my opinion, a project like this should probably be developed in partnership with a large government such as the Chinese. China has the capital needed to finance ventures of this magnitude. They are interested in growing their aircraft industry and they have proven that they can authorize, deploy and support projects of this scope. Most important of all, there are over 170 cities in China with a population that exceeds one million people…

I would like to thank the Amelia team & Nasa for their incredible work & inspiration. Most important of all I would like to thank Robin Ritter who created the fantastic renderings of the Antares concept and who went the extra miles to verify some important structural elements. Robin is based in Stuttgart and he has worked in the past at Porsche and Eurocopter.

Note : The Antares concept was created on October 1 2013 and was first published in the Toronto Globe & Mail on January 7, 2014 (view the article)


  1. That’s a very nice design. Although, in the real world, you would have some serious trim drag issues with the engines mounted that high above the center of mass. Thanks for sharing the concept.

    • Thanks a lot, it would be interesting to see the results of the Amelia team too. (What are the pros and cons in quantified results) I also wonder if this concept can be scaled down to build a smaller STOL aircraft to fly into the North. (Like a new type of Twin Otter)

  2. Hey, that’s a nice plane, but next time do a concept plane based on MIT’s double bubble fuselage studies. That double bubble idea does not have the trim and drag issues (not to mention the terrible capsize that would happen if you had to make an emergency landing on water) of the Amelia concept.

    And, of course, the MIT double bubble pushes to an interesting extreme (thanks to the use of the fuselage as a partial lifting body) the high aspect ratio wing already exploited (in a less radical way) by the Bombardier Dash 8 or Q-Series.

  3. This is a nice design visually, but I am wondering about the inverted thrust drag couple: Adding thrust pushing the nose down, instead of up; is that considered and compensated for so as to reduce trim changes with thrust or to make them more beneficial?

    I ask because of a design I sketched and began modeling a few decades back had upper mounted engines as well, and I was concerned about this issue. It was an amphibian pusher design, about the size of a C-206 Cessna.

  4. Believe it or not the other night I just had the idea of
    an over wing over jet design but I haven’t known
    about this website until today

  5. Hi there, I’m doing an aircraft design project for school, and I just was looking at various images and I think that your whole website, let alone this design is absolutely amazing. Just wanted to say #justsayin’ 😛

  6. There are significant challenges in designing powered-lift aircraft, not the least of which is keeping the aircraft trimmed during powered-lift operations and also in transitioning between it and conventional flight. The solution involves careful sizing and placement of engines, wing, and empennage––truly integrating aerodynamics and propulsion. The AMELIA wing was low on the fuselage in order to minimize the vertical distance between the thrust line and the center-of-gravity (c.g.). Engines were placed above and in front of the wing in a location that Bob Englar’s multi-year studies and wind tunnel tests had found to be most beneficial for over-wing blowing. The AMELIA wind tunnel model incorporated circulation control on the wing leading and trailing edges as opposed to using conventional flaps or circular arc flaps typical of upper surface blowing (USB) configuraitons like the NASA QSRA, An-172/174, and Kawasaki ASUKA. You may notice on these aircraft that the horizontal tails are significantly aft of the wing and large, as are the vertical tails. AMELIA incorporated a shallow V-tail that had elevators for conventional flight and an all-moving feature for CESTOL operations that was necessary to raise the nose on takeoff and landing and maintain safe, controlled flight at low speeds in the traffic pattern. You’ll need either more tail arm or an all-moving feature, perhaps with its own trailing edge blowing, to counteract the significant vertical thrust line/c.g. offset on your Antares configuration. Not an insurmountable problem but it will require at least one more iteration of the basic configuration. Well done.

  7. Check out the videos on the Boeing YC-14. Boeing solved the thrust problems and the aircraft flew well and safely. But note their engine position, much tighter to the wings than the Bombardier sketches. To make the Coanda effect work properly the thrust has to be tight to the wing upper surface. When used properly the Coanda effect can generate lift equal to the thrust of the engines, hence the STOL properties.