Click and drag on picture to see ThrustWings in action
Each ThrustWing leading edge base is surrounded by engine air intakes above the fixed point of each ThrustWing. Each ThrustWing has two Vector Ports which are housed a series of variable aperture thrust gates. One at the tip of each wing, which allows thrust to be directed perpendicular to body of the airship, and one at the outer trailing edge of each wing providing thrust in any direction selected by the pilot, based on the rotation of the movable portion of each ThrustWing.
Thrust is directed either simultaneously or singularly through these ports to provide forward, sideward movement, or rotational movement around the airship's vertical, longitudinal and/or lateral axis. The movable portion of each ThrustWing can be rotated 360 degrees about their longitudinal axis. This feature allows the pilot to move the airship forward, backward, up, and down, whether the airship is buoyantly light or heavy, and apply additional thrust about the airship's vertical axis for low to zero airspeed maneuvering, including crosswind landing, take-off, and maneuvering. The amount and direction of thrust is pilot operated and controlled by means of a computer-enhanced fly by wire system (ITAMMS) that operates: fan pitch, variable thrust gates, and engine speeds. It also controls ThrustWing and rudder movements. It is also integrated to the onboard FADEC, flight control, and ballast management system.
When alighting, all four ThrustWings are "aimed" downward from 60 to 90 degrees of cruise pitch angle. This provides the pilot maximum "lifting thrust" giving SkyFreighter full VTOL capability. As the airship lifts, and transitions (ellipsoid lifting body), the pilot, using ITAMMS, moves the thrust wings in graduating steps to level cruise pitch angle and adjusts power settings accordingly. When cruise altitude is achieved, the pilot shuts down the two aft ThrustWing engines at which time they act only as rear stabilons under the control of the (ITAMMS) altitude hold and course authority. Thrust, while at cruise, is provided solely by the two forward ThrustWings along with rear pitch and roll provided by the two aft wings that now function as stabilons. The single vertical stabilizer/rudder provides the majority of turning authority at speeds over 8 kts.
When approaching to land and landing, if the airship is light, ThrustWings are aimed upward and enough thrust is applied to bring the airship down to the desired landing site.