Provide innovative air vehicle design, analysis, and consulting services.
ForzAero specializes in conceptual design for a broad range of air vehicles, including fighters, trainers, commercial airliners (see example below), VTOL aircraft, UAV's, and electric propulsion vehicles. The founder has experience in developing aircraft from a clean sheet all the way through prototyping and flight test. ForzAero also has a network of specialists that can provide services such as component fabrication and testing, additive manufacturing, as well as FAA certification. In addition to air vehicle design, ForzAero is adept at developing "Concept of Operations" (CONOPS) for any project.
Electric airliner concept for Wright Electric, shown in EasyJet livery.
Darold B. Cummings is the founder and president of ForzAero. Mr. Cummings has over 50 years experience in the design, analysis, fabrication and testing of air vehicles. He retired from Boeing Phantom Works as a Technical Fellow in 2004, and has been a consultant to the Aerospace Industry continuously since that time. His clients include Centra Technologies (Chief Engineer), Darpa (Chief Engineer of the Rapid Eye program), Empirical Systems Aerospace, Frontline Aerospace (Board of Advisors), Aurora Flight Sciences, NextGen Aeronautics, National Institute of Aerospace, and Wright Electric. In addition to his experience in the United States, Mr. Cummings has worked with Airbus in Germany, Bae in England, and Leonardo in Italy. Mr. Cummings won the prestigious AIAA Aircraft Design Award in 2015, and was also inducted into the Pioneers of Stealth in 2015. In 2016, he was awarded the California State University at Long Beach Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Mr. Cummings has 36 patents in a variety of fields. His very first patent (#4,302,796) was for the installation of a laser weapon in a fighter or bomber aircraft, the seminal patent in this field.
In addition to his technical expertise, Mr. Cummings also presents Creativity Workshops to universities, industry, and government agencies. Universities include Embry Riddle Aeronautical University, Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, Boise State University, Oklahoma State University, Wright State University, Purdue University, and the United States Air Force Academy.
Mr. Cummings has three of his aircraft in museums: The YF-23 and the X-40A are in the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, Ohio. The X-40A has his name on the rear bulkhead.
The X-40A Space Plane in the USAF Museum
X-40A rear bulkhead
The Ranger 2000 is in the Tulsa Air and Space museum, and Mr. Cummings is shown as the inventor, as stenciled on the cockpit sill.
The Ranger 2000 Jet Trainer in the Tulsa Air and Space Museum
Ranger 2000 cockpit sill
Mr. Cummings started his career as a configuration designer at Boeing (Heritage Rockwell) from 1967-1982. During that time he worked on the B-1, early Stealth aircraft, AFTI, and Low-cost Fighter designs. In 1978 he was appointed Chief Engineer/Chief Designer of the Next Generation Trainer (NGT) program. A full scale mock-up of the Rockwell NGT was fabricated in 1981.
In 1982 he joined Northrop Corporation as the Chief Configuration Designer for the YF-23 Stealth Fighter. He had responsibility for the overall configuration, as well as cockpit integration and weapons integration. During this time, he helped developed a unique flight suit, capable of supporting the pilot during 9g maneuvers (Patent #5,318,018).
In 1988 he rejoined Boeing (heritage Rockwell) as the Chief Engineer/Chief Designer of the Ranger 2000 Jet Trainer Program. Rockwell formed a team with MBB (now part of Airbus) and developed two prototype aircraft. The aircraft performed very well, and Aviation Week magazine touted the Ranger 2000 as the winner of the Air Force fly-off (June 5, 1995 issue). Eventually, a turboprop was selected, and the prototypes went to museums in Germany and the United States.
In 1996 he led the Boeing team to develop the Space Maneuver Vehicle (X-40A) Flight Demonstration Aircraft, which flew successfully in August of 1998. Mr. Cummings was awarded Technical Fellowship for the success of the X-40A program (YouTube, Darold Cummings X-40A). From 1998 to 2004, Mr. Cummings led the Navy MRE UAV program, the USAF Long Range Strike program, and the USAF Strike Tanker program. His last Boeing project was to develop a flying car concept for Dr. Robert Krieger, president of the Boeing Phantom works.
2004: Boeing Phantom Works: Augmented thrust concept for STOL Transports (Patent #7,150,432) 2004: NextGen Aeronautics: Design of Stealthy, morphing UAV's for Darpa and NASA
2005: Boeing Phantom Works: VTOL propulsion system for military transports (Patent #7,677,502)
2006: NextGen Aeronautics: Classified project for Darpa
2007: Frontline Aerospace/Empirical Systems Aerospace: Chief Designer for the VSTAR cargo VTOL UAV (Patent #8,220,737)
2008-2010: Darpa (via Centra): Chief Engineer for the Rapid Eye program
2010: Art Anderson Associates: Amphibious UAV project 2010: Empirical Systems Aerospace: Hybrid propulsion concepts for both commercial and military applications 2010: Boeing Phantom Works: Advanced airliner concepts 2010: Proprietary client: Darpa XCART program
2011: NextGen Aeronautics: Stopped-rotor VTOL design for Darpa VXP (Patent #D710,782) 2011: Empirical Systems Aerospace/LM: Proprietary project
2012: Empirical Systems Aerospace: Dual-use hybrid propulsion aircraft for AFRL (Patent #D691,547)
2013: Empirical Systems Aerospace: Dual stopped rotor VTOL (Patent #713,321)
2014: Empirical Systems Aerospace: ElectraWing V/STOL Transport design (Patent #D743,868) 2014: AeroVironment: Darpa TERN program, design and CONOPS 2014: Undisclosed client: Darpa Gremlins program
2015: JST: UAV design for AFRL 2015: NASA Aeronautics: ECON program, Air Vehicle Design 2015: Internal project: Over-wing Nacelle Airliner design (Patent #D760,637) 2015: Empirical Systems Aerospace/Toyota: Proprietary project
Low drag integration of laser device into aircraft. Rockwell International. Filed May 1976, issued November 1981. #4,302,796. Seminal laser installation patent for aircraft. Issue delayed five years by Secretary of the Air Force for security reasons. Starting point for all laser installations on aircraft, see below.
Single-engine jet trainer (Ranger 2000). Rockwell International. Filed June 1989, issued June 1991. #D338,054. Sole-named inventor of the Rockwell Ranger 2000 jet trainer. This aircraft is on display in the Tulsa Air and Space Museum, see below.
Twin-engine jet trainer. Rockwell International. Alternate version of the Ranger 2000 with twin engines. Filed March 1990, issued April 1992. #D325,557.
Advanced Aircrew Protection System. Northrop. Novel flight suit ensemble, required for the high-g environment the YF-23 would experience. Also included chem/bio/laser flash protection. Filed December 1991, issued June 1994. #5,318,018. Key elements were included in the USAF Edge protection system. Earned Northrop "Honor Role of Inventors" award. See pictures below.
Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) Unmanned Air Vehicle (UAV) capable of high speed horizontal flight. Rockwell International (just before being acquired by Boeing). Filed May 1996. Issued June 1998. #5,758,844. Sole-named inventor. Boeing built a large scale for flight test in 1998, see pictures below.
Subsonic Stealthy Tail-less Attack Aircraft. Boeing. Filed June 1997, issued May 1998. #D394,039. Sole-named inventor. Stealthy concept that eliminated vertical tails to reduce radar signature. High aspect ratio wing provided efficient cruise. This design became the basis of Boeing Long Range Strike studies.
Aircraft with thrust vectoring to provide upper wing surface blowing. Boeing.This was a concept developed from a sketch I made at an AIAA symposium for Dr. John Zuk. Boeing liked the idea, as it would allow commercial aircraft to take-off and land on shorter runways. Filed December 2003, issued August 2005. #6,926,229. Sole-named inventor. See pictures below.
Horizontal augmented thrust system and method for creating augmented thrust. Boeing. A thrust augmentation system internal to the wing to improve short field performance. The idea was to incorporate this system on airliners to cut the field length requirement for take-off and landing by 50%. Filed June 2004, issued December 2006. #7,150,432. The system applied to the MD-80 aircraft is shown below.
Method and apparatus for generating lift. Boeing. Filed September 2005, issued March 2010. #7,677,502. A thrust augmentation concept to provide VTOL or extreme short take-off and landing (ESTOL). This concept was used on the Boeing/Navy Multi-Role Endurance UAV (MRE), and the later Strike Tanker concept. The MRE is still classified, but the Strike Tanker is shown below.
Vertical Take-off and Landing (VTOL) autonomous cargo aircraft. Frontline Aerospace. #8,220,737. Filed March 2008, issued July 2012. This concept features a large, central coaxial fan for lift, and a separate turbofan for cruise. Wind tunnel tests performed, and R/C model built and flown, see below.
VSTAR European patent. #000-997390. Frontline Aerospace. Covers all of the EU for VSTAR.
Dual-use commercial and military transport. Empirical Systems Aerospace. High-wing transport aircraft with a flattened aft fuselage that could accommodate a large rear cargo door. Featured in Aviation Week in the September 3/10, 2012 issue. Filed 2012, issued October, 2013. #D691,547.
"Machete" Air Vehicle having rotatable and retractable pair of wings. VTOL Stopped-rotor concept. Darold B. Cummings, sole-named inventor, and patent owner. Filed September 2013, issued August 2014. #D710,782. Teamed with NextGen and Boeing for Darpa program.
"HeliARX" Air vehicle having rotating wings. Empirical Systems Aerospace. VTOL stopped-rotor concept that simplified transition via coaxial rotors. Sole-named inventor. Filed July 2013, issued September, 2014. #D713,321.
"ElectraWing" VTOL/STOL transport aircraft. Empirical Systems Aerospace. Novel concept for a passenger aircraft that could take-off conventionally (high payload), STOL, or VTOL. Filed 2014, issued August, 2015. #D743,868.
"Sprint 240" Airliner concept with upper wing mounted nacelles and V-tail. Allows for very large turbofan engines, and the V-tail has less area and drag than a conventional tail. Sole-named inventor and patent owner. Filed February, 2015, issued July, 2016. #D760,637.
"COBRA 80" airliner concept with split wing embedded propulsion and fuselage boundary layer ingestion (BLI). Multiple electric fan motors are embedded in the wing root. A single aft-mounted turbogenerator provides electric power for the motors, and charges batteries. Concept can potentially eliminate the tails by using differential thrust of the split wing propulsors for yaw control, and the aft body boundary layer control flap for pitch control. Sole-named inventor and patent owner. Filed January, 2016, issued September, 2017. #D797,641.
V-Max Vertical take-off and landing aircraft. This is the first in a series of designs done for the emerging eVTOL (electric powered VTOL) market. The aircraft was modeled after the NASA X-57 design, and meant to be a potential follow-on "X" aircraft project for NASA Aeronautics. All the rotors are used for take-off. The wing-mounted motors are used for cruise flight, but the tail-mounted rotors are folded and stowed to reduce drag. Sole-named inventor and patent owner. Filed July, 2016, issued October, 2017. #799,402.
V-Max in take-off position (top) and in cruise (bottom)
Proprietary military electronic warfare aircraft. Designed for JST company. Image not for release at this time. Filed July, 2016. Patent pending.
"Quiet Sabre" airliner concept. This is an airliner concept that uses upper-wing-mounted combination turbofan/turbogenerators for thrust, and uses electric fans for aft fuselage Boundary Layer Ingestion. This concept was developed as a NASA Aeronautics future airliner concept. Sole-named inventor, and owner of the patent. Filed September, 2017, and a notice of allowance was granted in July, 2018.
Quiet Sabre VSP drawing (top) and patent drawing (bottom)
European patent for Cobra 80 (see #17 above) with tails. #0041242112-1.
European patent for Cobra 80 (see #17 above) with no tails. #0041242112-2.
Vertical take-off and landing "CitiFlex" aircraft design tailored for the Uber Air Taxi project. This concept uses tilting propulsion rather than tilting wings and tails to provide lift and forward propulsion. This is an alternate concept to the V-Max concept (#18 above). Sole-named inventor, and owner of the patent. Filed January, 2018.
CitiFlex shown in VTOL mode (top) and cruise (bottom)
Hybrid electric airliner concept. Proprietary. Sole-named inventor and patent owner. Filed January, 2018.
Vertical Take-off and landing air taxi concept. Proprietary. Sole-named inventor and patent owner. Filed May 2018.
Electric airliner concept. Sole-named inventor and patent owner. Filed October, 2018. This concept has been selected by Wright Electric as their baseline airliner for possible use by EasyJet.
Electric airliner concept in EasyJet livery. Shown in international press articles October 29, 2018.