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Old 09-22-2010, 08:37 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Human-powered flight

A University of Toronto graduate student recently broke a flight record using a human-powered ornithopter.

U of T student makes history with human-powered "flapping-wing" plane - thestar.com

I know some of you will say "big deal" or "they used a car to get him up there" or whatever, but I think this is really cool. I like the idea of breaking new ground in such technological endeavours. Watch the video here:
http://vimeo.com/15168317

More details here:
http://vimeo.com/15168011

Other footage here:
Human-Powered Ornithopter on Vimeo

What do you think?

I think this is really cool. It seems all so steampunky or something. I could imagine people launching these units from airships!
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Last edited by Baraka_Guru; 09-22-2010 at 08:40 AM..
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:09 AM   #2 (permalink)
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Very cool indeed. I can't help but wonder if a rear propeller design wouldn't work better. I guess he was going for something quite novel. And the effect is pretty cool to watch. The idea of flapping and imitating the motion of a bird.
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Old 09-22-2010, 09:45 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Well, the idea was to go with an ornithopter, which is a device that specifically uses flapping wings.

When I was a kid, I had one in the shape of a bird. You wound it up, threw it like a paper airplane, and watched it go like no paper airplane could.

This sort of thing really captures the imagination.
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:19 PM   #4 (permalink)
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this is cool .

thanks for sharing it with us
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Old 09-22-2010, 12:38 PM   #5 (permalink)
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I'm trying to see how much of it was gliding/forward momentum versus actual flying. He seemed to go quite a distance.

Really cool.
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Old 09-22-2010, 01:26 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Leto View Post
I'm trying to see how much of it was gliding/forward momentum versus actual flying. He seemed to go quite a distance.

Really cool.
They included those details:

Quote:
Todd Reichert, a PhD candidate at the university’s Institute of Aerospace Studies, piloted the wing-flapping aircraft, sustaining both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds and covering a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.
The reason they included this is that powered flight is the ability to maintain both airspeed and altitude. Gliders cannot maintain both; they can maintain altitude at the cost of airspeed, or airspeed at the cost of altitude. They fly for so long by using thermals to gain altitude, but the climb causes a lost of airspeed. All things fall, and there is no way for a plane to maintain an altitude without trading back and forth with airspeed.

Because he travelled for 19.3 seconds while maintaining altitude and airspeed, he 'flew' for 19.3 seconds, regardless of initial momentum or glide that got him to that airspeed or that altitude.
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Old 09-22-2010, 04:43 PM   #7 (permalink)
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Cool find, Baraka. Thanks. I followed the wiki link on ornithopters, then the link to the Wow Wee toy website. I now know what the nieces and nephews are getting for Christmas.

Also, Dune is becoming real! Shweet!
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Old 09-22-2010, 06:46 PM   #8 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinn View Post
They included those details:



The reason they included this is that powered flight is the ability to maintain both airspeed and altitude. Gliders cannot maintain both; they can maintain altitude at the cost of airspeed, or airspeed at the cost of altitude. They fly for so long by using thermals to gain altitude, but the climb causes a lost of airspeed. All things fall, and there is no way for a plane to maintain an altitude without trading back and forth with airspeed.

Because he travelled for 19.3 seconds while maintaining altitude and airspeed, he 'flew' for 19.3 seconds, regardless of initial momentum or glide that got him to that airspeed or that altitude.

Ahhh... Thanks Jinn (I obviously don't have an iron pinkie ring!)

that makes sense.
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Old 09-22-2010, 08:28 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Fremen View Post
I followed the wiki link on ornithopters, then the link to the Wow Wee toy website. I now know what the nieces and nephews are getting for Christmas.
Am I the only one who thinks of this first when reading ornithopters?

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Old 09-23-2010, 02:15 AM   #10 (permalink)
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not sure. Here's what I immediately thought of:

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Old 09-23-2010, 08:38 AM   #11 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by Baraka_Guru View Post
Am I the only one who thinks of this first when reading ornithopters?

I've not seen that card before, but caption is awesome; and probably true.
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