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Re: Ornithopter

In a message dated 98-06-25 03:06:23 EDT, kazmer@hotmail.com writes:

<< I see the term Ornithopter has reared its ugly head again. 
 Those of us that have a strong interest in the history of 
 aviation are very familiar with Ornithopters.It is a 
 FAILED flying machine from the 1920's. It had an 
 airplanes' fuselage and a large series of whirling 
 circular banded blades that pumped up and down vigorously 
 while spinning and the whole result was the air (?) craft 
 hopped in place before falling into many pieces. How did 
 this term come to mean Flight of any kind? What was wrong 
 with flying or powered flight? Eschew obfuscation! >>

Ornithoptering is the kind of flying that extant birds do, as distinct from
the kind of flying that, say, flying squirrels or flying fish do. Just because
people couldn't build a working mechanical ornithopter doesn't mean nature
can't make a living ornithopter. The term "flight" is too general, and I've
had problems with people misinterpreting what I've written because I haven't
been specific enough about the kind of flight that pre-_Archaeopteryx_ flying
theropods might have been capable of. I am, therefore, eschewing obfuscation
by using the better-defined term "ornithoptering" when describing "powered
flight" or "flapping flight," neither of which is necessarily ornithoptering.