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Ornithopters - a technical correction
I've been on this list for years and so far nothing has come up that I knew
about until now...
> Date: Wed, 24 Jun 1998 21:53:40 PDT
> From: "Barry Kazmer" <email@example.com>
> Subject: Ornithopter
> 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.
Ornithopters have been around for over 2,000 years. Ornithopters are *NOT*
failed machines. There have literaly been hundreds of ornithopters built
which worked, unfortunately they have all been models. There simply has not
been a technology available out of which to build a man-sized working model.
> 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!
Actualy what you describe is NOT an ornithopter, as far as I am aware it has
no particular name.
A TRUE ornithopter has two wings, one on each side of a fuselage. Each wing
beats up and down during a cyclic movement that also moves the wings
front-to-back-to-front. The actual motion is quite similiar to a
breast-stroke in swimming.
The problem has been historicaly that when you get them up bigger than about
1/4 scale you can't beat the wings fast enough that the torque doesn't
destroy the material the wing is made out of. There is NOTHING in
aerodynamics which says an ornithopter can't fly, obviously somethings like
birds use this technique to good effect. Course there might be a lesson in
the fact that the largest flying birds are no bigger than about 1/4
full-grown human mass.
Stick to dinosaurs.
To understand is to invent
The Armadillo Group ,::////;::-. James Choate
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