Wing-flapping airplane - really cool


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Wing-flapping airplane - really cool

Get a load of this.

<iframe src="http://player.vimeo.com/video/15168011" width="400" height="225" frameborder="0"></iframe>

You can read an article about it here:

Human-powered aircraft makes aviation history by becoming the first to fly using flapping wings

By Niall Firth

23rd September 2010

Mail Online

From the article:

... a human-powered aircraft has made aviation history by becoming the first with flapping wings to fly continuously.

. . .

Todd Reichert, an Engineering PhD candidate at the University of Toronto Institute for Aerospace Studies (UTIAS), flew the wing-flapping device and sustained both altitude and airspeed for 19.3 seconds, covering a distance of 145 metres at an average speed of 25.6 kilometres per hour.

He flew the Snowbird by pedaling with his legs. Pulleys and ropes attached to the wings pulled down when he pedaled forward.

I wonder if there will something like a bicycle concept of this for the consumer market in the future--we could even call it a biflapple!

:)

Anyway, I think this is as cool as all get out.

Michael

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Brant:

Pretty much the way I saw it also.

I would have named it the Wax Free Icarus model for marketing purposes.

Adam

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Anyway, I think this is as cool as all get out.

Michael

Can it bank and turn?

Men did not fly successfully until they gave up the idea of wing flapping.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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Anyway, I think this is as cool as all get out.

Michael

Can it bank and turn?

Men did not fly successfully until they gave up the idea of wing flapping.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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It's a glider, Michael. It was towed aloft. Looks good, though.

--Brant

It can glide (as many air planes can) since its wing can produces lift. Apparently it can gain or keep altitude (for a limited time) without thermal lift which is what a soaring glider can do. I raised the question of whether this flyer is capable of turning and banking. A real airplane is capable of three axis control (lift, pitch and yaw) regardless of how it got up in the air.

Ba'al Chatzaf

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They are reporting this as the "first ever human powered flight" on the news.

Friggin Idiots.

A human powered flight got the airplane across the English Channel to France quite a while ago. This, of course, wasn't the first simply the most significant.

--Brant

Ba'al: It's not an airplane unless it contains a source of power plus what you said--a hot air balloon is not an airplane nor any other kind of gas-bag

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Isn't the source of power the pedals?

Yes, for flapping the wings. The video shows the aircraft is towed to get aloft, and the wings don't flap until what looks like near the plane's maximum height.

There is a paragraph on Wikipedia about the aircraft here.

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Brant,

Isn't the source of power the pedals?

Just because the pedal-flapping mechanism doesn't work for very long doesn't mean it doesn't work at all at providing some power.

I have no doubt improvements are going to follow and this is going to develop. That's what technology does.

Michael

You'd have to have two identical machines side by side with two identical humans weight-wise one flapping and the other not and see what if any difference in performance there is. For all we know performance is degraded by the flapping.

--Brant

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Now it is the lead story on Yahoo!

A Canadian university student has done what Leonardo da Vinci had only dreamt of: Piloted a human-powered "wing-flapping" plane! Called an ornithopter, and the inspiration for modern day helicopters, the machine was first sketched by da Vinci way back in 1485 and never actually built.

Todd Reichert, an engineering student at the University of Toronto, made history by sustaining flight in his ornithopter -- named Snowbird -- for 19.3 seconds and covering 475.72 feet. Snowbird is made from carbon fiber, balsa wood, and foam. The 92.59 pound vehicle maintained an average speed of 15.91 miles per hour.

Human-Powered Flight from U of T Engineering on Vimeo.

Todd and his plane made the accomplishment on August 2, 2010, at the Great Lakes Gliding Club in Tottenham, Ontario. The crew kept the achievement quiet for nearly two months to get the data finalized. Todd and some 30 other students had been working on the plane for 4 years.

guest_bloggers-393785225-1285280900.jpg?ymFiW0DDVqp7TeTx

(Photo via Todd Reichert)

The team went through 65 practice flights, and sadly, the aircraft will probably never be flown again.

[ Vote on Weird Human-Powered Transport Options over at Planet Green! ]

Todd endured a year-long exercise program in which he lost 18 lbs. to prep for the flight. Because the plane has a wingspan of 104 feet -- which is comparable to that of a Boeing 737 -- the pilot had to pedal with his legs all while pulling on the wings to flap at the same time. And he had to do it fast enough to fly!

guest_bloggers-962313453-1285280901.jpg?ymFiW0DDQ_rlREm3

(Photo via Todd Reichert)

"Our original goal was to complete this sort of original aeronautical dream to fly like a bird," said 28-year-old Reichert yesterday. "The idea was to fly under your own power by flapping your wings."

The flight, witnessed by the Federation Aeronautique Internationale, is the first officially confirmed flight in an ornithopter.

"Thousands of people have tried to do this for hundreds of years," said Reichert. "To be honest, I don't think it's really set in yet that I'm the one who has been successful. I was pushing with everything I had. When I finally let go and landed, I was hit with a breadth of excitement. It was pretty wild."

I bet it was, Todd!

Follow @jerryjamesstone on Twitter or friend him on Facebook.

More on solar planes, blimps, and human-powered transportation:

Edited by Selene
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Isn't the source of power the pedals?

Yes, for flapping the wings. The video shows the aircraft is towed to get aloft, and the wings don't flap until what looks like near the plane's maximum height.

There is a paragraph on Wikipedia about the aircraft here.

I can only envisage this as a glider with flapping wings.

The wing section has aerofoil design I see, which is what gives the plane its initial lift (when towed); but after that I don't see the wings providing thrust, as well as lift - as a bird's wings do.

Design-wise, the wing would have to be much broader (which would create drag problems), and be able to swivel on upstroke, and downstroke.

It's disappointing, and even moreso that it has been so rapturously received.

The Tree Hugger types probably rave about it as anti-tech!

This is nothing as great as the Gossamer Albatross' flight over the Channel. The combination of tech and muscle power, but using a big, slow, propeller, is the way to go.

Good try, but no cigar.

Tony

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The beginning of the video starts with the following quote:

When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right.

When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.

--Clarke's First Law

I don't know which part of science I like the best, the marvelous wonders it has produced, or the marvelous wondering...

Michael

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The wear and tear on the parts is the design's downfall. A bird or bats cells and muscles are constantly being regenerated, while the flapping human, powered airplane's cells are not.

But still, that was fun to watch.

Peter

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I don't know why he assumes that some guy won't just take off by flapping his arms hard enough some day. What proof does he have that such a thing is impossible?

Arms are terrible air foils. The Kreb cycle* cannot produce enough energy to provide lift for a normally muscled and boned human being. One cannot make a Gucci Bag from a pig's tuchas.

Ba'al Chatzaf

*see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kreb_Cycle

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