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Go Fly a Kite

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Against the Wind:   September 19, 1902. Kitty Hawk, North Carolina. “Side view of Dan Tate, left, and Wilbur Wright flying the 1902 glider as a kite.

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  • ghostsniper June 30, 2022, 6:32 PM

    popsicle sticks and tissue paper

    • LP June 30, 2022, 6:45 PM

      Popsicle sticks and tissue paper with a lot of scientific knowledge behind it. Not just playing in the wind.

      • ghostsniper July 1, 2022, 4:53 AM

        I bet they played in the wind as children. One thing leads to another. At about age 8 my dad showed me how to build a hexagon shaped kite out of sticks and newspapers. I’ve built many kites since, and even airplanes and gliders. It was a phase I went through, from playing in the wind.

        • LP July 1, 2022, 4:56 AM

          Yes, I see what you mean ghostsniper, good point!

  • Dirk July 1, 2022, 9:03 AM

    Amazing actually, even back then they understood the concept of moving flight controls. Follow the strings aft, and forward, actually controls the flight surfaces for lift and directional changes.

  • Ray Van Dune July 1, 2022, 5:34 PM

    There is great significance in the fact that the lanyards rise almost vertically from the mens’ hands to the frame of the aircraft. This means that the ratio of lift divided by drag of the aircraft is very high, something the Wrights optimized using their bicycle-mounted test rig and wind tunnel.

    You will note that a typical kite-string trails off to leeward at a fairly acute angle by comparison, indicating a ratio of perhaps only 3 to 1, compared to this glider’s ratio of perhaps 15 to 1! Years ago, I owned a glider with a ratio of 40 to 1. Today, 60 to 1 and more is not uncommon. Getting such hyper-efficient machines to even land is not easy!

    Now compare this glider to Otto Lilienthal’s hang-glider, shown here a few weeks ago. Otto’s ratio was better than a kite, but actually not nearly as good as that of this Wright glider. Otto mushed through the air by comparison, and thus would not have been able to soar or gain altitude in rising air currents like the Wrights could (a bit).

    Unfortunately, Otto focused on using his body weight for control, and thus was unable to use long wings for high lift/drag. The Wrights focused on maximizing the lift over drag ratio for sustained flight, and warped the wing for control. The Wrights then moved on to the problem of generating thrust for flight. Otto never achieved sufficient control, and in the end crashed fatally.

  • ghostsniper July 1, 2022, 7:33 PM

    It was once argued that a running Piper Cub sitting on a moving conveyor belt could take off without actually moving forward. This was in alt.architecture about 1998.

    • Hyland July 1, 2022, 7:59 PM

      The same condition would occur when the wind was coming in straight, fast and steady. I would slowly walk to the mountain edge and then without any effort forward whatsoever the hang glider would lift me straight up. It was flying already and only a slight tip of the nose downward and I am airborne.

      • ghostsniper July 2, 2022, 4:43 AM

        It was explained that the Piper is a unique design in that the engine and it’s placement is such that the propeller can cause enough airflow over the wing to create the necessary lift to become airborne. I’ve seen Pipers do things no other plane can do because of how they are designed.

    • Hyland July 3, 2022, 6:49 AM

      Dr. Carrie Madej describes how the little Cessna she and her boyfriend were passengers… suddenly stopped flying. Everybody is in the ICU but recovering. She is also a pilot and displays a keen understanding of what might have occurred. I’ve watched videos of Carrie utilizing an electron microscope showing creatures that appear to have a will of their own thriving within the clot shots. https://tinyurl.com/yfrn66xa