Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
h a l f b a k e r y
Incidentally, why isn't "spacecraft" another word for "interior design"?

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Apologies in advance, because this makes no sense even to me.
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Imagine a squid sitting on top of a very big fish. Bear this image in mind, because I’ll come back to it later.

I wish I could say that I saw this in a dream and just had to post it, because that would at least have given me some kind of excuse. Anyway – what this idea relies on is pumping some kind of liquid into various hollow structures under great pressure, so that forms that were loose and flexible suddenly become absolutely rigid and stronger than iron. No sniggering at the back there.

Now, helicopters are often compared to dragonflies and the like, but I’ve always thought that their main structure can be easily thought of in fishy terms. Eyes=cockpit, lateral fins=those wee stubby wing-like things that Airwolf had, tail=well, tail. I’ve been scouring Google Images for the perfect fish type to illustrate this theory, but it’s proving hard to find. The Angler fish has the required bulbosity at the head end to accommodate a fairly spacious cockpit, but the further aft you go the less aerodynamic it gets. Sticklebacks have a better tail, but the front end is a bit too two-dimensional for my purposes.

So – make a helicopter that looks like a fish. Clever engineers could even design a suitably camouflaged tail rotor that looks like a barnacle when it’s spinning at full thwup. So far, so good.

Now, here comes the squid. And I’m guessing you’re probably slightly ahead of me already. The head of the squid is there for purely aesthetic effect, but its long, pink tentacles currently draped over the body of the fish are the real business end of this contraption. Start the fish up, and those loose and lazy tentacles suddenly start to stiffen as the magic liquid I’ve yet to invent is forced into them: they start to rotate, slowly at first, but soon they’re a pink suckery blur as they flash round and round above the fish’s glassy-eyed head.

And then it’s up, up and away, swimming through the clouds as if the sky were sea.

But what’s the point? An airline passenger glances out of the window and decides he’d probably best not order another drink from the stewardess. Frolicking far from home, a lone dolphin flips from the water and gets a new story to tell his mates that they’ll never believe. But, far out across the ocean, the pilot of the Fishicopter points the nose of his craft downward, and suddenly cuts the engine.

Immediately, the pressures that held everything rigid drop, and, as the ‘copter meets the water, the rotors are now like strips of ribbon billowing behind it. As well as the rotors deflating, rigid spars in the tail and the stubby fins suddenly also become flexible, and a complex series of motors give the sub-aqua-aeronaut full control over his newly underwater vehicle. With a flick of its tail and a horrendously drag-inducing waggle of flaccid tentacles, the Fishicopter takes to this new medium like – well, like you’d expect.

When the time comes, a mighty rush to the surface and a timely press of the ignition button will cause a Shamu-type jump to turn into another (slightly soggy) helicopter flight.

Squid willing.

lostdog, Mar 14 2006

Angler Fish http://www.solaster...mb/lophiiformes.htm
Imagine this, but with rotor blades. Sort of. [lostdog, Mar 14 2006]

Scribbly Illustration http://photos1.blog...600/fishicopter.jpg
Wee sketch. Not very good. Took me ages to draw that bloody pencil at the bottom left... [lostdog, Mar 14 2006]

Fish-copters sans squid. http://images.googl...hcopter&sa=N&tab=wi
[2 fries shy of a happy meal, Mar 15 2006]

This is the only justification for an idea like this http://www.thewildw...religion/Quest.html
[jellydoughnut, Mar 19 2006]


       Perhaps a spermicopter?
bristolz, Mar 14 2006

       Sperm whale zepplins are truly a whole other subject, Briz. Believe me, you don't want to get me started.
lostdog, Mar 14 2006

       So just after the 'copter hits the water - who pilots it? Since the original guy has just died of a shattered spine.
fridge duck, Mar 14 2006

       Sorry - not being too clear in my description. Helicopters are quite good at hovering, so I envisaged more of a gentle kiss with the ocean rather than a spine-jarring splashdown.
lostdog, Mar 14 2006

       Didn't read the idea but 'squid willing' did it for me. [+]
etherman, Mar 14 2006

       Well, which is it? The photos or your drawing or what?   

       And, in your drawing, it appears that there's a symbiotic second fish atop the first, yes?
bristolz, Mar 14 2006

       A combination of all three. I'm not very good at drawing squid. I knew I should have drawn a blurry sketch of the squid with all tentacles a-spinning.   

       Now that I look at it, it does look a little bit like the squid is getting a little bit too symbiotic with the fish...
lostdog, Mar 15 2006

       Helicopters already have floppy rotor blades--they are stiffened-up by centrifugal force. If you put pressurized liquid into a long, skinny sack and then spin it up, you are going have some incredible outward forces. I'll give you a croissant just on the chance that I could ever watch this being tried.   

       Cute idea, though. (On a very slightly related note, we used to store gyrocopter rotor blades in long, skinny sacks that were actually used chocolate filters.)
baconbrain, Mar 15 2006

methinksnot, Mar 15 2006

       Sounds like something Spongebob Squarepants would use.
normzone, Mar 15 2006

       Of course, there should be luminous bits running along the edges of each rotor blade/tentacle.
lostdog, Mar 15 2006

       Many helicopters have floppy blades but some are rigid rotor such as the BO105 and others. (Yes, [texticle], I do happen to know rotorcraft very well).
bristolz, Mar 15 2006

       That would be my assumption. I've been fooled before though.
Texticle, Mar 16 2006

       What's is this device made of? Why is this device made of?
jellydoughnut, Mar 19 2006

       I wish I could answer those penetrating questions, jelly. I wish I knew.   

       I heard there were a lot of fish in the Melbourne Commonwealth Games opening ceremony, and someone mentioned helicopters as well. Obviously, helicopters look a lot like fish, and a squid would make a natural rotor, so... Aw, hell. There's no excusing it. Who am I trying to kid.
lostdog, Mar 19 2006

       Now where did I put that box of frogs?
Arnold Grunchfuttock, Apr 03 2006

       I suppose a buncopter would get boned here.
pashute, May 21 2008


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