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Fixing breached levees using B-52s

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Drop pilings from 10,000 feet. These partially bury themselves into the breach, forming a row of stakes. Install metal plates (or driftwood) on one side to staunch the flow.

These pilings are forty-foot steel tubes, filled with concrete, each weighing several tons. With computer-controlled vanes on the back end, they become giant, satellite guided arrows.

EDIT: So let’s make this out of used drill pipe and delete the concrete. Put the guidance fins on a module that screws onto the back end. It weighs a thousand pounds or so (so a B52 can carry 80 of them) and has enough kinetic energy at impact to stick deep into the earth, but not so much that it disappears completely. Make a trial drop, and if it goes in too deep, fly lower.

To do this quickly for New Orleans, weld vanes on the back end of drill pipe. Carry one at a time above a levee, hanging vertically from a cable, and let drop. (These would be dumb pilings, as compared to the smart pilings above.)

ldischler, Aug 31 2005

Levee bombplug thing ~bz [bristolz, Aug 31 2005, last modified Sep 01 2005]

Fixing levees http://sfgate.com/c.../31/MNGP3EFPAJ1.DTL
get you pop-up blocker working [oxen crossing, Aug 31 2005]

B-52s http://www.canaltra...es/b-52/b-52s-7.jpg
[normzone, Sep 01 2005]

10 years later http://www.sun-sent...g22,0,1661757.story
Hurricane Andrew upgraded to a Cat 5. [reensure, Sep 04 2005]

15 years later http://www2.sptimes.com/weather/HG.6.html
People reflect on a 20+ Atlantic storm surge (my, that's a lot of water) [reensure, Sep 04 2005]

Elevation map for New Orleans http://www.gnocdc.org/maps/elevation.html
Not all of it is below sea level. [ldischler, Sep 05 2005]

The limiting velocity in falling from a great height http://naca.larc.na...920/naca-report-78/
For the example (a bomb), terminal velocity is not reached unless the bomb is dropped from at least 35,000 ft. [ldischler, Sep 05 2005]

[link]






       For real precision you could have the dam engineers in boats nearby guiding the pilings down by radio control.
wagster, Aug 31 2005
  

       It'd be quicker to crash the b-52's straight into the breech. They don't have the time to fabricate the pilings, and test the control systems. They need something now.   

       I read a decent description of what has to be done to fix a breech, based on decades of experience on California. [link]
oxen crossing, Aug 31 2005
  

       Whether you use planes or pilings, you must ensure that they are playing the last track off Led Zep IV as they go down.
wagster, Aug 31 2005
  

       There's probably less than twenty of us who know that one without having to look it up.
angel, Aug 31 2005
  

       Bad idea. Dropping a big-ass steel tube from 10,000 feet? There's no guarantee it'll even land upright, let alone anywhere near where it needs to be.   

       A better idea would be to use chinooks and lower steel plates, mounting them to known strong points along the levees on either side of the breeech.
shapu, Aug 31 2005
  

       With big fins on it, I guarantee it will land upright. These are just scaled up laser-guided bombs.
wagster, Aug 31 2005
  

       Well, with fins, it's a better idea.
shapu, Aug 31 2005
  

       Perhaps you could simply place similar pilings with helicopters, but then the rocket motor on the back of the piling would propel it downward forcefully. An earth torpedo. That way you do not have to rely on gravity to drive it home.   

       A shaped explosive on the nose of the piling could go off first, partially clearing the way. This approach has the advantage of using more explosives.
bungston, Aug 31 2005
  

       For some strange reason this thing reminds me of Project Thor, variously referred to as 'crowbars from space' and 'rods from God'. I doubt spinning the flying (or falling) pile would be much use re: boring into the ground, if it's going fast enough it should just drive straight in anyway, the hard bit is driving them to the right depth.
squigbobble, Aug 31 2005
  

       Yes, squig, I agree. Bris added the screw threads as a bit of artistic license. But who's going to complain about such an excellent artist?!
ldischler, Sep 01 2005
  

       ...reeeaaallllllyyy big fins that interlock, one to the next...
phoenix, Sep 01 2005
  

       I hate to be unsympathetic, but this is a great chance to turn the area into 'Big Easy' park and save billions in the future.
raytork, Sep 01 2005
  

       The impact of the piling is going to be enormous, and will create more damage to the existing levy than it will repair, and even if I'm wrong, you have no control of how deep the things will go. They might go through the mud and disappear, or not far enough and fall over. And you won't catch me anywhere in the same state as this project; too many guided projectiles miss their targets by too far all the time. Have fun. [+/-] (I don't trust my instincts on this one)
oxen crossing, Sep 01 2005
  

       My thought on the Idea was repair, but used less tech and less high altitude deployment. Simply, load of bricks, steel, sand, and concrete dumped from heavy lift aircraft in a somewhat narrow area within a levee breach. A barge with a target painted on it might serve some use as a point at which to aim.   

       Alternately, heavy bulldozers converge on the levee from one mile out, then what [raytork] said.
reensure, Sep 01 2005
  

       A B-52 can carry a payload of "only" about 80,000lbs. So if these weight several tons each it could only carry 15 or so. Maybe that is what you had in mind, I don't know.   

       A second problem would be that instead of remaining intact and embedding themselves in the ground, the pilings might disintegrate explosively upon impact, shredding everything in the area with projectile concrete and steel fragments. It all really depends on the speed they are traveling when they hit. Either outcome, of course, would result in a very impressive display!
furball4, Sep 01 2005
  

       Maybe a small, tough drag chute to both orient and stem the speed a bit?
bristolz, Sep 01 2005
  

       Well, it's too late now, as Lake Pontchartrain and New Orleans have equalized their levels. Fix the levee in a traditional manner, and pump out the water. Maybe next time.
oxen crossing, Sep 01 2005
  

       Better hurry, the great Mississippi is how water leaves 41% of the continental US, and to rip a quote from a website, "***A raindrop falling in Lake Itasca would arrive at the Gulf of Mexico in about 90 days.*** "
reensure, Sep 01 2005
  

       //There's probably less than twenty of us who know that one without having to look it up. angel, Aug 31 2005 //
I've been humming it all day!
gnomethang, Sep 01 2005
  

       + Funny. I had an Idea of an emergancy cellphone tower grid airdropped much the same way. (I think it evolved out of my trying to think of how to solve the same problem ... my wandering mind wandered, though.)   

       I must admit my anger at the corps for sitting on their thumbs on this one.   

       FYI The Bush Administration pushed through a 40% reduction in funds for the flood control of SE Lousiana. It was to take effect in 2006. MOfO's.   

       (If it keeps on rainin' ....)
Zimmy, Sep 02 2005
  

       The system was designed and built by the corp to withstand a cat3 storm. Cost/benefit analysis was used to drive the ultimate design load. Rarely does any organization exclusively design for worst case.
bristolz, Sep 02 2005
  

       That's true, [bris]. I know we design only for 90 to 110 MPH wind (per code). Even considering the factor of safety, I won't stay in my own house for a Hurricane past Cat 1.   

       (Very cool drawing, btw.)
Zimmy, Sep 02 2005
  

       I misread the title and spend the whole description wondering how this would help broken leaves. I was especially suprised by the New Orleans part (does nowhere else have broken leaves?). Howing reread it with the correct title in my mind I dno't know, I think that they should probably continue as they are; lots of huge sandbags and they are looking into using barges to block parts of it.
Germanicus, Sep 02 2005
  

       //I think that they should probably continue as they are; lots of huge sandbags//

Have you seen a helicopter dropping one of those sandbags into the breach? It’s most discouraging. Reminds me of a Catholic nun’s description of eternity, ie, how long I was going to roast in hell: “And when it finally fills in, even that’s not eternity.”
ldischler, Sep 02 2005
  

       I guess America now will have televised footage showing in an analogous form what it cost the Iraqi people for us to remove their government for them.
Zimmy, Sep 02 2005
  

       I have a better idea. Let's NOT rebuild New Orleans. Let's pile a couple thousand tons of Earth onto what was New orleans, and build the City on top of that. So that it ISN'T below Sea level.   

       Personally, I am never moving south. The storms deter me, the gangs and violence deter me, and the Heat deters me.   

       This just proves the world has to high of a population. There are no animals to kill for food, most people don't know how to make regular bow and arrow weapons, and survive off of wilderness. And wilderness is increasingly rare these days. We can barely take care of one major disaster in one city, imagine if something really big happens!
EvilPickels, Sep 03 2005
  

       Say it like it is [Evil]!
wagster, Sep 03 2005
  

       //pile a couple thousand tons//
I'm calculating it would take half a billion tons to raise the city by 6 feet.
ldischler, Sep 03 2005
  

       That being said, it's been done to many cities. Seattle, for example, was raised as much as 36'. Of course, it was a much smaller portion of Seattle.
Worldgineer, Sep 03 2005
  

       Disaster relief should be an exact science, not just a little better each time. <links>
reensure, Sep 04 2005
  

       ////pile a couple thousand tons// I'm calculating it would take half a billion tons to raise the city by 6 feet.//   

       Yes, I think it would. But that was just a rough guess I threw out anyway. =D   

       Or better yet, let the water come in and build the city back up on above sea level ground. Does anyone know how NO got below sea level anyway? I sure don't!   

       And, a couple billion tons of Earth isn't that much if you bring it from all over the Nation. Er, I think.
EvilPickels, Sep 04 2005
  

       I calculated 24 hours w/ 30 helicopters & heavy earth moving equipt. to unbreach the breach. Is there any thought that I'm being too unrealistic in the emergency response capabilities of a Nation that can lay waste in less than a week to all but those holding nuclear capabilites?   

       If they'd fixed the breach in 24 hours, (They could've fixed the subsequent breaches in turn), The Extremely INTENSE city of New Orleans would've lived to see another day.
Zimmy, Sep 05 2005
  

       Perhaps it could be obtained by large filters across the mouth of the Mississippi. Filter it clear. When the filters are clogged, lay them across the city like dirty paper-maiche.
bungston, Sep 05 2005
  

       sp. "breached", unless these levees are, in some odd way, trousered, or presented back-to-front.
Just listened to the Led Zep track again - awesome drum miking.
coprocephalous, Sep 05 2005
  

       //Does anyone know how NO got below sea level anyway?//

The old part of the city was built on high ground. Over the years, low-lying areas were drained to accommodate the growing population. That’s the part that is now flooded. (see link to the elevation map)

[coprocephalous]--thanks for the spelling help.
ldischler, Sep 05 2005
  

       Regarding flying higher/lower to adjust the force of impact, I don't think that that would work. The pilings would reach terminal velocity before they near the ground. Good idea but it would have to be privatized to actually be executed before 2009.
thebigo195, Sep 05 2005
  

       //The pilings would reach terminal velocity before they near the ground.//
See the link on terminal velocity of dropped bombs. There's not much drag on a bomb shape, so the impact speed can be designed to be very high, like mach 3. Which would be too much for this idea. The pilings would disappear under a hundred feet of mud.
ldischler, Sep 05 2005
  
      
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