Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Hey! Look up!

As a pilot, sometimes I want to signal friends on the ground to say, “Hi, I’m up here. Take a look up.”
  [vote for,

The only way to do that is to cut the throttle or the mixture. I am always wary of cutting the throttle due to the possibility of carburetor icing. Rocking the wings only works if my friends happen to be looking up. What is a pilot to do?

Enter the new Aero-Horn. It is fitted to the underside of the wing and is simply a horn, facing aft, with a small funnel facing into the airstream. A small solenoid is activated by a button on the yoke that, when pressed, opens the throat of the funnel to the oncoming air and makes a loud racket. By pressing the button and releasing it, a pilot can make multiple honking sounds.

We’ve all heard the expression “as useless as a horn on an airplane”. This would be for low level signaling only as an airplane at altitude would be unable to be heard.

The default position would be closed and when flying it would normally be silent. The drag penalty would be minor.

Klaatu, Feb 11 2004

The Moller Flying Car http://www.moller.com/purchase/
[theircompetitor, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

The Red Arrows http://www.raf.mod.uk/reds/home.html
This lot never have a problem with making people look up. [DrBob, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 06 2004]

All you need is the horn now. http://www.ultralig...mages/lilbreeze.jpg
The "Breezy" [Klaatu, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

real life horn on an actual plane can be heard for miles http://bcwildfire.c...FireSuppression.pdf
These "Warblers" precede water bombers [Brian the Painter, Jan 05 2013]


       I like to break mach 1, that usually gets their attention. (ok, so I'm no pilot but I would if I could) Here's a fluffy snack for your flight.
Worldgineer, Feb 11 2004

       If you can fly low enough to buzz them, they'll probably look up anyway. That's probably illegal though. I like the airhorn as a way to freak the groundlings. "What's wrong with that plane?" +
DonBirnam, Feb 11 2004

       Hi Buzz, oops...
po, Feb 11 2004

       How about making the airflow through the horn simulate the 'wheeeeee' sound made in movies by a falling bomb. Primed by the noise of the engine, this would make your suddenly ex-friends run for their lives, or for the nearest supply of Charmin. +
phlogiston, Feb 11 2004

       there's a lot of pilots by the look of the croissants, my dear!
po, Feb 11 2004

       Klaatu, you just need a more distinctive vehicle.
theircompetitor, Feb 11 2004

       Mount the "Buzzing Bun Croissant Siren" under a wing. The croissant shape gives it respectable aerodynamic properties and lets friends know you're up and about.
Letsbuildafort, Feb 11 2004

       Water balloons, my friend. Water balloons.
lostdog, Feb 11 2004

       Install a Super-Soaker and play Manfred von Richthofen (or Snoopy if you prefer that). A good squirt will get their attention and they will wonder for the rest of their lives if it was really just water.
kbecker, Feb 11 2004

       Hold onto one end and drop a roll of toilet paper.
FarmerJohn, Feb 11 2004

       I think kbecker just came up with an interesting use for crop-dusters, too.
reap, Feb 11 2004

       Or just bomb them with actual carpet. I'm sure they'll appreciate the irony as they're suddenly smothered by a particularly luxurious shagpile. How to Lose Friends and Suffocate People.
lostdog, Feb 11 2004

       ("sand crackers (throwdowns)"? Not familiar with either of these. Same as a "throw rug"?)
half, Feb 11 2004

       Just rev the engine down and up a few times. That should attract the attention of anyone within earshot. I presume you're in a prop plane.
hangingchad, Feb 11 2004

       If you incorporated a parabolic dish, it might be possible to target your honking more precisely. Attaching a laserpointer would facilitate this. If you had a computer to keep the dish targeted to a particular area as you flew over, you might even be able to speak directly to a person standing on the ground. For all that trouble you had better say something pretty good.
bungston, Feb 11 2004

       Sounds great. Wish I could fly...
spacecadet, Feb 11 2004

       You could siphon a little fuel out of the tank, direct it into a bell kind of like a rocket engine, and detonate it. It'd make a neat BANG that would be pretty directional.
Madcat, Feb 11 2004

       Hello fellow pilots. First, FAR 91.119 (Minimum safe altitudes) states: "The regulation states, first of all, that except for landing and takeoff, altitudes must be high enough to allow an emergency landing without creating a hazard to people or property on the ground. Then it covers congested areas, such as open-air assemblies, cities, towns, or settlements, where pilots must stay 1,000 feet above the highest obstacle within 2,000 feet of the aircraft. In uncongested areas, pilots may descend to 500 feet, and they may go lower in sparsely populated areas if the aircraft remains 500 feet from people, vessels, vehicles, or structures."   

       [DonBirnam] This idea is not intended for "buzzing". Quite the contrary, if I can get someone's attention from altitude, then I do not need to go below a safe altitude.   

       For the others who suggest dropping things from their planes: You may want to rethink that idea after you have invested USD$10,000 into building flight time and another USD$30,000 for a high time aircraft. You will have your ticket yanked in a heartbeat.   

       [ub] The thought picture of dropping 20,000 sidewalk crackers out of the plane for "carpet bombing" has been stored away for that last flight when the FAA pulls my ticket for blindness. What a way to go!   

       [hangingchad] Unless you are flying an injected engine, when you "gun" the engine, you are risking carburetor icing which can totally ruin your day.   

       [spacecadet] If you can drive a standard-shift automobile and you aren't blind or have a debilitating illness, you can fly.   

       [Madcat] Afterburners?
Klaatu, Feb 12 2004

       //which can totally ruin your day//   

       And quite a few of the following days, too.
Detly, Feb 12 2004

       Shhhhhh...We don't want to scare away future pilots.
Klaatu, Feb 12 2004

       Like: "Has anyone seen the runway?"
silverstormer, Feb 12 2004

       I'm glad to see someone posted the minimum altitude rules. Seems any closer than that it should be no holds barred for us groundlings. We'd get some peace and quiet down here with a light distribution of homemade surface to air missiles.   

       On a less hostile note you might give friends a tuned rod for their yards that sympathetically vibrates to your particular engines idiosyncrasies... This could trigger the Look up! alert. (or you might need to add a tuned strut to your airframe to generate a personal tone(s) for the purpose.)
DadManWalking, Feb 12 2004

       [DMW] I had actually thought of that idea and think it has a more subtle quality to it, but figured that to get that STC'd (Supplemental Type Certificate) by the FAA would cost millions and take years. Since there is no possibility of radio interference with the Aero-Horn, I opted for the low-tech approach.
Klaatu, Feb 13 2004

       Is there a Dukes of Hazard version? Yeeee ha!
Fishrat, Feb 13 2004

       For those who don’t know history as well as I do, the creator of Superman *was* going to give him a horn to get people’s attention. Heck, how else would people notice such a small flying object? No bigger than a gnat, really. The man was a down-to-earth superhero (so to speak), so he couldn’t very well be yelling at people—“hey, look up here...yeah, I mean you, buddy...look at me up here...flying!”—even though he had a super voice. Well, he must have had one, right?
ldischler, Feb 13 2004

       A super clown nose?
Detly, Feb 13 2004

       The more I think about it, the more I like the idea of chuffing great big jetliners going around making very loud *PARP* noises using one of those old-style car hooters.
PeterSilly, Feb 13 2004

       If only you could make an aerodynamic bicycle bell...
Detly, Feb 13 2004

       I've always thought that it would be fun to ride around in an open cockpit aircraft with a large horn (something like Harpo Marx) and scare the bejeebers out of folks on the ground. <link>
Klaatu, Feb 13 2004

       Hey [klaatu]   

       My vibrating thingies (ok no craks you weirdos) were not radio emmiters but plain old sound generators. But tuned to particular frequencies. It would be irritating i suspect to have it droning away so it would need a dampner (most of the time it would be dampned) and possibly a kapo to signal special friends separately.
DadManWalking, Feb 14 2004

       I once tied to mi hanglider control bar a large air horn, a compressor and a small battery. When flying ridge lift I sneaked behind and over friends, then scared the bejezuz aut of them with the horn. A hanglider is quite quiet, only the air whisting past, so it was quite a shock. I recommend it. Croissant on the rocks.
finflazo, May 08 2004

       I'm surprised no-one's mentioned "Ride of the Valkyries" yet.
lostdog, May 08 2004

       funnily enough, I did mention it to Klaatu but he has not got back to me.
po, May 08 2004

       In British Columbia, air tankers are always preceded by a smaller lead plane (bird dog) over the drop zone. The bird-dog plane will make a pass and warn you of an impending retardant drop and completion of drops as follows: Warbler (yelping sound) means an impending drop. Clear the area and take cover. NEVER TAKE COVER BEHIND A TREE OR SNAG.   

       taken from link above   

       Hide in front of tree BTW
Brian the Painter, Jan 05 2013


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