Half a croissant, on a plate, with a sign in front of it saying '50c'
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Human powered water copter

Sprinkler like, powered by pedals, water from hose on lake
  (+1, -4)
(+1, -4)
  [vote for,

Sprinkler like power can raise person in air. Hose goes down to lake. Just enough to hover (say 5 to 10 meters up), and win the manpowered helicopter prize.

Prior art: patent number 4,274,591 for toy, and Halfbakery idea: [[Flying Toy]] here on HB by [KCSolutions123].

pashute, May 18 2008

Water propelled hover device http://www.google.c...AAAAEBAJ&dq=4274591
on Google Patent Search [baconbrain, May 19 2008]

Flying Toy Flying_20Toy
Non-descriptive name, derivative idea. [baconbrain, May 19 2008]

Decavitator Human-Powered Hydrofoil http://lancet.mit.edu/decavitator/
These guys had every opportunity to drive their watercraft with a water jet, or an underwater propellor, but chose an air propellor. Seems relevant to me. [baconbrain, May 20 2008]

Steamboatwilly http://steamboatwil...vercraft/about.html
Strewth ! A human powered hovercraft that works ! [8th of 7, May 20 2008]

For [baconbrain] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tipjets
Tipjets do work, just not particularly well... [neutrinos_shadow, May 21 2008]

JetLev, the externally powered water jetpack I'm alluding to in my [long] anno below. http://www.jetlev.com/
Could only be cooler with the addition of Fricken lasers. [Custardguts, May 27 2009]

Flugtag (not Flugentag, sorry my mistake) http://www.redbullf...gusa.com/rules.aspx
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kI7ujwuKwzE [pashute, Sep 15 2009]

(?) The JetPack got a more impressive image http://www.popsci.c...ter-powered-jetpack
The reason to coming back to this idea [pashute, Apr 03 2011]


       Um, no.   

       If you used the water jets to power very large rotors by reaction, still no.   

       Direct mechanical drive just barely works in human-powered helicopters. The weight of the water would be a bad thing.   

       "A high power-to-weight ratio is needed, such aircraft must be light and must have efficient rotors."
baconbrain, May 19 2008

       So a human powered water rocket?
MisterQED, May 19 2008

       The thrust of the (water) spray seems to be much more effective than air thrust from a helicopters propeller.
pashute, May 20 2008

       Maybe if you pedaled for about a day and a half to compress air into a tank to push the water.
nomocrow, May 20 2008

       The spinning spray would not, i repeat NOT, be able to lift the weight of a human.
WcW, May 20 2008

       It's the old reaction mass problem. You're describing an Newtonian reaction drive. The problem is that along with the ship and its payload you have to lift all the reaction mass as well.   

       An airscrew uses the surrounding air as its reaction mass (working fluid), therefore only fuel is needed.
8th of 7, May 20 2008

       And, even though this design gets water out of the lake, it still has a boatload in the copter at any one time. Plus it has to lift all the water up the stated 10 meters, which is a lot of work.
baconbrain, May 20 2008

       Some basic physics ....   

       The pilot's going to be - for the sake of argument - 80 Kg. With composites and light alloys, the airframe and mechanism (pumps, pipes and nozzles) might come in at about another 20 - 30 Kg (a racing bike is 10Kg or a bit less).   

       Add to that the suction hose - 50mm internal diameter and 10m long - that's about 20 litres (so 20 kilos) plus the water in the nozles, pump and pipework.   

       Now, kiddes, what is the specific impulse required to keep 120 Kg hovering ? Assume g is 10 m s-2. Write on both sides of the paper. Close cover before striking. The altitude of water copters can go down as well as up.
8th of 7, May 20 2008

       physics says "NO!", but I like it...
plynthe, May 21 2008

       Physics does NOT say no.   

       The hose can be thin, the pump can be floating (so outside the weight of the heli!!) and there is rotor movement at the same time.   

       Last but not least: Your not considering the energy released by the evaporating (spray) water, and the extra large volume of air displaced by the spray, which would need a lot of material if it was wings. Since this mass is NOT attached to the helicopter anymore, its just causing elevation without weighing down the helicopter.   

       So this is extra surge power from your body via pedals/levers to the air.
pashute, May 21 2008

       In any case it would win the Flugentag, because everyone around it will get wet.
pashute, May 21 2008

       And thanks to 8th I have an extra HalfOvendea: The floating part can have a spray creating intake, so that I get spray not water in the pipes.   

       (Besides disagreeing with 8ths 30kg airframe, I don't need a bike, just the propeller and a harness. No chain either, just hydraulics, 9 mm in 3 lightweight pipes, 10 m is 10k mm, so thats 90k mm2, or 1 Liter, weight: 1 KG.
pashute, May 21 2008

       //Your not considering the energy released by the evaporating (spray) water// Of course we're not, because there is absolutely *NO* energy being released by evaporating water in this case.   

       (The only way the water would be "evaporating" is if you operated this in Hell's bottommost basement, and even then, it would be absorbing the energy, not releasing it. Unless you're positing a magical, zero-mass, high-pressure, anti-thermodynamic boiler system placed just below the pilot...?)
lurch, May 21 2008

       This is ignoring basic hydraulics/hydrodynamics. If the pipes are really narrow, the volume of water is decreased, yes, but the resistance to flow is increased. That is so obvious to some folks that they haven't bothered to mention it, but it evidently isn't known to others, and needs to be pointed out.   

       It takes effort to push water through pipes, and MUCH more effort is needed as the pipes get skinnier. Skinnier pipes need faster flow for the same volume, and everything goes to hell, quick.   

       The description isn't real clear. Is the plan to make a helicopter rotor crossed with a lawn sprinkler, so the reaction from the horizontal water jets makes the rotor blades turn, and the rotor does the lifting? Or is it more of a water rocket, with the jets vertical, the reaction supporting the craft directly, with no rotor needed? Or is it some halfway thing?   

       I think this is supposed to be something like taping rotor blades to the arms of a spinning-type lawn sprinkler. But that still won't work, as I said in the first anno.   

       Throwing the water out in a jet is pushing against the inertia of the water--you have to move a little very fast, or a lot somewhat slower. Putting the water into a hydraulic motor, say, is pushing against metal attached to the structure of what you are trying to move.   

       Another way to look at this is to imagine the simplest HP helicopter possible. Get your pedaler person to lie on their side, with their feet against a drum on the hub of the rotor blade. Tell them to push the drum around with their feet. That's as direct as it can get--their feet push the blade around. If you were to stop the rotor somehow, the pedaller would notice it.   

       Now, make another copter with pedals, a pump, hoses and water jets. The feet push a pump, which pushes water through pipes, and pushes water out in a jet that pushes the rotor blade around through reaction. That's needlessly otiose, and rather heavy. And, if the blade was stopped, the pedaller would never notice--his work is not going directly into the rotor.   

       Also notice that reaction-driven helicopter rotors have been thought of, but almost never used. One of the common scams of the internet is selling plans for little helicopters driven by ramjets, tipjets or pressure jets. They don't work.   

       Reaction waterjets aren't used anywhere but in the lawn sprinklers and little toys like that cited, for good reason. The rule of thumb for jets is much like that for pipes--the littler the nozzle, the greater the needed speed and the worse the efficiency--for much the same reasons.
baconbrain, May 21 2008

       Google doesn't like Flugentag.
normzone, May 21 2008

       Flugtag is the Red Bull contest where people run funny vehicles off a pier to see how far they fly.
baconbrain, May 21 2008

       [baconbrain] - see link about tipjets (although I agree, the cheap ones advertised at the back of science magazines and such are crap).
neutrinos_shadow, May 21 2008

       Tipjets can work, yes, which is what I meant when I said "that reaction-driven helicopter rotors have been thought of, but almost never used".   

       Tipjets are very tricky, but they are one of those "magical technology" icons that folks think will get a poorly-designed, poorly-built POS off the ground.   

       Those crap designs are bogus, they are what "don't work".   

       Thanks for the link.
baconbrain, May 21 2008

       OK [lurch] your right - it TAKES IN heat energy to evaporate plus energy from my thrust, causing it to "mist" and enabling tiny drops with large surface area to get the heat energy from the surrounding air, and all this turns the water into a large volume of gas (vapor), which is giving work (or "releasing energy" to our little airborne project).
pashute, May 26 2009

       And here's a thought experiment: If a sprinkler and a hose go airborne, because a pump on the ground is pushing enough water through it to get it going (and assuming its not just the hose becoming inflexible), why wouldn't a pump powered by a human do the same. And why can't the pump be inside the airborne vehicle?
pashute, May 26 2009

       I think the answer is in the solution to 8th physics problem. I think it has to do with the power a human can generate. Certainly I could imagine a vehicle of your design powered by a gas engine lifting off out of the lake and flying up to the extent of the hose.   

       Then falling back down until the hose enters the water again. Then surging skyward again. Back and forth. It would be cool.   

       Also on a sunny day it would probably appear to be riding a rainbow.
bungston, May 26 2009

       Try dropping the hose of a running wet/dry vac into a tub of water. You'll find out something about its tendency to "surge skyward" :)
lurch, May 26 2009

       //why wouldn't a pump powered by a human do the same. And why can't the pump be inside the airborne vehicle?//   

       Look, basic kinematics are definitely a few years behind me, but [8th] was nice enough to give you a hint way up there, so maybe I'll write this out in pink crayon, in big font.   

       Taking all sorts of assumptions (all of which are in your favour here, don't ask me to include factors for nozzle efficiency, pump efficiency, etc) - and assuming a 100kg load, - you require a force of 1000N to keep your dude levitated. Water being ~1000kg/m^3, we can solve using basic kinematics for flowrate and velocity of your water jet.   

       Three solutions, to illustrate your problem.   

       1) 1000kg/s flow at 1m/s. This'll require an ideal pump power of 500W.   

       2) 100kg/s flow at 10m/s. This'll require an ideal pump power of 5kW.   

       3) 10 kg/s flow at 100m/s. Pump energy 50kW.   

       I think this tells a story for itself. If you think you can muster up 500W continuous, go for it. Problem is, at 1000kg/s of flowrate, your skinny little inlet hoses will be screaming, and you might want to multiply the required power by a factor of say, 4 or more to make up for that. If you use bigger inlet hoses, you'll be carrying more weight, etc.   

       Throwing in stinky half rotten red herrings about magical reverse entropy steam generation just doesn't help your cause. Phase change energy requirements are huge, and it's only by reversing entropy that you'll get your water stream to absorb enough energy to vapourise.   

       Lastly, I have seen on one of those extreme machine, or similar shows, a similar device, that was very much not human powered. It was a raft, with a big petrol powered pump, with big 4" hoses leading up to the pilot who wore a rig similar to those rocket backpack thingies, but which had aimable and adjustable nozzles that directed the water downward. Apparently someone set a world record by flying this baby across the english channel, or something like that. Let me tell you the pump was roaring, much more power than your athletic pilot could muster.
Custardguts, May 26 2009

       [linky] -JetLev. Definitely not human powered.
Custardguts, May 27 2009

       [edited] Just saw the JetLev on YouTube and was going to link to it. How do I set emails to notify me when an idea of mine received an anno?   

       Thanks [+guts] (and what does your nik mean?)   

       My proposal is a "sprinkler" type of action, whereas this was more like a water jet-pack. (youtube for funny japanese water powered jet pack) So, what happens if a rotor is used, releasing mist while turning. Just because no one tried it, doesn't make your postulations that this is a red herring, any less stinky than mine. Phase change energy requirements are not huge: Hints: ==References== * [[Evaporation]] * [[Water Spray]] * [[Cold Vaporizer]]...   

       [Edit] ----- ---- --- ------ ---- ------
Reading again, custard guts is probably correct. But now I have a better idea. Use a portable pulser pump. The air pumped undersea would cause hydraulic pressure to pick me up... ok, I give up.

       Posted originally Sept 15 2009.
Edited April 3 2011.
pashute, Sep 15 2009

       A kind of upside-down helicopter, with its blades in the water and the pilot up in the air, might work. Not the same as [pashute]'s idea, but for the reasons given by [Custard] et al., probably as close as you can get.   

       It should be more achievable than an aerial helicopter, just as human-powered hydrofoil watercraft are easier to build and power than human-powered aeroplanes.
spidermother, Apr 06 2011


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