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Pheasants evolved super long tail feathers both as a way of
bursting out of thickets to escape predators and as a way for
males to show off their twitch response muscles. The end
pheasant tail feathers get really thin compared to the base.
When you twitch a disembodied tai feather around
feel how they give power by sliding easily into a "skein" in
air and then resisting torque so that the pheasant can sort
leverage itself up into the air.
So my idea is to just extend this for humans. Have 4 really
long, thin, flat artificial feathers reproportioned to human
size, attached to each apendage -- made out of carbon fiber,
but I don't think you would even need that strength, so that
human could leverage themselves into the air.
Successful man-powered flight for 20 miles [david_scothern, Feb 19 2005]
Vortical Flow Research Lab for Basepair
[JesusHChrist, Feb 19 2005]
||I don't think it would work. Human powered flight is impossible at one standard gravity. We simply are too large and don't have the muscles. If we decide to use large wings, the air resistance becomes too great, and it is a hang glider. If they are too small, you sink like a stone.
||At least, one person. If you had 6 people, rotating gears, to make a helicopter type thing, it could work.
||Desert -- we have the muscles to climb stairs -- so
climbing air is just a matter of efficiently transferring our
energy to the air.
||Ahhh. "Efficiently" Alas, t is not true. While climbing stairs, you have something underneath you to hold you up. If you stop, you do not fall.
||As with flying, you do fall if you stop. Climbing stairs is just a matter of going up. Flying is a matter of going up and staying there without rest, all the while fighting gravity with nothing to hold you up but your increeasingly tired muscles.
||Una -- People aren't built like birds though, most of our
power is in our legs. So we would need leg wings.
Actually we would need whatever aparatus would let all
our muscles work democratically to transfer their energy
into the air to support us.
||Birds may have started off as 4
winged dinosaurs -- recent discoveries -- with powerful leg
wings but evolved away from them to compete once
soaring flight was achieved. If we tried to fly like birds
using only our arms of course it wouldn't work. For this
idea I think the stroke would be something like the doggy
paddle to hover or the crawl or back stroke to move
forward or backward. Maybe the butterfly would work
||Desert -- but climbing stairs we can do pretty easily with
only our legs. Flying we would do with every muscle in
our bodies -- all used to the extent that they are capable
of contributing to the overall effort. The stroke would be
very yogic and holistic.
||Will humans wait until the last millisecond to take off (loudly, I might add), thereby scaring the living JesusHChrist out of bystanders?
||Er, [Desertfox], I take it you didn't hear about the successful human powered flight across the English Channel, then? (see link)
||I don't think a flight suit will be possible, though.
||Desert, before you dismiss it, look at that Gossamer
Condor and how rigid and unlike nature it is, and think of
what it was able to achieve. And then think of how swirly
and vortical air currents are. We havent even started to
make flying machines that are wild like nature yet. Once
we do, think of what they will be able to achieve.
||Vortical takeoff? (Vortical bloody
landing at any rate)
||pigeons are best at vertical takeoff I believe...
||Tortoises are quite good at it too. And
the scorch-marks can be polished out
||And think how good they would be if they had big legs
and leg wings. 4 winged dino discoveries say that flight
may have started off with all four appendages being
wings. If you've ever seen a goose flying from above its
amazing how much like the upper half of a human being
they look -- as if they were full bodied once but then lost
the torso and legs
||You must have known some very odd
||`just noticed link to Vortical research -
thanks :-) I don't doubt that vortices
and turbulent flow can give some
interesting and useful results, but I'm
not convinced that they're going to give
the order-of-magnitude effects you'd
need for human flapping flight.
Pheasants seem to work bloody hard
just to get off the ground, and things
can't get any better as you get bigger
(square/cube). So, interesting but not