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Turbulence Filter

Grid hauled by drone in front of airplane
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After years of overly graphic films and news reports, not to mention watching actual plane crashes, turbulence leaves me reduced to a mumbling, seat-belted wreck. My recent flights to the UK were mercifully free, apart from a couple of white knuckle moments at the start and end.

Now, my knowledge of aerodynamics is woefully inadequate, so feel free to hoot me down if this is way off base.

However, if you drag a rake through sand, it smooths it out. Likewise, large boats ploughing through water leave calm seas in their wake.

So I propose dragging a huge grid (maybe four times the height of the plane and twice the width) in front of passenger planes, drawn by a drone controlled from the cockpit. The grid would be spaced just right and the drone positioned just far enough in front to break up the turbulence and leave a smooth field of air in front of the plane.

The drone would also serve as early warning of any really dangerous down or up drafts that the plane could then avoid.

DrCurry, Jan 29 2003

EKIP http://www.ekip-aviation-concern.com
Troubadour's link moded out of the annotation. [st3f, Oct 04 2004, last modified Oct 05 2004]

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       Airship ?
8th of 7, Jan 29 2003
  

       //so feel free to hoot me down//
(grabs nearest owl)
  

       This is best kept in the world of fantasy, where large dangerous objects never collide, because your little drone aircraft tugging a huge baffle is going to have trouble remaining airborne. It's going to have to get dangerously close, too, for the baffle to be effective.   

       It's an interesting idea that has got me thinking about all sorts of things, though. Furry planes and passenger cabins held in hollow airframes using rubber bands, to name but two.   

       (muffles owl to stop it making that darn noise)
st3f, Jan 29 2003
  

       Ask to sit in the right-hand seat. That will take your mind off things.   

       [SP: "Turbulence" ?]
8th of 7, Jan 29 2003
  

       turb'lence
thumbwax, Jan 29 2003
  

       come over by boat next time.
po, Jan 29 2003
  

       //early warning of ... drafts that the plane could then avoid//   

       If you're already queasy, I'm a bit concerned about your possible reaction to a sharp break-left-and-dive evasive manouvre.
lurch, Jan 29 2003
  

       Solution: a more stable aircraft?   

       [admin: link moved out of annotation]   

       (Read the brochure - an idea whose time has come!) The only problem I see with it is that without landing gear, how do you taxi it around to the terminal unless you can move it nice and slow in it's "ground-effect" mode.
Troubadour, Feb 01 2003
  

       Cute. Not clear on whether it is any more stable in turbulence, though. It uses an air cushion (hovercraft style) in place of landing gear, enabling it to taxi.
DrCurry, Feb 03 2003
  

       This won't help the queasiness, but I've heard it reported by someone speaking as an authority on the subject that turbulence of the sort you mention (i.e., not during takeoff or landing) has never caused a plane crash (though there have been some fatalities and injuries from people and things bouncing around inside the plane).   

       And if it bothers you to see the wings bouncing around like that, it may help if I tell you that I saw video of a wing-flex test on a 777, and the wingtips were nearly touching each other above the top of the fuselage before they broke.
beauxeault, Feb 03 2003
  

       Forget the aircraft. Slingshot.
RayfordSteele, Feb 03 2003
  
      
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