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Winglet Flags

Flapping Flags for Modern Aeroplanes
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Sometimes you see people driving around with flags waving from their car. Ship captains always seem to be flying flags, and have done so for centuries. People just love to get all filled up with patriotism when sailing across the ocean. You see flags on trains and buses, as well.

But, one place you never see a flag flapping is on an airplane or jet airliner or military aircraft.


Because flags create drag. Drag is very bad for aircraft.

So why not a flag that does not add drag to the plane?

What I propose is Winglet Flags.

To create a Winglet Flag, a video camera on the winglet takes a video of what is on the other side of the winglet from the passengers in the plane. This video is broadcast in real time onto the winglet so that the passengers can see the video, rendering the winglet "invisible." In other words, their eyes see what is behind the winglet as it passes by the lens of the video camera, not the winglet itself.

Super-imposed on the video image will be a pre-recorded movie of a flag flapping in the breeze. The combined effect, then, would be that the passengers sees a flag flying at the end of the aircraft wing rather than the winglet, which is now acting as a movie screen.

Imagine the passengers flying along in the air, instilled with a great sense of patriotism and pride. How their spirits and hearts will be uplifted. I'm sure such an experience, expecially for adolescents, will encourage them to do great deeds for their fellow citizens and/or subjects and, generally, it should give the crew and passengers a feeling of joy and comfort.

Everyone will be smiling.

A number of other benefits can be derived from this. For example, the pilot could send semafore messages to the passengers in case of danger, like "Please buckle your seatbelt because we are about to land in the ocean" or "The guy in 18G is a terrorist."

The design is flexible. For example, you can store multiple flags in memory to broadcast at any time. A mere push of a button could change the flag from Mexico to Guatamala, as you cross over the border. (This could be automated, as well, by using GPS location data synchronized with Google Earth and soon-to-be-released Google Ocean images.)

Some commerical applications may apply, like broadcasting "The Amber Nectar" on the winglets. You could even show birds flying alongside the plane or broadcast flying saucers on the winglets to scare people. When the plane lands, these could change to, like, zebras and stuff running alongside the plane.

flounder, Feb 03 2009


       Alternatively, you could use the retroreflector and projection-based "invisibility cloak" technology that has been knocking around for a few years. I think this may work better as it would be less susceptible to perspective errors (if you look at the winglet from an angle, the projected image of background sky will no longer line up right)
5th Earth, Feb 13 2009

       //zebras and stuff running alongside the plane// These have to be quite the IMAX-winglets, there?
loonquawl, Feb 14 2009

       //quite the IMAX-winglets//
Best viewed through a hazy acrylic window, by tilting your head at an uncomfortable angle.

       Or you could make transparent winglets. Full of zebras and stuff.
Amos Kito, Feb 14 2009


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