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Wright Flyer Air Race

Race pilots can paint them however you want, but all entries must be exact duplicates of the original Wright Flyer.
  (+6)
(+6)
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Everybody knows the best part of a race is the crashes, so here's one guaranteed to deliver.

Although Wright Flyer heralded the age of (sort of) controlled, powered flight, it was basically a barely steerable hunk of junk. You see six or so of these things on the runway winding up their little sewing machine engines you know you're gonna see a show. A very slow moving disaster for all to enjoy.

The announcer of the race might relay something like this.

"AAaaaaand they're off! "Skybrick" crashes immediately and the crowd goes wild! "Sticks and Paper" rolled into "The Wrong Flyer" and "Whoops I'm Dead" hit the first pylon and burst into flames. Luckily these hunks of junk only hold about half a pint of gas so just roll the pilot around, he'll be OK."

And since these things move so slow, a significant number of the pilots could theoretically survive, and I don't necessarily have a problem with that.

doctorremulac3, Jul 17 2020

First fatality in a Wright Flyer https://en.wikipedi...mas_Selfridge#Death
[kdf, Jul 17 2020]

American Airlines Flight 587 https://en.wikipedi...Airlines_Flight_587
" aggressive use of the rudder controls by the first officer stressed the vertical stabilizer until it snapped off the aircraft." Hah ! [8th of 7, Jul 17 2020]

[link]






       To be held on the Kill Devil hills at Kitty Hawk, of course ... [+]   

       // basically a barely steerable hunk of junk //   

       Airbus Industrie hold the IP on that, now. Carbon fibre empennage, anyone ? Yes, it has rudder pedals, but you mustn't use them, otherwise the fin breaks off ...   

       <link>
8th of 7, Jul 17 2020
  

       Yet somehow the Wrights didn't have a fatal crash until September 1908. "Any landing you can walk away from is a good one" - so even that one was okay for Orville, not so much for 1LT Selfridge.   

       At least he got an airfield named for him in Michigan.
kdf, Jul 17 2020
  

       "A good landing is one you can walk away from - a great landing is one where you can use the aircraft again."   

       A good pilot is one with the same number of landings in his logbook as takeoffs.
8th of 7, Jul 17 2020
  

       Guess that makes me a good pilot.   

       Although I stopped flying when my life insurance agent told me private plane crashes where I was the pilot weren't covered. Right before I signed the damn thing too like "Oh.. by the way, you aren't I pilot are you?" Well, not any more I guess. Evidently insurance scam suicide by aircraft is a thing.
doctorremulac3, Jul 18 2020
  

       //exact duplicates//   

       How exact, exactly?   

       Will there be inspectors with pocket magnifying lenses, checking that the alignment of the weave matches properly?   

       "Oh ho, Here's a chancer! No.47 "slow & unsteady" has the weft fibres of the canvas wing coverings at 3.7° to the main stringer. Disqualified!"   

       Anonymous tip-off letter to the judges. "off-cuts of epoxy-impregnated timber found in the yard of team no.11..."   

       Team 11 presents detailed yard diaries showing that the off-cuts came from a reproduction 1887 steam launch.   

       However, the resulting front-page national press coverage of the scandal reduces team morale and causes major sponsors to withdraw.
pocmloc, Jul 18 2020
  

       That's actually a good point. The materials would be everything in the win / loss department.   

       So the race committee would supply the materials that, if not the exact same as those used for the original Wright Flyer, at least would be the same across all the entrants.   

       Occurs to me, getting people to risk their lives for this might be a little tricky, but much of the entertainment could be had by simply having these be remotely powered. Obviously a major upgrade from the original, but so long as everybody used the same system, it would come down to (remote) pilot skill and construction prowess.
doctorremulac3, Jul 18 2020
  

       It was most fortuitous that the original flight occurred right next to Arlington National Cemetery, the final resting place of LT Selfridge.* The race location might be chosen utilizing similar criteria.   

       *After the crash, anyway.
whatrock, Jul 18 2020
  

       Selfridge was an aerial pioneer who worked with Alexander Graham Bell and built some of his own aircraft with Canada’s Aerial Experiment Association. I’d like to see an exhibition (not necessarily a racing event) flying some of those designs - especially the powered tetra-kite.
kdf, Jul 18 2020
  

       ^ we will vote for that ...   

       // getting people to risk their lives for this might be a little tricky //   

       Eh ? You will have to beat them off with a stick. A really big stick, with a nail through it. Best have some friends around you - they will need big sticks too. Have you seen the waiting lists to fly in WW1 warbirds and other antique aircraft ? Have you seen what they charge ? And people pay it without a murmur. Some build their own Bleriot monoplanes; some build Fokker Dr. III triplanes; some restore airframes that are literally no more than a few matchsticks in a box.   

       While pilots are notably risk-averse personalities, offer most of them the chance to pilot a real or reproduction historic plane, while pointing out that "your chances of coming back alive and uninjured are no better than 50/50" and you'll need amazingly precise timing equipment to measure the delay before they sprint across the apron to the cockpit.   

       Normally rational airmen who wouldn't risk their skins in a modern microlight or ultralight or autogyro or (gods forbid) a helicopter go all gooey-eyed and dribbly at the smell of dope, gasoline and castor oil ...   

       Before launching your competition, warn the Smithsonian. They will need to up their security, substantially, lest they suddenly find an exhibit inexplicably missing, just after a large number of seemingly innocent visitors scuttle out of the building with furtive expressions and suspiciously bulging pockets.   

       Based on direct real-world data from a Scaled Composites product, removing even a single unimportant bolt - just one tiny bolt from the instrument panel, there were plenty more holding it on, it was loose, it just fell out and somehow dropped into a shirt pocket, poor maintenance you know - can produce a remarkable and uncalled-for rant. Sadly "But I only wanted a little bit as a souvenir" cuts no ice with such humourless sods. And you have to give it back, and apologize. Bastards.
8th of 7, Jul 18 2020
  

       caught you, did they?
kdf, Jul 18 2020
  

       That's shameful [8th]. I would think someone of your caliber would have been able to smuggle it out without a problem.
Voice, Jul 18 2020
  
      
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