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Transatlantic Sailplane
  [vote for,

While on your journey across the ocean you discover your altitude getting a little low, so you turn your sailplane into the wind and trim to MCA (slowest possible flight). The GPS is now indicating you are going backwards because of the headwind. You then throw the switch labeled sea-anchor to the down position and wait for the first 2500' of cable to unwind. The weight hits the water and the cable continues to spool off. <p>

After unrolling three thousand feet of cable you get nervous and start applying a little drag to the reel. Now the sea-anchor opens and the cable begins towing you skyward while the reel continues to unwind. After spinning out 2 miles of anchor road you reaching the end of the cable. Now the tension on the cable builds up and the rate of climb goes from a few feet per minute to a few thousand feet per minute. At the same time the winch motor is now charging the winch battery for later.

As you reach 11,000 feet the sea-anchor finally pulls to the surface and the cable rewinds completely, the winch is only required to be able to lift the weight of the cable and the sea-anchor. And while the cable reels in you make time to the east for another couple of hours before dropping the anchor again.

The extreme version of the sport uses a grappling hook over land instead of a sea-anchor over water.

haywardt, Jan 05 2004

Around the world in a solar powered airplane http://news.bbc.co..../nature/3321491.stm
Plan to duplicate Lindberg's flight first, first vehicle tests in 2006. [krelnik, Oct 04 2004]


       I've no flying experience, so not sure as to the practicalities, but if it can be demonstrated, sign me up. I was wondering what my next sporting lifestyle was going to be......
normzone, Jan 05 2004

       I'm pretty sure 2 miles of anchor line and the drag of the sea anchor through the wind on the way back up are going to make some trouble for your system.   

       But I do not care: I want on board. Lindberg Unplugged. A flaky pastry for an H. G. (s)Wells notion.
DadManWalking, Jan 05 2004

       I would suspect that along with the added weight, the problen would be the drag created by 2 miles of aircraft cable. Anyone know the drag coefficient for aircraft cable at 2 miles in length?
Klaatu, Jan 05 2004

       Any chance of a diagram to explain how the mechanism you describe creates lift? I can't picture it.
dobtabulous, Jan 05 2004

       I think it's kite for height, then sailplane for distance, then kite...
FarmerJohn, Jan 05 2004

       I was thinking of Stren rather than aircraft cable. Or even stainless steel fishing leader. It doesn't have to lift the airplane. It just provides tow-pressure of a few hundred pounds. The drag created would only present a small down vector, as most of the drag is applied parallel to the surface.
haywardt, Jan 05 2004

       //carbon nano-tube string // Hooray! Welcome back, faithful chum!
gnomethang, Jan 05 2004


       I'm curious as to whether a sailplane optimized for gliding could be reconfigured to create adequate lift in a high-incidence angle such as what a kite typically sees. Whether it would work or not just seems to be a matter of forces and numbers. The key here is that the plane is indeed moving backwards with respect to the water current.   

       sp: transatlantic
RayfordSteele, Jan 05 2004


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