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    Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

    For anyone interested, I've finally cracked the problem of stringing feathers such that they can spread and fold smoothly while also being load-bearing. As suspected back in post #99, I was doing something dumb. Notice that the feathers near the wrist now attach higher up on the bones, rather...
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    The concept of a flying car will eventually succeed

    lol, I have actually considered the possibility of making a "quadcopter on a stick" for short hop flights, where the arms fold down for easy carrying. Functionally equivalent to Mary Poppins' umbrella :) It would be hilarious to make it double a pogo stick, so you can bounce along rather than...
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    Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

    My feather making method may never be able to do nice flexible wingtips like that. Even with the same number of carbon fibers, the stiffness is very sensitive to how the quill is shaped, due to the fact that stiffness is proportional to cube of height but only linear with width. My current molds...
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    Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

    Watch through the KorraCam playlist to see what it's really like :) With ~1m wingspan, the flap rate is a little under 5Hz, which is already soothing to listen to. Less than 2x human jogging step rate, which feels quite comfortable to us. So any human-carrying ornithopter will be uncomfortably...
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    Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

    Wing actuator weight does increase with cube of wingspan, since the moment arm is longer in addition to the squared area. Using the wings to jump would indeed be awesome. I have a hard time imagining it actually working, but hopefully someone with a better imagination than me will take up the...
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    Would planes be better if they were more like birds?

    Aside from foot launching (which is my interest), "wheels on long legs" seems like the obvious solution. Perhaps with a multi-jointed leg design to fold up more compactly. Running/jumping legs would certainly be cool, but high torque actuators are heavy. And the feet of a goose essentially trace...
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    Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

    Actually ICE does still have plenty of room for improvement, they've just been complacent because they had a highly profitable business with little competition. Opposed piston engines are one interesting category for further R&D. And there's a company called Alfadan that's working on a new 4...
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    Sidecar airplane?

    Prone position in a streamlined pod, strapped to the underside of the wing like a missile :) For best effect, make the entire pod transparent.
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    Why battery-powered aircraft will never have significant range

    lol, that had to be one of the most overblown marketing campaigns of all time. I actually got to ride on one at a Seattle Robotics Society meeting one time. It is fun, but offers little advantage over legs, and a lot of disadvantages. Particularly the fact that it falls into the category of too...
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    Prosthetic Wings

    Yeah, flapping wings should allow for higher wing loading than gliders since you don't need super high glide ratio and have higher effective airspeed over the wings to enable slower takeoff/landing speed. Bird wings fold up to around 26-33% of the wingspan. Indoor navigation isn't really a...
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    NEW AVIATION ERA...

    Thanks! I'll give it a try.
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    NEW AVIATION ERA...

    Is it all super secret, or can you provide instructions on how to build a simple thruster to test the effects you're talking about? It certainly sounds impressive, but also sounds too good to be true. At least build a radio control airplane using this thruster design and post a video of it...
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    Prosthetic Wings

    Hydraulic is probably better than pneumatic. Here's a video showing some McKibben muscles using hydraulic fluid, which produce potentially sufficient force Pneumatic has the advantage of being compliant (safer if you bump into things), but that also makes it very difficult to position...
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    Prosthetic Wings

    Indeed, plan B if the flight research doesn't pan out is to make my living building costume wings. Heck, the full size feathers alone are probably a marketable product. Aside from looking awesome, they're the most effective manual fan that I know of. Just swing it up and down and it makes a...
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    Prosthetic Wings

    I am 6'1", 150lbs, fast, and smart enough not to jump off a roof. Just about perfect for testing such devices :) I never saw this thread before, but it is relevant to my interests. I'm going for fully robotic back-mounted bird wings, since the human shoulder joint forward/back range is about 90...
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