Discussion in 'Biology & Genetics' started by Tristan, Sep 19, 2004.

  1. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Yes, you re "Wright" about this. I spent half a day in the small musuem at Kitty Hawk and was very impressed with their work. I was alowed to read some of their notes, etc.

    In addition to what you mentioned they also invented "wing warping" as contol and throughly understood the importance of control*, which few other at the time did. Not only did they do wind-tunnel testing but used equations to evaluate and understand their measurement. Some did not make sense, until they discovered that some of the compressibility data on which some of the pubished values were based were wrong. They corrected the published errors! I admire them greatly as self-taught scientists, carefully understanding problems and systematically solving them, keeping good notebooks, etc. Really advanced for their time. Unfortunately they were not the first to make what I consider true self powered flight. (Take off by power of your motor on level ground, fly at least a circle, and land safely at the same (or higher) altitude as take off, preferably back where your started from.)

    I know very little about how Santos Dummont (by edit: name is now correctly spelled) achieved what he did. Clearly he knew a lot too, but perhaps more intutively from years of experience with balloons with motors etc. He was a strange person, very fancy dresser, perhaps homosexual, almost sure he never married, but you can check more by google etc.

    He make a strange set of stairs: All the even number steps were only couple of inches deep on left side like this P if rotated 90 degrees clockwise and all the odd numbered ones were the converse like this b when also rotated 90 degrees clockwise. You must start out on the correct foot to use his stairs, but they assend in less horizontal space than normal stairs. They sort of have the advantages of a ladder in this regard and yet the ease of use of stairs. He was obviously a very smart and talented man.
    *Later, by edit: I know nothing about Clement Ader -but perhaps lack of appreciating the importance of control was why he crashed?
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2006
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  3. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    Here, with photos of both planes, and many related facts is informtion about the claims of the Wright brothers and Santos Dummont for "first powered flight"

    original text also available as link there and other sites confirm the facts.

    One important, and undisputed fact, is that the Write brothers plane had only 20% of the Dummont's plane's horse power to weight ratio (partly due to Dummont's plane's bamboo structure) and certainly the Wright plane can not fly without favorable wind and a down-hill runway because of this.

    It has never flown before any crowd despite a modern attempt with slghtly better reproduction 100 years later. Only five people have ever claimed to have seen it fly. Thousands witnessed Dummont fly at average speed of 41mph. His flight met all the international requirements for recognition and is globally recognized as the first powered flight, except in the USA.

    To return more to the thread: A few very athletic humans just barely have the horse power to weight ratio required for sustained flight. (Human powered Gossmer Condor did fly across the English channel, but as I recall, it needed help to take off and used "ground effect" to avoid slow return to Earth.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 24, 2006
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  5. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    It is very interesting that the controversy in the United States was between Langley & the Wright Brothers, with no mention of Dummont.

    From the citation provided in a previous post, it would appear that the Wright aircraft was at best a barely flyable machine, while the Dummont aircraft really could take off and fly.

    As mentioned in other threads, I do not call myself the Dinosaur because I am a reptile-like creature weighting several tons. My father was born about 1875 and followed the Wright Brothers/Langley controversy. He was a successful practicing engineer at the time of their claimed flight.

    My father talked of reading articles in newspapers and various engineering publications relating to the Wright brothers and Langley. He told me the following, which I have no reason to disbelieve.
    • The Wright brothers experimented with wind tunnels and studied the pertinent aerodynamic principles (mainly due to Bernoulli, I think).

    • The Wright brothers were the first to publish a description of the basic shape of the airfoil used by all aircraft: Basically flat on the bottom and upwardly convex (Thicker near the leading edge and tapering to almost no thickness at the trailing edge).

    • Langley (financed by the US Government via the Army) claimed to have flown his ariplane prior to the Wright brothers flight. For security reasons, he claimed that the flight was kept secret. The Wright brothers challenged him to demonstrate his airplane, which they claimed could not fly.

      In response to the Wright brothers challenge, a Langley plane built by the Army was successfully flown, using the Wright Brothers style of wing, which Langley claimed was the plane he originally flew prior to the Kitty Hawk Fight of the Wright brothers airplane.

      Langley and the US army were embarrassed when the Wright brothers showed a Langley article describing a wing convex on the bottom & flat on top, unlike the wing on the plane demonstrated. The article was published about a year after the date on which Langley claimed to have first flown his airplane. Langley & the US army were generally discredited by the engineering community of the era. It was believed by most that he built a new aircraft using the Wright brothers wing shape.

    • Due to the above, the Wright brothers donated their plane to a British museum, with the proviso that it never be returned to the United States. I think it was returned to the Franklin Institute in Philadelphia 70 or more years later.
    Due to the above, it seems that the Wright brothers had the correct design even if their plane may not have truly demonstrated powered flight.

    Dummont might very well have been the first to actually build a plane which truly demonstrated powered flight. I do not believe the claims by Clement Ader.

    My father was either not aware of Dummont & Ader or he had forgotten about them.
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  7. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I am sure the write brothers were the first to fully understand in great mathematical detail what is required for powered and controlled flight. It is too bad they had a much inferior motor* to Dummont.

    Because the modern, slightly better replica (100 years later) using modern gasoline and a slightly lighter pilot, still could not get off the ground even using the down hill rails system the Wrights used and because only five people even claimed to have seen it fly the claimed 31 feet claimed:
    I think they did not fly or at best were lifted by a gust of wind when trying to. The psychological pressure to make the counter claim against Ader and US army claim must have been very strong. Your comments leave me in doubt about your view, so I ask:

    Do you think the Wright brother's plane ever did, or even could, fly (excluding a strong wind blowing it briefly off the ground as the wind climbed up the sand dune.)?
    *BTW, if memory serves, I think they teamed up with Curtis who was a motorcycle racing nut but really did understood how get the HP to weight of motors higher and later they did get contracts for planes, but the union with Curtis did not survive.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2006
  8. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Billy T: MY knowledge of the Wright brothers flight is all second hand, mostly from my father's accounts of articles he read at the time, and discussions he had with other engineers. To the engineering community, it was a fascinating new technology. Most of them had not thought much about it prior to the langley/Wright controversy.

    From what has been posted here, I have doubts about the Kitty hawk flight. I feel certain that the Ader planes never flew. I feel very certain that the Langley plane using a Wright-Style wing flew. Due to the chicanery relating to that flight, not much has been written about it.

    As mentioned in a previous post, I beleive that the Wright Brothers were resonsible for the early technology leading to powered flight. This merits recognition even if their airplane did not fly.
  9. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I agree and told earlier that I admire them for their scientific approach to the problem, especially as they were self-taught bicycle mechanics.

    I do not know, but think they had at best graduated from high school. What they did to advance the scientific method is more inportant than being first to fly, especially as the only reason they were not first is the lack of high HP to weight ratio motor. (That has little do with the aerodynamics and control they developed and undestood better than anyone in the world at that time.)

    Too bad they probably get credit in US for a lie and not for what they really deserve.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jun 28, 2006
  10. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    The (highly probable) TRUTH ABOUT “FIRST FLIGHT”

    Santos-Dumont was first to fly, but by “powered kite,” quite unrelated to modern aviation. The Wright brothers are the true fathers of modern aviation, but not the first to fly. They deserve more credit as "systematic scientists", pioneers in research, than Edison who, like Santos-Dumont had good financial connections and the patience to exhaustively try (with not much understanding) until a solution was found empirically. The Wright brothers, were first to understand and try to apply the airfoil wing used by all modern planes. They understood mathematically why it produces lift, built what may be the worlds first wind tunnel to test various designs, and were such careful investigators that they discovered errors in the published data for compressibility of air. Unfortunately for them, the motor available to them had only 20% of the power of Santos-Dumont’s motor so their plane was (and in reproduction 100 years later, even with modern fuel) incapable of flight.

    I call Santos-Dumont’s flight, 23 October 1906 from level Paris field, a “powered kite” because the "14-Bis," as that plane was called, or "14th repetition" in English (“Bis” is Portuguese for “repetition") had no airfoils,* only many flat silk sheets stretched over a bamboo structure, which were slightly inclined, especially the square “box kite” extended out in front. As the motor drove the plane thru the air, the air was given some downward momentum when passing thru these box kite like passage ways. The reaction forces on the plane required to send the air downward were slightly greater than the weight of the plane, so it flew.

    Santos-Dumont, had earlier been a pioneer in controlled balloon flight, using a motor and a cigar-shaped balloon to fly against the wind. He flew circles over Paris many times. Like the Wright brothers, but few others, he fully appreciated the need for a control system. Most other early attempts at flight quickly crashed as the developers gave little thought to control. It is highly probable that his years of experience with powered balloon flight gave Santos-Dumont a practical appreciation of the control requirements, rather than the deeper understanding of the control problem, the Wright brothers developed in their laboratory. (They invented, the “wing warping” control system, but of course that is not how modern planes maintain level flight.)

    Santos-Dumont’s first name, rarely used, was Alberto, the same as the then Prince of Monaco, who was very interested in all things new. Prince Alberto, invited Santos-Dumont to Monaco, and he was pleased to accept. He preferred flying his powered Balloon, (called No. 6), over the Bay of Monaco instead of the trees and building of Paris. He took the Prince for a ride in No. 6, but for reasons unknown (probably inadequate supply of gas) the cigar shaped balloon was not fully inflated / entirely rigid / and they soon gently crashed on the beach. The still running motor cut some of the suspension cords and when restored, the balloon was called No.7. None the less Prince Alberto was thrilled, and agreed to finance the construction of more balloons (perhaps even the 14-Bis ?) and a hanger for them in Paris. If both had not been named, Alberto, perhaps the Wright brothers would have had more time to get a better motor and be the first to fly, but that was not the case. (Curtis, a motor bike enthusiast, had one and around 1910 the short lived Curtis-Wright airplane company was formed. The Wrights did fly, but shortly after Santos-Dumont had done so before thousands in Paris who watched the 14-Bis fly at average speed of 41 mph.)

    The claimed first flight at Kitty Hawk was 31 feet long and began before the plane had reached full speed, running down the inclined rails on a slopping sand dune. Five people claim to have seen it lift off the rails and “fly.” What surely happened is a strong gust of wind caught the light weight wings and lifted plane briefly off the ground. Because the plane had wing warping control, the pilot was able to keep it reasonably level during this air-born period. He avoided crashing and safely landed at a lower elevation than the take-off point. This can hardly be called "flight." The plane and it reproduction 100 years later is incapable of flight with the original design motor, even though the reproduction used modern fuel. In contrast four reproduction of the 14-Bis have been built, one given as a present to France, and many have watched some of the others fly in Brazil.

    Perhaps if the Wright brothers, had been auto-mechanics, instead of bicycle-mechanics, or if the first name of Santos-Dumont had not been Alberto, same as the Prince’s, then the honor of “first flight” would belong to the Wright brothers, but it does not.

    The Wright brother’s accomplishments, are IMHO, much more important that being first to fly. They are the true founders of modern aviation, discovering and understanding how lift can be achieved with an airfoil, which Santos-Dumont did not. Significant as that is, that is not their major contribution to the modern world. Unlike Edison, practical trial and error inventor, or Henry Ford, clever developer of efficient production procedures, they developed the scientific research methodology for application to practical problems, instead of the pursuit of academic knowledge. They did not invent the modern scientific research method, (the union of mathematical understanding applied to laboratory results) but were among the first to very directly and intentionally transformed the world with it. (Certainly others, such as the French and German chemists, etc. also indirectly transformed the world earlier.) Perhaps, Alfred Noble, also did so intentionally and directly in 1866. Dynamite certainly “transformed the world” and was invented for the practical purpose of making nitro-glycerin more safe to handle, not as academic research; however, it and he did not create any new aspect of the world as the Wright Brothers did with the foundation of aviation.

    First to fly? -No, Great world-transforming, self-taught, scientists. -Yes! That is how the Wrights should be remembered.
    *This may not be entirely true as the stretched silk did bend the bamboo, but as far as I have been able to discover, any airfoils that may have existed, were at best imperially discovered to be useful, if their contribution to lift was even recognized. Santos-Dumont, as far as I have been able to discover with little real effort, was more like Edison, a "cut and try" man, not a systematic scientist with laboratory research, notebooks and mathematical analysis, as the Wright brothers were. (Edison certainly had labs and notebooks, but little use for math and did not even understand how Tesla's AC motors worked.)
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 15, 2006
  11. angel91 Registered Member

    It is possible for a human to develop bird like traits.We could cut out a few DNA strands from a bird and paste to a babies DNA.Although I think that the subject has to be a test tube baby.Grown from a test tube so when it starts to develop into a being then it will already start to grow its parts already instead of rearranging the body system or putting in stuff.

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  12. John Connellan Valued Senior Member

    A few DNA strands?! I would imagine a huge portion of a birds DNA codes for features which enable flight. Features that humans don't have
  13. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    A slight extension to my post 87, two before this. (I spent a couple of hours speaking with the director of a large 100 anniversary exhibit here in Sao Paulo about a month ago.):

    Santos-Dumot was more of a scientist than I previously realized. Before he was the first human to fly, he hung a full scale version of his plane (without motor or pilot) from a long horizontal cable and had a donkey pull it fast along to see how various modification helped it gain lift and stability. (He discovered dihedral, which the Wright brothers were either ignorant of or unconcerned about as they had “wing warping” for control, but there is little of it in the 14 BIS.)

    It is a shame that the Wrights did not have a good motor. - they understood much better than Santos Dumont how to steer the plane. - Santos's design for steering is essentially unstable. (He must have been a "cracker-Jack" pilot.) In fact it crashed in a recreation flight last year and the pilot then locked the front canard so it could not even slightly rotate to steer and wore small wings on his person to control the heading and keep it flying down the road or field as needed!

    A few years later than the Wrights, who never flew because their motor was weaker and much heavier than Santos Dumont’s, he realized their air foil design gave much better lift to drag than his "powered kit" design and knew he would need to test various air foil shapes. He had a very powerful 12 cylinder motor build and installed it on the back of a long thin boat which had two shorter out riggers for stability. The photos do not show why it was built. - Under the water between the two out-riggers was a horizontal section where "air foils" of various shape could be tested, one at a time. With some and that powerful motor, he essentially lifted the boat out of the water. I.e. he made the worlds first hydrofoil boat as part of his test program evaluating "air foil" shapes. He exceeded 100Km/hour on the Seine. Few Brazilians know about this.

    Several designs after the the 14 BIS Santos had a good design with both pronounced dihedral and air foils and an even better motor. This plane was sold to some Americans, called Boeing, and they copied it in large numbers - I.e. that was the foundation of the Boeing company!
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 29, 2007
  14. Search & Destroy Take one bite at a time Moderator

    right, no need to make our bones hollow or anything

    Just get two big enough wings, and we can fly - it's as simple as that.

    Well our energy intake would increase a lot to power them, but that's it.
  15. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Angel91, Search & destroy: Learn something about the requirments for flapping wings using muscle power. Then you will realize that a creature which can fly must be more similar to a bat or a bird than to a human being.

    I wonder if a flying creature could support a brain which functions as well as a human brain. Our brain uses a signficant percentage of our body resources (oxygen, glucose, et cetera) when it is functioning at full capacity on a difficult problem. Such a brain might require a large, heavy body not suitable for a flying creature.
  16. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I agree with your main point and most of even this quote, but note that if highly specialized for one task, a "flying brain" can be very superior to man's on that task.

    Bats can do amazing acoustic processing - far better than man can do even aided by rooms full of the most modern computers. For example, from more than 20 feet away, a bat can tell from the echo alone, which very weak minor return among several faint ones (compared to the strong returns bouncing off much larger objects) corresponds the preferred (more tasty?) type of insect.

    They do this from a rapidly moving platform (themselves) and in real time. Even given weeks of sophisticated computer processing man can not do this. The bat's computer weights about 10 grams and uses very low power. (It runs on insects.)
  17. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    Billy T: I knew that bat sonar was good, but I had no idea it was amazing. Miight make some here claim that it is occult or magical, but it provides no material for the conspiracy theorists. .

    Insect power might be pretty good. I thought they were high in protein.
  18. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    I am one. All the evidence seems to point to fact that God is a Bat. This ability, far greater than man's, could not have evolved by chance.

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  19. kaleemarie Registered Member

    For humans to achieve flight, their DNA would have to be altered. Thinner, hollow bones like a bird's, a faster heart beat, etc. Otherwise we would be able to get off the ground.

    hopefully they figure this out before im too old to actually have wings.
    i would do anything[almost anything

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    ] to get wings. :]
  20. Dinosaur Rational Skeptic Valued Senior Member

    KaleeMarie: Sorry, but it will not happen.
    Without the hollow bones, smaller head, bird-like legs, et cetera, a human would need pectoral muscles perhaps as much as ten feet thick (or more) and maybe 3 feet wide to power huge wings capable of allowing a human to fly.

    Take a careful look at various birds and estimate the percentage of their body weight which is breast muscles used to power the wings.
  21. Billy T Use Sugar Cane Alcohol car Fuel Valued Senior Member

    do not forget a higher body temperature also - the metabolic rate needs to be boosted considerably if you want to fly for more than a few minutes with out passing out from lack of blood sugar etc.

    If you stop to think about it a bird could be lighter and more aerodynamic (smaller cross-section anyway) if the only feathers were on the wings, but that will not work - they would loss body heat too rapidly.

    So in addition to higher body temperature, better insulation all over the body is required. - Not far from being a large fully feathered, creature. - I.e. a big bird (but a little more streamlined than "Big Bird" of Ceshime Street.)
  22. valich Registered Senior Member

    That's very interesting. I wonder why evolution did not favor a fur-covered bird with feathered wings. What use are feathers on it's body compared to the insulation superiority of fur?
    Last edited: Mar 31, 2007
  23. iceaura Valued Senior Member

    Feathers, such as goose down, insulate better than fur by weight.

    Most evolutionary storytellers think that is the reason feathers came to be, in the first place - insulation of the young dino, like a baby chicken. Apparently some fossils from Chinese nesting-zone fossil beds support that conjecture.

    I would consider powered wings, say by a lightweight but very powerful fuel cell, good enough for me - if they were body controlled, allowed fairly low speed soaring and occasional powered flight, and were quiet. Sort of an amplified arm flapping and a lock position for soaring, ideally.

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