Tag Archives: flight

Practicing Landings on a Carrier in bad weather

An evening pause: Last night we had the Flight of the Foo Birds. Tonight, we look at real flight, military pilots practicing landings on an aircraft carrier when the ocean is rough and the ship is rolling. The movies always give us the impression that this is easy, when in fact it is not.

Hat tip Rocco.

Scientists have found that bumblebees have the capability of flying at altitudes higher than the top of Mount Everest.

Scientists have found that bumblebees have the capability of flying at altitudes higher than the top of Mount Everest.

In a study published today in Biology Letters, two zoologists, Michael Dillon, now at the University of Wyoming in Laramie, and Robert Dudley of the University of California, Berkeley, tested whether bumblebees’ vertical range was limited by aerodynamics and physiology. Working in the mountains of Sichuan, China, the duo caught five male bumblebees (Bombus impetuosus) foraging at 3,250 meters and placed them in a plexiglas chamber. Once the bees began to fly upwards, the pressure inside the chamber was reduced using a hand pump to simulate altitude increases in 500-meter intervals. All five bees could hover at air pressures equivalent to elevations of 7,400 meters; three could fly above 8,000 meters; and two got to above 9,000 meters.

If you read the entire article, you will notice that it completely ignores the false urban legend that bumblebees are aerodynamically unsound and shouldn’t be able to fly. Scientists have known for decades that it is false, but for some reason it keeps getting repeated.

Engineers in the Czech Republic have built a bicycle that can fly.

Engineers in the Czech Republic have built a bicycle that can fly.

The demonstration does beg the question “Why a bike?”. Once those big, knobby tires are lifted off the ground, aren’t they rendered more or less moot? According to the project website, the central concept was to create a flying vehicle that could easily be ridden to a more suitable takeoff site and then be capable of a 3 – 5 minute flight. In order to offset the extra weight added by all the rotors, they could be used to help propel the bike along the ground, besides allowing it to fly.

Video below the fold.
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