Saturday, April 18, 2015

Brief Update

I haven't done anything with my blog in quite sometime.  So here's a brief update:
1. The outriggers for my kayak. They work fine. I really need to post some photos and drawings. I think I've learned a few things that might be useful to others. I designed two outriggers, sandwiched insulating foam with plywood, cut them out, carved them and only used one layer 6 oz fiberglass. I made the crumbiest frame to connect them to my deck. Then the only thing I didn't expect happened.
It worked (almost) the first time. The only change I had to make was to extend the aluminum poles 9 inches on each side (so 18" wide hull, 3 feet 9 inches centerline deck to centerline of ama outrigger). The first time I went out my paddle was hitting the front of the outrigger floats. The extra inches completely solved that problem.

2. My DIY notebooks. I thought I loaded some images.... guess not. Well it's 1 year four months, I'm on my 5th or 6th notebook and they work great. Several months ago I made a whole stack of them. I also made some that had dots instead of lines, for technical drawing. I like them a lot.
One thing I learned is that the weight of the paper determines how heavy and how thick the notebook will be. I use standard inkjet, laser, 20 lbs paper. Anything thinner becomes hard to find, but also becomes a bleed through problem--unless it's coated. My notebooks are 100 sheets, 200 pages and I fill them up. I found plastic folders at Office Depot that I cut away a bit of the pocket flaps near the fold, my notebooks slip right in. I haven't been able to find any nice leather holders that would work as well, also no other folder except these Office Depot ones work.
Again, I need to post some photos.

3. Still thinking of new ideas. Recently reading about Gustave Whitehead, a Connecticut, inventor who clearly didn't invent the airplane before the Wright Brothers. Looking at photos and a reproduction of this best model, and also thinking about Langley, it's very clear that no one really had any idea of what an airplane should look like before the Wrights. Lillienthal's gliders worked and seem to be the model for most of the wings used by everyone prior to the Wrights, but I wonder if Whitehead and Langely really had much understanding. Lillienthal's wings seem structured like those in Leonardo's drawings, umbrellas, etc...
It doesn't surprise me that after the Wright Brothers Langley and others showed that pre-Wright designs could also fly. Sure, and  Kelly Johnson and Lockheed's Skunk Works proved they could fly anything.
So I'm not trying to harangue Langley and Whitehead, what I want to say is that the next thing that will fly, or travel through water, is not going to look like an airplane. The Wright Brothers copied Lillienthal, then they took it all apart and began testing every element of what they understood. They made more gliders and then in 1903 they made a plane that actually flew, but was so flawed it was almost uncontrollable. They soon improved on this, and lots of other people improved on it.
Only in the past couple of months have I found anyone on the net asking the question I've been asking, What's the slowest speed something can fly?
What I'm really asking is, what does the flying vehicle that uses the least amount of energy, look like?
We have two ways of looking at this. The Kestral high performance sailplane and ground effect wings.
Well, more later.

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