Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Wingtip Coupling at 15,000 Feet (2000) [pdf] (flightjournal.com)
52 points by smacktoward 3 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 7 comments





This is how invention is done.

It seems designs can be iterated on and tested in just a few days.

In today's aviation world, if an idea can make it into the air in less than 5 years it's a miracle. I don't see any substantial innovation happening in the aviation world for that reason. Planes docking side by side to save fuel like this would be amazing for the environment, but will never happen.


The explanation of why now they use a more conservative approach is in tha last pag "72":

> This action resulted in the F-84’s pitching violently and then flapping upward and into the B-29. The B-29’s outer wing panel crumpled as the F-84 rolled into it and, when inverted, struck the B-29’s main wing spar; before the two aircraft separated, this impact sheared off the F-84’s nose section forward of the cockpit. The B-29 then went into a steep spiral and crashed into Peconic Bay, Long Island, and the F-84 went down shortly afterward. No one survived.


The whole time I'm reading the article, I'm thinking "Jesus, that sounds dangerous...Oh, my! Now that sounds really dangerous...It's amazing that nobody died doing this..." and then I get to the last page.

> This is how invention is done.

> It seems designs can be iterated on and tested in just a few days.

> In today's aviation world, if an idea can make it into the air in less than 5 years it's a miracle. I don't see any substantial innovation happening in the aviation world for that reason. Planes docking side by side to save fuel like this would be amazing for the environment, but will never happen.

There is a significant and substantial amount of innovation happening in aviation, from down to gliders and ultralights / experiments all the way to aircraft that can "fly" in what is technically outer space.

I'm not even sure where to begin to highlight the advances in technology, simulation, manufacturing, materials, training and just plain ol' understanding of chemistry and physics that has happened - which allows you to get on an aircraft and be hundreds or thousands of miles away for pocket change.

Please don't let the recent articles around the 737 airframe cloud your judgement - the 737 NG and the 737MAX are very, very different aircraft in terms of their composition, materials and technology than the original that was introduced a couple of decades ago.

More to the point - there is absolutely nothing stopping you from buying some sails, an electric motor and batteries, putting them together and going flying under the experimental ultra-light category.


Sure, there is innovation, it's just on a different scale. Back then, people were hooking up different types of engine just to see if they could. Now an anti-reflective windscreen coating would involve lots of meetings and paperwork...

It's changed from 'wild west' to 'dont do anything that might be dangerous'.

Our taste for innovation Vs safety has swung dramatically.


You're conflating experimental aircraft with commercial passenger aircraft. The latter are highly regulated. The former can be tested with an experimental airworthiness certificate, which is significantly less regulated but also significantly more restricted — e.g. they generally have operating limitations prohibiting carrying passengers for hire or flying over populated areas until they're sufficiently proven.

That might be a conclusion in search of evidence.

I suspect it's something similar to what's happened in physics. Plenty of important work's still being done, but the low hanging fruit has already been harvested.




Guidelines | FAQ | Support | API | Security | Lists | Bookmarklet | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact

Search: