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Old 1st January 2013, 06:17 PM   #1
ynot
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Ynotís Human Powered Helicopter Attempt

 
 
 
Iím a 62 year old backyard inventor that has the crazy notion that I might be able to build a human powered helicopter (HPH) that might perform better than the past and current attempts of people with much more financial, technical and educational resources.

Thereís an incentive simply in the challenge and in being ďthe firstĒ but thereís also an open Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition with a success prize of US$250,000 - http://www.vtol.org/awards-and-conte...pter/hph-rules

The main three thing you have to achieve to win are . . .

(1) Reach a height of 3 metres (momentarily).
(2) Hover for 60 seconds.
(3) Stay within a 10 metre square.

The most successful attempts I have found so far are . . .

Yuri (1994) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caHCbuh_Yyc&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Gamera (current) - http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html
Atlas (current) - http://www.aerovelo.com/
Upturn (current) - http://www.ntsworks.com/New_Helicopter.html

Assuming I use a suitably strong, fit and light person(s) to power and pilot my HPH I begin with a ďmotorĒ that has a limited power to weight ratio. Itís important therefore that I use the most effective and efficient method of transmitting human power into mechanical power before considering other aspects of design such as rotors/wings etc. Conventional wisdom seems to conclude that a pedalled crank (as used in a bicycle) is the best method and itís used by all other attempts Iíve seen so far. I donít agree and think there is a better method for this particular challenge and this (perhaps deluded) belief is my main inspiration that I might succeed more than others have to date. Iím currently experimenting with ďtransmissionĒ systems and will post progress and problems in this thread. I would welcome and appreciate any constructive feedback anyone cares to offer.
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
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Old 1st January 2013, 08:09 PM   #2
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I hope you're doing your homework, not just on recent flight attempts but on the history of human powered vehicles. It would be wonderful if you can do it, but I suspect there's a reason why all the successful attempts at human powered flight have used pedal power. There aren't a lot of ways you can get more horsepower out of a human critter, given that energy storage is not permitted.
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Old 1st January 2013, 08:19 PM   #3
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Great avatar, sir.

Good luck!
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Old 1st January 2013, 08:21 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by bruto View Post
I hope you're doing your homework, not just on recent flight attempts but on the history of human powered vehicles. It would be wonderful if you can do it, but I suspect there's a reason why all the successful attempts at human powered flight have used pedal power. There aren't a lot of ways you can get more horsepower out of a human critter, given that energy storage is not permitted.
I've been fascinated by and have "studied" human powered vehicles for many years. I've also built a few but never an HPH. I will find out quite quickly and inexpensively whether I'm right or wrong. I won't deny failures with a positive attitude.
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Old 1st January 2013, 08:23 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Monketey Ghost View Post
Great avatar, sir.

Good luck!
Thanks

Great avatar cleavage.
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Old 1st January 2013, 11:30 PM   #6
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Hey ynot, I was following the other HPH thread, glad to see you're moving foward! Good luck, hope it pans out!
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Old 2nd January 2013, 12:06 AM   #7
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Originally Posted by Roboramma View Post
Hey ynot, I was following the other HPH thread, glad to see you're moving foward! Good luck, hope it pans out!
Cheers
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Old 2nd January 2013, 12:38 AM   #8
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Wondering if it would be worth graphing power output versus weight across age range when selecting a pilot/engine. On a bicycle, weight matters less than total power output, except when hill climbing. The helicopter is all hill climb. Wondering if you might find a more optimum power to weight ratio in a fit teenager than in the college athletes that most attempts appear to be using. That or maybe someone with really fit arms and amputated legs from the paralympics.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:12 AM   #9
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
 
 
 
Iím a 62 year old backyard inventor that has the crazy notion that I might be able to build a human powered helicopter (HPH) that might perform better than the past and current attempts of people with much more financial, technical and educational resources.

Thereís an incentive simply in the challenge and in being ďthe firstĒ but thereís also an open Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition with a success prize of US$250,000 - http://www.vtol.org/awards-and-conte...pter/hph-rules

The main three thing you have to achieve to win are . . .

(1) Reach a height of 3 metres (momentarily).
(2) Hover for 60 seconds.
(3) Stay within a 10 metre square.

The most successful attempts I have found so far are . . .

Yuri (1994) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caHCbuh_Yyc&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Gamera (current) - http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html
Atlas (current) - http://www.aerovelo.com/
Upturn (current) - http://www.ntsworks.com/New_Helicopter.html

Assuming I use a suitably strong, fit and light person(s) to power and pilot my HPH I begin with a ďmotorĒ that has a limited power to weight ratio. Itís important therefore that I use the most effective and efficient method of transmitting human power into mechanical power before considering other aspects of design such as rotors/wings etc. Conventional wisdom seems to conclude that a pedalled crank (as used in a bicycle) is the best method and itís used by all other attempts Iíve seen so far. I donít agree and think there is a better method for this particular challenge and this (perhaps deluded) belief is my main inspiration that I might succeed more than others have to date. Iím currently experimenting with ďtransmissionĒ systems and will post progress and problems in this thread. I would welcome and appreciate any constructive feedback anyone cares to offer.
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 

I share your concerns or suspicions that pedal power may not be optimal, especially in such a short duration of out-put that this contest demands.

That was my main wrestling match with the hp boat races.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:06 PM   #10
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You could try various methods and see which one produces the most power. Also do not forget to try females. They can be lighter than males. Their legs may not be much weaker.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:13 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
 
 
 
Iím a 62 year old backyard inventor that has the crazy notion that I might be able to build a human powered helicopter (HPH) that might perform better than the past and current attempts of people with much more financial, technical and educational resources.

Thereís an incentive simply in the challenge and in being ďthe firstĒ but thereís also an open Sikorsky Human Powered Helicopter Competition with a success prize of US$250,000 - http://www.vtol.org/awards-and-conte...pter/hph-rules

The main three thing you have to achieve to win are . . .

(1) Reach a height of 3 metres (momentarily).
(2) Hover for 60 seconds.
(3) Stay within a 10 metre square.

The most successful attempts I have found so far are . . .

Yuri (1994) - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=caHCbuh_Yyc&NR=1&feature=endscreen
Gamera (current) - http://www.agrc.umd.edu/gamera/index.html
Atlas (current) - http://www.aerovelo.com/
Upturn (current) - http://www.ntsworks.com/New_Helicopter.html

Assuming I use a suitably strong, fit and light person(s) to power and pilot my HPH I begin with a ďmotorĒ that has a limited power to weight ratio. Itís important therefore that I use the most effective and efficient method of transmitting human power into mechanical power before considering other aspects of design such as rotors/wings etc. Conventional wisdom seems to conclude that a pedalled crank (as used in a bicycle) is the best method and itís used by all other attempts Iíve seen so far. I donít agree and think there is a better method for this particular challenge and this (perhaps deluded) belief is my main inspiration that I might succeed more than others have to date. Iím currently experimenting with ďtransmissionĒ systems and will post progress and problems in this thread. I would welcome and appreciate any constructive feedback anyone cares to offer.
 
 


 
 
 
 
 
 
Are you allowed to use anything like a flywheel?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:14 PM   #12
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There's a human powered group in the annual "Punkin' Chunkin'" event. If memory serves, one group outdid the others by switching from pure pedal power to a rowing machine attached to a flywheel. Why just use the legs? You might have balance issues, but they could probably be overcome.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:29 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Mister Earl View Post
There's a human powered group in the annual "Punkin' Chunkin'" event. If memory serves, one group outdid the others by switching from pure pedal power to a rowing machine attached to a flywheel. Why just use the legs? You might have balance issues, but they could probably be overcome.
So if we use a rowing machine, a flywheel, and a big rubber band, we could fly cross country.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:34 PM   #14
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Flywheels are heavy. That's why they work. "Heavy" isn't a great property for a component on an under-powered heavier-than-air flying machine.

Mike
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Old 2nd January 2013, 01:43 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by MikeG View Post
Flywheels are heavy. That's why they work. "Heavy" isn't a great property for a component on an under-powered heavier-than-air flying machine.

Mike
Oh well, it wouldn't work anyway:
Permissible until August 31, 2013:
4.1.4.1 Energy storage devices, such as a flywheel, must remain in the drive system chain and cannot be used to collect/store energy when the rotor/s are not turning. A system that transfers energy from human powered input directly to the rotation of the lifting rotor/s, regardless of the number of stages or type of system used to do this, does not violate the energy storage rule. Since a flywheel can be used as a stabilizing device, then it would be acceptable to use as long as it can be proven that it is not being used to transfer energy to the main rotor/s.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:04 PM   #16
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
You could try various methods and see which one produces the most power. Also do not forget to try females. They can be lighter than males. Their legs may not be much weaker.
The Gamera (linked in OP) tried an ďinsanely fitĒ young woman in their first attempts (Gamera 1) but now seem to only use men (Gamera 2) and the men seem to have produced better results.

Iím not wedded to any particular design so will try anything anyone cares to suggest if it seems worthy of doing so.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:09 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by Andrew Wiggin View Post
Wondering if it would be worth graphing power output versus weight across age range when selecting a pilot/engine. On a bicycle, weight matters less than total power output, except when hill climbing. The helicopter is all hill climb. Wondering if you might find a more optimum power to weight ratio in a fit teenager than in the college athletes that most attempts appear to be using. That or maybe someone with really fit arms and amputated legs from the paralympics.
I thought (think) college athletes are fit teenagers. This HPH challenge is unlike any other HPH challenge because it only requires 60 seconds of flight in one position. Thatís why I donít think what may work best for other HPH challenges would necessarily work best for this one (pedalled crank).
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:13 PM   #18
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
Are you allowed to use anything like a flywheel?
All the designs linked in the OP use a light flywheel to even out the pedalling output. In each case it’s a light but fast spinning bike wheel. I don't think I will need to use such a flywheel.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:15 PM   #19
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Originally Posted by Mister Earl View Post
There's a human powered group in the annual "Punkin' Chunkin'" event. If memory serves, one group outdid the others by switching from pure pedal power to a rowing machine attached to a flywheel. Why just use the legs? You might have balance issues, but they could probably be overcome.
The Gamera team claim a 20% increase in power by also using arms to ďpedalĒ a crank.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:16 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by Fudbucker View Post
So if we use a rowing machine, a flywheel, and a big rubber band, we could fly cross country.
And we only need to go up three metres for 60 seconds
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:24 PM   #21
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If I recall correctly, in terms of short burst energy output, rowing and cross country skiing are the two most intense sports. Cycling however has the advantage of it's stability.

I'm wondering about a standing squat thrust position and a flywheel.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:28 PM   #22
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Crazy thought: Do the rules only say one person and one rotor? Quad-rotors seem to be all the rage and are more easy to set up for stability. And why not two rowing machines, facing each other? That way you get power both on the pull and the return stroke. So to speak.

I'm probably explaining this badly.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:40 PM   #23
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I wouldn't try to tackle this, but coming up with a beautiful cheat (hole in the rules or misdirection) tickles my fancy. It's like the pinewood derby, how can there not be a class for 'best cheat'?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:46 PM   #24
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This is remotely on topic, but mostly just more evidence of the evidence of my 'out-of-the-box brand of mostly unsuccessful thinking:

In all these hpv challenges, stored energy is an obvious cheat.
One could pedal for 1000 hours; stash the juice; and burn rubber in a drag race.

anyway, in my chase for the fast hp boat race, one idea I had, involving two people, was to launch an umbrella-like device, ahead of the boat, which opened up underwater...
then, the pedal-cranker pulled the boat towards that resistance; as the next one was launched.

It was a variation on the theme of having your boat tied to an anchor, far away, and winding up the line.

This has no relevance to the helicopter, thank god.
Just relevant to the degree of my perversity regarding odd engineering challenges.

To ynot, and the Amish lad, I have this suggestion:

Try to predict what the next big prize within the hpv zone will be, and get the drop on it.
These other teams have a massive head start, and deep pockets.

Should I start a new thread on what I predict will be one of the new challenges?
Probably not.

But if I was to guess, it will be specialized roadways for hpvs...ie, rail-bikes and such.
That's when we'll see 100 mph human powered vehicles. It's already up to 83 mph on clunky roads made for cars.

quarky-out.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 02:46 PM   #25
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Originally Posted by Mister Earl View Post
Crazy thought: Do the rules only say one person and one rotor? Quad-rotors seem to be all the rage and are more easy to set up for stability. And why not two rowing machines, facing each other? That way you get power both on the pull and the return stroke. So to speak.

I'm probably explaining this badly.
You can have as many pilots and rotors/wings as you want to. I’m considering three basic design concepts, none of which would be powered by pedalled cranks . . .

(1) Two coaxial, counter-rotating rotor/wing-sets with two pilots.
(2) Two coaxial, counter-rotating rotor/wing-sets with one pilot.
(3) One self-propelled rotor/wing-set with one pilot (similar to the Upturn).
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Old 2nd January 2013, 03:13 PM   #26
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Wondering what to call my HPH. Had thought of ďGluteus MaximusĒ. Would be happy to call it ďRed Bull (Gives you wings)Ē if they want to sponsor me. Any other suggestions?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 05:58 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Wondering what to call my HPH. Had thought of ďGluteus MaximusĒ. Would be happy to call it ďRed Bull (Gives you wings)Ē if they want to sponsor me. Any other suggestions?
I suggest you get sponsorship. Then they get the naming rights. Plus a manager.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 06:48 PM   #28
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One thing that bothers me:
These helicopters sort of suck.

There isn't even a fantasy of fun from the efforts.

Bikes suspended from rails, however, could actually impact our world in a cool way.

There's something about the deep pockets and the enormous gymnasiums that turn me off, as per hovering 3 meters off the ground for 60 seconds.

I respect the challenge, but it's very hard to get behind the outcome...unless (Yknot, are you still awake?) the effort evolves some novel approaches to human power out-put.

Win or not, we won't be seeing people helicoptering around on their own power.

Mostly, it's a contest of super-light structures. High cost.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:11 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
One thing that bothers me:
These helicopters sort of suck.

There isn't even a fantasy of fun from the efforts..
I say we should make the entire contest about a fantasy of fun.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:22 PM   #30
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Originally Posted by AmishmanDan View Post
I say we should make the entire contest about a fantasy of fun.
I hear that.

Otherwise, it's an exercise in punishment.
Imagine your kids crying "Can I try it now, Daddy, please, can I?"

Actually, no, Junior.
In fact, don't even get jelly on it.

Jelly coated children's fingers have messed up more than a few bold back-yard experiments.

(Got to love them, though.)
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:30 PM   #31
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
I hear that.

Jelly coated children's fingers have messed up more than a few bold back-yard experiments.
So that would explain a few things...
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:30 PM   #32
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Originally Posted by quarky View Post
One thing that bothers me:
These helicopters sort of suck.

There isn't even a fantasy of fun from the efforts.

Bikes suspended from rails, however, could actually impact our world in a cool way.

There's something about the deep pockets and the enormous gymnasiums that turn me off, as per hovering 3 meters off the ground for 60 seconds.

I respect the challenge, but it's very hard to get behind the outcome...unless (Yknot, are you still awake?) the effort evolves some novel approaches to human power out-put.

Win or not, we won't be seeing people helicoptering around on their own power.

Mostly, it's a contest of super-light structures. High cost.
Well that’s an unusual about-face attitude given your previous posts in other threads where you claimed to be a “cheerleader" and wanted to be kept up with future developments etc.

Not everything has to be done to impact our world, provide a novel approach or save the whales. Some things are fun to do merely because they are. Sorta why crosswords, sudoku and jigsaw puzzles are so popular with many people.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:32 PM   #33
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Wondering what to call my HPH. Had thought of ďGluteus MaximusĒ. Would be happy to call it ďRed Bull (Gives you wings)Ē if they want to sponsor me. Any other suggestions?

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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:37 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by TheRedWorm View Post
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Lead Balloon and I raise you a
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:40 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by rjh01 View Post
I suggest you get sponsorship. Then they get the naming rights. Plus a manager.
Wouldnít dream of asking for any form of sponsorship until Iím sure Iíve got something worthy of sponsoring.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:43 PM   #36
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Build a hydrogen reformer and fuel cell that will power it with human fecal matter.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:45 PM   #37
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Originally Posted by ynot View Post
Lead Balloon and I raise you a
Call:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Personally, I'd call a HPH Windego. I've always loved that particular legend.
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As usual, he doesn't understand the relevant sciences, can't Google for the right thing, and appears to rely on the notion that a word salad liberally sprinkled with Google Croutons will make his argument seem coherent. -JayUtah
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:46 PM   #38
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Originally Posted by thaiboxerken View Post
Build a hydrogen reformer and fuel cell that will power it with human fecal matter.
Sh*t, why didn't I think of that?
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:46 PM   #39
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I can sort of understand Quarky's point, but some challenges are fun for the person meeting the challenge. Human powered vehicles and land speed records and 50 knot sailboats and the like may never have any technology that trickles down to us, but it's fun to see if you can do something. I am guessing that Ynot and Amishman Dan are getting some fun out of it, but so, in their own way, may be the teams figuring out how to get a half ounce off a wing and get another inch off the ground.

But it's true that the hovering vehicles we see in the videos are very serious and very impractical, expensive and involved. Not the same kind of fun we had putting together odd bicycles and water pumps and diesel lawnmowers and stuff. We're definitely out of the back yard here.
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Old 2nd January 2013, 07:49 PM   #40
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Originally Posted by TheRedWorm View Post
Call:

YouTube Video This video is not hosted by the ISF. The ISF can not be held responsible for the suitability or legality of this material. By clicking the link below you agree to view content from an external website.
I AGREE


Personally, I'd call a HPH Windego. I've always loved that particular legend.
Okay you win. Here's your prize -

Quite like "Skyhook" or "Gravity Sucks"
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Last edited by ynot; 2nd January 2013 at 07:56 PM.
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