Discussion in 'Science' started by Fortigurn, Oct 9, 2008.
Yeah I know it was a joke, I was just explaining why. No big deal.
Do you have any particular issues with commercial airline flights?
Yeah, let's start with the fact that they're something like 25,000 feet up.
Can't a shrink help with that?
The engineering and physical principles behind their operation is quite sound.
Love the concept behind the ekranoplan
Incidentally, I thoroughly recommend 14,000ft up with nothing around you. Terminal velocity FTW
It's not a phobia, I just don't like being in the position of having absolutely no alternative to plummeting to my death if anything goes wrong.
Correct. My concern isn't based on any doubt of the relevant engineering and physical principles. One of my brothers worked on aircraft for Ansett for years, and he told me the most amazing things about what commercial aircraft are actually capable of (the stuff he told me about wing bending is something I wish I didn't know, however). I will admit to irrational thoughts of concern while doing New York to Hong Kong (16 hours). After the 14 hour mark I started to entertain serious skepticism that this ridiculous machine could actually stay in the air for almost an entire day. It seemed literally incredible.
Some body in Tassie years ago tried to make a small ground effect craft and even built the airframe/body and tested it by dragging it behind a boat and it was airbourne at 25-30 knots. Shame they didnt think about enough engine power to get the craft airbourne on its own. Went bust and sold the airframe to a German company.
a rogue wave wouldn't be too kind to one of these things at 700++km/h
Yeah, you'd have to be sort of on the lookout for that kind of thing.
They look pretty funky actually. So what routes would this thing take? Shipping lanes?
So that's your story, you caught a flight to Taiwan and got scared never to return as the flight was too high?
Joking. Idea looks cool but aeroplanes are cheap to run with the amount of people they can fly and I'm fairly sure are more efficient due to the number of passengers as well.
Basically there are safer and more practical options already available so the idea isn't likely to ever take off.
Also can I recommend you see the doctor some valium or its equivalent when flying? One of my mates has a similar flight phobia and a couple of these fixes him up completely so he can fly with no issue. As long as you aren't flying regularly it shouldn't be an issue.
The factor I'm not seeing mentioned here is air-density. Over a short distance WIG craft may occasionally be appropriate, but as far as replacing planes, over distance you're not going to beat the fact that it's a hell of a lot cheaper to push through air that's <~1/3 as dense as at sea level.
By that reasoning, all freight should go by plane. It's much cheaper to push a plane through air at ~30,000ft than pushing a container ship through water.
The ekranoplan has an advantage over normal planes in that it can carry a relatively large amount of cargo. The Boeing Pelican was meant to handle 1300 tons, while the largest plane so far (Antonov AN-225) can only manage 250 tons.
Don't forget about gravity though! You are constantly fighting a force that is trying to pull you down. Whilst the air is 1/3 as dense, you are have an extra force to worry about.
Ekranoplans fit in quite nicely between ships and planes.
Ships - extremely large cargo capacity, no need to worry about gravity as long as it still floats, slow, lots of energy needed to push it through the water.
Planes - small cargo capacity, gravity is very important, fast, not much energy needed to push it through the air.
Ekranoplans - medium cargo capacity, gravity doesn't matter as much as in planes (ground effect provides 'free' lift), medium amount of energy needed to push it through the air (more than a plane, but nowhere near as much as a ship).
Sure. If the only relevant factor is air-resistance then yes. But it's not. Time, quantity, bulk, mass, weight, and arbitrary 'importance' are all factors taken into account for transport and shipping, and all affect what the chosen means of delivery will be. This earlier snippet shows how much difference altitude makes even to one of these:
So if I want something moved fast, it's going on a plane at 10,000m. If time is not a factor, I'm going to invest trillions of dollars rebuilding ports all over the world to accomodate the new shipping form factor, invent a new global equivalent of Air Traffic Controllers for the sea, and prepare myself for the barrage of lawsuits for everything from people claiming that being to close to a WIG craft popped their eardrums, to people claiming it intrudes in the natural airspace of Beloniformes Exocoetidae put it on a boat.
Don't get me wrong, I love cool craft, big boys toys and all that. I just see this as a solution looking for a problem. There are enough obvious military applications that R&D will continue unabated, but I'd suggest there just aren't enough practical reasons for the tech to filter down to civilian applications just yet. Maybe in a future with less energy issues they'll become toys for the rich - ("And how did you spend your summer?" "Oh, the husband and I went on a WIG cruise around Antarctica; simply marvellous!), but for now it's pretty much just a damn cool white elephant.
Also, 'free' lift? nah, too easy.
I've never liked flying. I've lost count of the number of flights I've taken (well over 60, at least 20 of them international), and I've just never liked the idea of being that high without anything to save you if something goes wrong. At least I feel like I have half a chance in a car or on a train. Even a ship.
I agree that all things considered commercial airflight wins in just about every category. It's also extremely easy to control from a government's point of view, which is another plus.
I couldn't say it's a phobia. I forget about it if I read a book, and I usually just end up going to sleep anyway if the flight is more than two hours long. Taiwan to Hong Kong, Korea, or Japan, usually puts me to sleep pretty promptly. But the next time we go to LA or NY, I'm taking some sleeping tablets. Not for my concerns about falling out of the sky, but just because I find flights over 12 hours to be incredibly irritating. Long after I've forgotten about the falling out of the sky thing, I start getting sheer stir crazy. I would much rather they give me a needle at the start, and wake me up when it's finished.
Cool idea, be kind of like going into stasis on a space ship and the time it takes to get there is basically instant. Would probably stop you getting jet lagged as you'd be asleep the entire time.
I think it's a complete winrar. Who on earth wants to try and kill 17 hours between New York and Hong Kong while conscious? It's a killer.