this the next time you are stuck in rush-hour traffic: --wouldn't
you just love to lift up over all those glaring red tail lights
and go straight over to your destination?
Here are three
things to consider:
easy-to-drive, simplified, safe and economical, inflatable helicopters.
2. 40,000 or
more mothballed military helicopters, from before the Vietnam era
and since, rotting under the sun in the Mojave Desert.
pad-to-pad, line-of-flight commuting to your destination (and a
commerciable community service to your destination), in a
quarter to a tenth of the time it now takes you.
semi-dirigible helicopters. Overlooked thus far only because we
think in categories instead of realistically (is it a helicopter,
or is it 'something else?' Does it fly, or does it, um, well,
fly?) Also in the combat missions and air rescue roles which we
have let define the category "helicopter," we wanted
speed and power. In those capacities, dirigible characteristics
would only be in the way.
The basic engineering
would not be difficult. In effect, wrap inflatable panels as your
fuselage, around the frame of the helicopter. Inflate them with
helium to give partial lift. Balance off the weight of the frame
in such a way that you don't need the attitude controls which make
the flying of conventional helicopters such a balancing act. (Provide
a basic tilt control on a standby emergency basis, default position
standard balance, usually never engaged - automatically pumping
lifting-gas from one side to the other and/or front & back.)
Most of the lifting panels will run along the upper sides of your
frame. You want your weight down, your support up, like a child's
knock-me-down toy which keeps righting itself, so you can do away
with the delicate balancing act which so complicated the flying
of today's helicopters.
can be pumped back into pressurized tanks or canisters when the
copter is going to be on the ground for awhile. That way you don't
have to even tether the thing to keep it from blowing away.
simplified, you wouldn't need the high level of skills, training,
and multiple safety overrides which make helicopter flight such
an expensive process today. With attitude (as distinct from altitude)
controls not needed, virtually everything could ne on one computer
joystick or - more reassuringly for the typical driver, one automobile-like
steering wheel with not only left-right. but forward-back for speed
(back-click-further back for reverse). --Or use the accelerator/brake
pedal arrangement of a car. Up & down on the steering wheel
to control, well, up and down. Fuel, temperature and other gauges
would give not only direct readings but run with idiot lights -
green for o.k., yellow a caution, red = DO something! Also with
a "ping-hum" auditory signal when going into the yellow
and a light continuous pinging - enough to be heard, not so loud
as to panic the driver - once into the red. Objective of all of
this is to make the diricopter easier to drive than is the ubiquitous
family car - and a lot safer.
GBD.com without it costing you a dime. Learn
- not quite all - of the weight of the diricopter and its load effect
by lifting helium, you would not need the gas-guzzler powerful engine
which also makes helicopter flight such an expensive process today.
Practically a lawn-mower engine would suffice.
style and looks later. The first generation diricopters - especially
those which were adaptations from all those dead helicopters rotting
in the Mojave - would stop looking like grasshoppers and start looking
more like bumblebees or flying beetles. Design engineers and aerodynamicists
can go to work to pretty up later generations of the diricopter.
Resources Available to the First Generation of Diricopters:
I am given
to understand that the main reason that most of those rotting 40,000+
military helicopters in the Mojave aren't harvested for parts is
that there isn't that much current demand for parts! Only a few
can afford to operate copters under current conditions. Also, it'd
cost more to harvest them than it does to leave them there rotting,
keeping happy the bureaucrats and inventory specialists.
So should an
enterprise or enterprises be put together for this purpose, arranging
to take over for certified civilian purpose and rehabilitate a few
thousand of these copters, should be relatively easy and inexpensive.
--Not guaranteed so, of course, because politics may enter here
in making such arrangements. An enterprise or enterprises could
engineer the adaptations and rehabilitation of at least several
specific types of these abandoned helicopters. Then operate directly
by franchise, or sell to, enterprises in each major city which would
provide the commuting service. There are plenty of people who would
pay the $10 or $20 per flight to get immediately to where they want
to go instead of wasting hour after hour drinking in exhaust fumes
on the clogged roadways. My guess is that even with relatively inefficient
first-generation diricopters, many commuting services could turn
a modest profit those prices. More efficient second-generation diricopters
should provide an excellent competitive venue for further developments
in the commuter service, and expand into the "company copter"
market. Third generation diricopters should expand into the family
car market, with a hugely differential impact on some real estate
values. It would seem that there are some significant opportunities
in this context for someone to create new wealth, if anyone reading
this has some initiative.
By time of
that third-generation and after, these semi-dirigible helicopters
have been seen in several various futures as the "family car."
Low-flying, slow, light, can't fall, worst it can do is only to
drift if its power fails; following radar/radio beacons like roads;
low-powered and fuel efficient. Three dimensions laned instead of
two, means a few human generations before traffic gets to be a problem
again and maybe by then we'll have worked out a very different way
altogether of getting back and forth. No more traffic problems:
just mount another beacon-channel to fly through between widely
spaced poles some or many miles apart. Safety overrides force drift-down
with distress beacon if a flyer leaves the pre-programmed channel
or if power fails. Wind and storm warning provisions built into
override system. If a flyer drifts down onto water, it will float
indefinitely. Nearly buoyant in the air, it will be very buoyant
in the water. Emergency anchors and anchor for normal tethering
when onsite, or fuselage panels filled with lifting gas or helium
are deflated and pumped back into pressurized canisters for longer-term
parking. Profitable for someone to provide: a simple, simple, simple
system which lets people get on with what they need to be doing.
40 years of overlooking it(!), people back here in the U.S.
finally picked up Europe's nickel-cadmium battery, a pretty penny
got turned and new branches of industry developed. Surely the diricopter,
yet another one of our inventions which are exercises in the obvious,
now your invention because cast into public domain to dramatize
the need for our proposed patent reform (see posted at http://www.winwenger.com)
and in reference to our current major new book Discovering The
Obvious surely this diricopter is potentially a greater profit-maker
for someone than was the likewise overlooked nickel-cadmium battery?
©1998 by Project Renaissance (regarding this internet version
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reach Win Wenger, please visit his website at Project
on the latest Double Festival is available here.
originally published on Anakin's
Brain (now Genius By Design)