Whatever the reality is, whether they actually saw such amazing aircraft or whether they had daydreams or delusions or there was some other explanation, there certainly have been enormous numbers of people who believe they have seen (and sometimes even photographed or taken home movies of) such aircraft.
I have no interest in getting involved with the many people who get very passionate in either defending or attacking such claims. They are each free to make any conclusions they wish. For me, the Jury is still out on this subject so I feel that I cannot make any conclusions either way.
This discussion is centered on a different matter. It is related to the Physics which might apply for such aircraft, to try to determine whether such things even COULD exist. Whether they DO is up to others to try to discover!
Self-Sufficiency - Many Suggestions|
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There are actually two different technologies in modern aircraft flight. One is based on the Bernoulli principle. Of the two, this is by far the most efficient regarding energy consumption, as the other one, Reaction Lift, is essentially a brute force approach. In practical aircraft wing design, the MAXIMUM amount of Bernoulli Lift is around 20 pounds per square foot at air velocities of 150 miles per hour. So a 2,000 pound small aircraft has to have at least 100 square feet of effective wing surface in order to remain flying. Even more if it intends to fly any slower.
THAT has always blindly been accepted as a wonderful accomplishment, 20 pounds per square foot lift.
However, in Physics, we examine the SOURCE for such processes. The Bernoulli Effect is well known to be due to the DIFFERENCE between the air pressure ABOVE a wing and the air pressure below the wing. Schoolchildren know that natural air pressure is around 15 pounds PER SQUARE INCH. If multiplied by 144, we find that is around 2,116 pounds per square foot.
Any analysis of an aircraft wing therefore shows that the pressure BELOW the wing is around 2116 PSF, and ABOVE it is around 2096 PSF (at maximum lift). The DIFFERENCE provides the 20 PSF (or 2116 - 2096) lift of the wing surface, and makes the ability to fly.
As a Physicist, I found that impressive. So, during the 1990s, I did extensive research regarding this subject. I even built a small and very crude device, which I suppose might have been called an aircraft. It was around the size of a kitchen table. It's total weight was around 35 pounds and it contained a standard (unmodified) 3.5 HP lawn mower engine for power. Since I only intended an extremely brief flight, simply to show me whether I had discovered a solution and a mechanism for such a device, I included no controls whatever in it. I had predetermined how much gasoline was necessary to keep the lawnmower engine running for a total of about 20 seconds, ten seconds of idling and ten seconds of full speed. That gave me ten seconds after starting the engine to lift it up to release it, where it then had fuel for ten seconds of being in the air.
As a Research Scientist, one never actually knows how any experiment will work. I had previously calculated a performance which I considered ridiculous for being too impressive. So, in early May, 1999, shortly after dawn in a small meadow in an extremely remote area of forest, I was to find out.
In its 10 seconds of flight, it rose straight up (basically) and it attained a maximum altitude of around 520 feet, before the engine ran out of gas and it dropped back down. Unfortunately, that morning there was a little wind, and it actually landed in the top of a relatively tall tree. It took me more than an hour to get it down.
That was the ONLY flight it ever made. Around three weeks later, I dismantled the (still damaged) object and scrapped out everything except the lawn mower engine. I also felt it necessary to destroy all notes, drawings and other records of it, along with all calculations and research I had done in originally inventing it.
Why? Because of the performance it showed me that morning. In rising to the 520 feet in the ten seconds, simple calculations showed that it had accelerated upward at 10.4 ft/sec/sec. I knew that NO aircraft except some advanced military fighters could match a vertical rate of climb of 520 feet in ten seconds (which is 3120 ft/minute climb rate). The rate of acceleration showed that it had created an average upward force of around 45 pounds, 35 pounds of which would have enabled it to hover and the extra 10 pounds causing the vertical acceleration.
A more thorough analysis showed that it had actually started out with greater acceleration and force than this, but that due to the crudeness of the device I had built, it had gotten to its maximum vertical velocity after only around 3 seconds, where the rest of the flight was essentially at that fixed vertical velocity (i.e., no vertical acceleration after the first 3 seconds). But I had never built it for any maximum performance. I had merely wanted to find out if it would work at all. It certainly did.
A point that later made me smile was that the device I had built was SO crude that its actual lift had been LESS than that of most existing aircraft when at cruising speed, only around 4 PSF! But since the craft was very small and light, it was able to rise very impressively.
Remember that all it had for power was an unmodified B&S 3.5 HP lawnmower engine!
I felt pretty confident that if I had built one with a healthier engine, it might have been able to match the amazing flight characteristics often mentioned regarding UFO reports. Such aircraft may not be so amazing at all, but the fact that we people seem limited to forever using a 1903 approach to powered flight technology might just make them SEEM relatively impressive. So as of that day, I have wondered if there is some other person or persons who have thought like me and created a very high performance aircraft. If so, it seems surprising that the owner has not used it to become disgustingly rich and famous and even powerful!
WHY did I dismantle and destroy it soon after the experiment and get rid of all records of its design and construction? Because I had also calculated that a REFINED version of that structure seemed mathematically capable of as much as 100 times the lift I observed that morning. More realistically, maybe 50 times should have been easily achieved.
At first, I thought this was great! A present construction crane must be massive to lift a few tons of steel up to the top of a bridge or tall building. But my experiment and calculations seemed to suggest that even my tabletop sized device (with many refinements and a far more powerful engine) might generate lift of 4500 pounds or even 9000 pounds rather than the 45 pounds I saw that day. The tiny device might then have been able to lift two-ton beams to any height in a matter of seconds! I had thought of a hundred possible applications for that capability. But then I came across the one application that terrified me so much that I dismantled it! I had realized that a SMALLER device than I had made, mabye the size of a family-sized pizza (about two square feet) could (and WOULD) be the platform for many terrifying weapons. If such a device weighed 20 pounds and could produce lift of 400 pounds or even 800 pounds, then it could fly in ways that only the alleged UFOs have ever (allegedly) shown!
Using the more conservative 400 pounds of lift, that would mean that it could accelerate at around 20Gs (given the weight of 20 pounds). I imagined that some criminal or terrorist might have such a platform and attached a standard handgun and computer radio control to it. I imagined the criminal holding this small and light device two blocks away from a target enemy, and releasing it into computer control. At 20Gs acceleration, it could get up to 200 mph speed in half a second, fly to go through an open window two blocks away ( in 3 seconds), decelerate and STOP and hover inside a room, fire the handgun, accelerate back out the window and be sitting back in the hands of the criminal five seconds later. The person in the room would never have more than a fraction of a second to even realize what was happening. If the computer programming was accurate, he would be dead moments after any danger existed. And the criminal, two blocks away, could put the device in a bag and walk away, never to be caught.
I realized that NO ONE ON EARTH would be safe from such a weapon! If someone angered a neighbor or an ex-wife or an employee or a political rival, it seemed to me that it might become trivially simple to simply end that adversary's life, quickly, inexpensively and easily, with essentially no possible chance of even ever being caught.
I imagined the KGB or the CIA having such a device, where the premise might be that they would ONLY use it against really bad people. But we have all seen how poorly their security is, and how many weeks later would it be before terrorists like al-Qaeda would have it and start exterminating everyone who disagreed with them? Or even an aberrant politician who knew that if a thousand voters who would have voted for the other guy, all mysteriously died, he would win an election!
It would be wonderful to believe that human nature would never do such things, but we see them every day in the news. So I saw absolutely NO choice but to destroy my device.
I vowed that the ONLY way I would ever disclose it would be if SOMEONE ELSE had begun using a similar device as a weapon.
In any case, given human nature, it seemed to me extremely LIKELY that most or all of the human race might be exterminated in a matter of months. It is bad enough that we have to worry about Bird flue and H1N1 and AIDS and global warming and all the hundreds of small wars that are constantly slaughtering people. But imagine if the Serbs had such a weapon in the early 1990s; they certainly would have exterminated ALL the Albanians with it. Stalin would have exterminated millions of perceived enemies. Saddam Hussein, the same. Hitler, the same. Osama bin Laden, the same. Ku Klux Klan leaders, the same. And then there would be revenge retaliations that exterminated all who had survived.
I will NOT be the cause of releasing such a weapon onto civilization!
But it certainly made for a fun early morning early in May 1999 for me!
Obviously, I hope that no one else will figure it out. Some aspects of my design were so peculiar that I tend to wonder if anyone will even realize the correct thinking necessary. My device actually seemed to make no sense whatever from a logical perspective!
The world has so many critical problems, that I also tend to wonder IF humanity will survive long enough for such a weapon platform to be able to exterminate many. Global warming alone, seems very likely to displace hundreds of millions of people by the year 2060 due to ocean levels rising and making Florida and Bangladesh and Indonesia and many large world cities disappear under the ocean. But the damage already done due to global warming (due to burning fossil fuels at astounding rates) seems certain to cause the Earth's average temperature to rise above the 80F that Agronomists and Botanists say will end the ability of any plants being able to raise sufficient water from the soil to keep its own leaves from drying out and dying. And within months of the end of all plants, all animals and humans will die of starvation. My calculations indicate that will likely occur around the year 2140, but possibly sooner.
The fact that many talking heads on TV have no idea what they are talking about, but they insist that there is not even any problem, means that nothing will be done to try to correct any of it. Just yesterday, I saw a noted and respected politician claim that all the furor about global warming is a lie! He claimed that that the actual evidence is that the Earth has been COOLING since 1998! Unbelievable! In the entire 7,000 years of human civilization, it was recently reported (and I confirmed) that ONE-FOURTH of all fossil fuels EVER burned by humanity were burned IN THIS DECADE, ten years!
Such ignorance, and the fact that some noted TV personalities announce things that are not remotely true, seems certain to guarantee that humanity will NOT see the year 2140 on Earth! We are certainly an impressive species aren't we? (mentioned here because even if this presentation of mine inspires someone to figure out things I suspect are beyond them, it may not really matter that much whether some autocrat or some criminal or terrorist group finds ways to kill off a few million people, because we nearly certainly have ALREADY ensured the end of all humanity, at a time when some small children now living may die of starvation.
A presentation on those matters is at Global Warming - The Physics of the Process. A True Disaster at our own Hands.
C Johnson, Theoretical Physicist, Univ of Chicago