Aeroplanes In Ancient India

Discussion in 'Eastern Philosophy' started by kmguru, Mar 21, 2004.

  1. LostInThought7 Registered Senior Member

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    181
    I may be remembering incorrectly, but wasn't the scrap of text talking about the ancient mass destructive weapons, the text referenced earlier...wasn't it found to be a hoax? A forgery?
     
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  3. adam2314 Registered Senior Member

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    409
    Having come into this debate late..

    Having read page one..

    I can only point readers to The first word learnt by indian children..

    NO !!.. No no no no no !!.. With head wobble..

    Followed up in later life by the absolute desire to have a Hi Vis vest and a clip board..

    NO !!.. no no no no no...

    What you must be doing is !!..

    A pack of lazy know it all wonks..

    The Indian word most understood by the world is.. Pyjama's..

    Apart from that sloppy shit CURRY..
     
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  5. adam2314 Registered Senior Member

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    409
    India is expected by most of the gurues to be ahead of China by 2025..

    Hahahaaaa.. A country with 18 ( eighteen ) official languages .. No infrastructure.. Squillions of religions.. Millions of children begging daily on the streets..

    This is all going to change in 25 years ??..

    Yeah right ( Tui Ad )..

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    )
     
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  7. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    9,232
    Certainly we can expect much greater advances in India in quarter of a century than we can in the value of adam2314's posts. Indeed, you seem quite unaware of the advances brought about in the last twenty five years in India.
     
  8. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

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    835
    Much as I really hate to say it, the important difference between India and China, that has made China able to so far completely outstrip India, in spite of starting from equally humble beginnings, is democracy.

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    Doing stuff is SO much easier when you don't need to ask the voters first.

    In the long run, however, I hope and think that democracy will prevail, and that China will be forced to join. Totalitarian methods can only get you so far.

    Hans
     
  9. Hesperado Don't immanentize the eschaton Registered Senior Member

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    Lynn White, Jr., the unassumingly great historian of medieval technology (1907-1987), mentions in a monograph written in 1961 probably the first person to attempt flight -- a Muslim who lived in Andalus (Islamic Spain) in the middle of the 9th century A.D. by the name of Ibn Firnas.

    According to a Moroccan historian al-Maqqari (writing some 750 years later), White reports, Ibn Firnas “covered himself with feathers for the purpose, attached a couple of wings to his body, and, getting on an eminence, flung himself down into the air, when, according to the testimony of several trustworthy writers who witnessed the performance, he flew a considerable distance, as if he had been a bird, but, in alighting again on the place whence he had started, his back was very much hurt, for not knowing that birds when they alight come down upon their tails, he forgot to provide himself one.”

    Over a century later, in 1010 A.D., the first Western man to attempt flight figures in the title of White’s study: Eilmer of Malmesbury, an abbot of course (most of the technological ferment of the early Middle Ages seemed to have bubbled up from the monasteries of Europe, and not only literally in the refinement of beer and wine fermentation).

    True to his form, White goes on for the rest of his monograph charting in detail how it was Westerners par excellence who uniquely took the ideal of flight and really took off with it—literally and figuratively.

    After centuries and centuries of patient and ingenious attempts to match the Western flight of the mind with a more literal flight, the first foothold in concrete success was achieved in the 19th century with the epiphany of a Pomeranian inventor, Otto Lilienthal: namely, that the obsession heretofore with aerostat balloons was not the way to progress toward faster and more effective flight, nor so much the mimicking of birds, but rather the aerodynamics of the kite. His epiphany immediately inspired the Wright brothers and their momentous departure from earth shortly after the fin du siècle of the 20th century. And the rest is, as they say, history: the history, that is, of the the better-known, stupendously marvelous career of the 20th century airplane, rocket, missile, helicopter, jets, satellites and space travel.

    Why that early Islamic attempt at flight fizzled out, while Western attempts only increased in ingenuity until the West achieved what no other culture did in that technology, may have something to do with what the Moroccan historian al-Maqqari notes in his history: namely, that Ibn Firnas and his little project was frowned upon as "un-Islamic" exploration and so unworthy of being pursued when a good Muslim better should spend his time following the Sunna ever mindful of Allah and the 1,001 Dos and Don'ts of Allah's last and greatest Prophet, the "ideal man" (al-insan al-kamil) and "the best model for all mankind", Muhammad.

    (Adapted from my essay, From Firnas to the Furnace of 911).
     
  10. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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    Sounds like a fairy tale to me. A hang glider has about 150 sq ft to allow a person to not drop like a rock and basically be held aloft by upslope winds. So if we were to convert this to 3 foot wide wings this would mean that we would need a wing span of 50 ft. What possible material could be used in a ancient time to construct this. How could somebody possible maneuver (or even hold them up) something of that size and weight. So he took off flew around and landed with no tail and fifty foot wings.

    You believe that story?:shrug:
     
  11. Gustav Banned Banned

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    12,575
    so lets thank the chinese for the epiphanies and inspiration
    here goes.....

    we the white man, thank you, dear chineseman, for being an indispensable cog in the development of modern flight
     
  12. sifreak21 Valued Senior Member

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    1,671
    i hope this is a joke.. the models are pretty solid evidence.. when blown up to scale actually fly very far
     
  13. Hesperado Don't immanentize the eschaton Registered Senior Member

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    177
    Surely a person can hang-glide for a while after jumping off a high cliff, especially if the winds are right. That sounds like what Ibn Firnas did.
     
  14. origin In a democracy you deserve the leaders you elect. Valued Senior Member

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    10,584
    No it doesn't - not even close.
     
  15. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

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    Sorry, but: Evidence? Which ancient plane models fly very far when scaled up, and who did such experiments?

    I know one Egyptian bird model is reputed to have flown reasonably when hand-launched, but attempts to repeat that with a replica failed rather badly.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saqqara_Bird

    That said, birds have always been visible to people, and a reasonably well executed replica of a bird (including proper balancing and weight-matching) could indeed be flyable as a glider, without proving anything but that somebody could watch birds.

    Hans
     
  16. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    835
    Well, if we want to be charitable, in older days precise observation and reporting was prioritized way below a good story, so what might have happened is that he jumped off a cliff and managed enough lift to not get himself killed, as most trying that stunt have.

    Obviously he could not have landed on the same level as he took off from and the account of the tail is nonsense; flying without some tail arrangement is indeed doubtful (although para-gliders do just that), but if his craft permitted him to fly, it would not have kept him from landing.

    Hans
     
  17. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    That's ridiculous. You can't take a device that uses an airfoil for flotation and "blow it up" proportionally and expect it to float.

    The mass of an object dictates how much force is needed to lift it, and mass is proportional to the cube of linear dimension. The surface area of the airfoil dictates how much force is available to lift it, and surface area is only proportional to the square of linear dimension.

    So if you take any arbitrary flying object and expand it proportionally by, say, doubling its linear dimensions, you end up with an enlarged version that has eight times the original mass. However, the airfoils will only have four times their original area. The linear dimensions of the airfoils must be expanded by an additional 41.4% before they can provide the force necessary to support the mass.

    If you multiply linear dimension by 10, you increase the weight by a factor of 1000, so you need to increase the linear dimensions of the wings by the square root of 1000, which is about 32.

    This is why the largest birds like the 300lb/135kg ostrich can't fly. It would need something like a 90ft/27m wingspan. Even to glide on thermals it would need a significant fraction of that.

    So anyone who claims that he "blew up" a tiny toy flying machine and got it to fly is just telling a tall tale.
     
  18. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

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    835
    Actually, I don't think sifreak21 quite knows what he is talking about, but to be fair, if what you have is a scale model, and you blow it back up to full size, presumably it can fly, if the original could.

    Anyway, the problem is more complex than this, because speed is an important factor in creating lift, and speed doesn't scale. If you make a 100th scale model of a medium-sized jet liner, you get a model that is 45cm in wing-span and weighs 8kg. This will fly if you can launch it at some 300 knots! (160kts if you fitted flaps and slats.)

    However, if you just throw it by hand, it will provide a very nice imitation of a brick.

    This is the reason people making flying scale models have to make them very light.

    Hans
     
  19. Ophiolite Valued Senior Member

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    Either you didn't read what Fraggle wrote, or you didn't understand it. Either way you are wrong. (To see why read and understand Fraggle's last post.)
     
  20. kmguru Staff Member

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    11,757
    Yes you may be right...but it is the Indian who taught the art of Industrial Ecosystem to the Chinese in early 80's...so there is room there...
     
  21. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

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    835
    Yes, I understood it. And I'm right: If you scale a scale model back to normal size, it will be flyable.

    Hans
     
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

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    24,690
    Okay. But that wasn't how I read it. I thought they were flying toys, not non-flying scale models of workable vehicles.
    So the model needs to be launched at approximately the same speed as the full-size prototype? Wow!
    No, he's right. He is postulating that the Indians built a full size flying machine that actually worked. It has not survived, and all that has been passed down to us are small scale models. As he explained, these cannot fly. It's just the opposite of my scenario: the small one flies because it was designed to, but the blown-up model does not.

    The point is, you've got three scenarios:
    • The large one can fly but the small one cannot.
    • The small one can fly but the large one cannot.
    • Neither one can fly.
    It is not possible for both to fly.
     
  23. MRC_Hans Skeptic Registered Senior Member

    Messages:
    835
    That is basically correct. [nitpick]If you make a scale model very light, it may still fly[/nitpick]

    However, I assume the claim is that they represented full-size planes. After all, a flying toy is not that sensational. Flying toys may have existed at many times in the past, in various forms. We know of some (e.g. boomerangs).

    Hans
     

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