We, as naturally aeronautically-challenged beings, romantasise the freedom and serenity of flight, often without any consideration for the supreme physical effort required to achieve that first gravity-defying moment at lift-off. The Cerambycid Longhorn Beetles do a stellar job of de-romantasising the act of getting airborne…..
Flying snakes – for real. Above, moments from biologist Jake Socha’s TEDxVirginiaTech talk on the aerodynamics behind the flight of the Chrysopelea snake species, a type of snake that doesn’t need to board a plane with Samuel L. Jackson to get airborne.
Socha explains how snakes turn themselves into gliders through some very unique techniques, including flattening their bodies to transform their shape into a wing, undulating constantly to create stability in their motions, and launching themselves into the air by pushing away from tree branches.
In 1944, American Soldier Duane Hodgkinson and his friend were hiking up into the interior of Papa New Guinea. They came to a jungle clearing, about a hundred feet in diameter with moderately high grass, where the two men saw a creature on the far side.
The animal apparently ran to their left, taking 6 to 10 steps to get airborne. It then promptly disappeared over the dense brush after first flying over the clearing.
Hodgkinson estimated the legs to be about 3-4 ft long and although he did not notice any details of the tail he estimated that it was at least 10-15 ft long. Hodgkinson also compared the wingspan to a Piper Tri-Pacer airplane, roughly about 29 ft. He also noted an appendage protruding from the head, above the neck which was about 18-24 inches long.
Source: Reports of Living Pterosaurs in the Southwest Pacific
Nobuo Fujita, a Japanese Naval Aviator, had an interesting story unlike any other. He was deployed aboard the submarine I-25, piloting the single E14Y “Glen” it carried.
On the morning of December 7, 1941, I-25 was patrolling near Hawaii. Fujita’s plane was having maintenance concerns, meaning he couldn’t get airborne for the initial reconnaissance missions. After the attack, I-25 patrolled along the West Coast of the United States, attacking US military shipping operations.
On the sub’s second deployment, this time to Sydney, Australia (1942), Fujita was tasked with scouting out Sydney Harbor as well as several other points of military value.
On the third, I-25 and her crew were tasked with watching Alaska in anticipation of the Aleutian Campaign. On June 21, 1942, Fujita was on the deck of his sub as it attacked Fort Stevens, Oregon. This was the only time an American military installation was attacked in the continental United States. The only damage to the Fort was the destruction of the backstop on its baseball field.
On I-25′s last cruise in September, 1942, Fujita had an entirely new mission- starting forest fires to disrupt the American Pacific war effort. He bombed twice near Brookings, Oregon, on September 9 and 29, 1942. The bombings were largely ineffective. I-25 sank two American cargo ships and a Soviet submarine on her way home, the latter by accident.
In 1944, Fujita was reassigned to the training of kamikaze pilots. He opened a hardware store after the Second World War ended.
In 1962, the city of Brookings invited him for a visit. He gifted the city his family’s 400-year-old sword, which he had planned to commit suicide with if the Americans would not forgive him. He planted trees at the bomb sites as an apology.
Fujita visited Brookings several more times before his death on September 30, 1997, at the age of 85. His daughter spread his ashes at the bomb site in 1998.
Did I ever mention that I was accused of pole dancing at age 9?
Yeah so on my school’s playground they had this pole and I was always too scared to slide down, so instead I would just spin around it with one hand trying to get airborne like a loser.
Well one day a teacher, like a woman in her twenties, came up to me and told me to stop that “obscene behavior immediately”. Me. With my Powerpuff Girls tee and jeans on. And I asked why and she got all flustered and said something like “it’s not what good girls do” or some shit like that. So I didn’t stop and she got SUPER mad and basically created a new playground rule of “no spinning on the green pole”.
So naturally every child there was now attempting one or two handed swings on this thing. One kid even achieved it handless with just his knees. It also resulted in three head wounds and a broken wrist before they figured it wasn’t worth the trouble and just left me to fucking play on this pole in peace
Drawn up in only 14 days, the massive Messerschmitt Gigant was designed as an assault glider for the invasion of Russia. The original Me 321 version needed rocket boost and three Me 110 tow planes to get airborne and dropped its take-off dolly to save weight and drag. This complicated arrangement led to many accidents, including one where all four crew and 120 troops were killed. To simplify, things, a powered version, the Me 323 was developed using the cheapest and puniest engines available and adding an eight-wheeled undercarriage. This reduced the carrying capacity greatly but improved practicality.
Used on several fronts, the Me 323 Gigant (Giant) proved vulnerable to attack from fighters and even medium bombers, and several massacres occurred with whole fleets of the lumbering transports shot down with heavy loss of life.
The biggest of these occurred on 22 April 1943, when 16 Me 323s of Transportgeschwader 5 , fully laden with supplies of fuel for the Afrika Korps, were caught off Cape Bon, Tunisia, by two squadrons of RAF Spitfires and four squadrons of South African Air Force Kittyhawks. Fourteen Me 323s were shot down and destroyed, along with 240 tons of fuel, and of the 140 aircrew of TG5, only 19 survived.
A holy angel dressed in white and wielding a golden spear. Seen near Ile Saint- Louis and on top of Notre Dame. Is that what they were calling now? Any other time he’d have been called a murderer. Arno couldn’t help but chuckle when he heard the rumor through his window. He hadn’t planned on going out in his current….condition, but he couldn’t exactly sit by and watch as people were being threatened on the bridge either.
Arno knew he had to do something, but for his face to be seen would have an outcome that was…undesirable to say the least, so in a rush he threw on a coat and a mask and managed to glide himself to the trouble. It was almost like a leap of faith when he took his leave, he had no idea whether he would get airborne or not, but he knew he had to get away while the few citizens on the bridge were still in shock.
Shaky at first, he managed to get a hold of flying, knowing he couldn’t really fly back home until after night fall, so he took refuge on the bell tower, unfortunately, his massive wings caught the attention of on lookers. Somehow he managed to return home, unseen, as no one was busting down the door looking for him. Not yet at least. He did however expect a certain someone to come looking for him and a scolding to come with that someone. Or a broken wing, he already threatened to break his legs to keep him from getting killed, he expected no less if it meant keeping him from being shot out of the sky.
Imagine meeting Sam Wilson after the first test flight of his Redwing prototype goes awry and shatters through your window.
——— Request for Bixbi ———
When you’d heard the crash, you’d nearly dropped your cup of water, “What the hell?” Rushing into the other room, your eyes scan the walls until they meet the shattered window, the broken glass leading them to he culprit, which looked to be some kind of remote control flying toy, “Damn kids.”
You were grumbling to yourself as you moved towards it, watching it glitch out on your floor as it tried to get airborne again in vain, considering one wing was bent and broken, “Excuse me?”
You jump again, looking towards your broken window with wide eyes to find none other than a man in a suit with wings, flying outside your window apologetically, “What the hell?” The repetition makes him chuckle, before pointing towards the broken machine on your floor.
“My bad. Sorry about that,” he dips into your window easily enough, and surprisingly, considering the wingspan that he’d had a moment before. “I’m Sam Wilson, but you may know me as the Falcon.”
You frown, crossing your arms at the smiling man, “I know you as the guy who broke my window.”
Somehow, that only makes his smile widen as he nods, “Fair enough. How about I get that fixed?”
Five of six Air Force F-35 fighter jets were unable to take off during a recent exercise due to software bugs that continue to hamstring the world’s most sophisticated—and most expensive—warplane.
During a mock deployment at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho, just one of the $100 million Lockheed Martin F-35s was able to boot its software successfully and get itself airborne during an exercise designed to test the readiness of the F-35, FlightGlobal reports. Nonetheless, the Air Force plans to declare its F-35s combat-ready later this year.
I had a semi-terrifying experience in Las Vegas last month shooting Damien Patton of Banjo for Inc. Magazine. Photographing from the passenger seat of a pickup truck bouncing through unpaved desert isn’t for the faint of heart. When I hopped out to shoot from the outside, he spent the rest of the time trying to get the truck airborne.