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Author Topic: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?  (Read 8087 times)

Offline Voxx

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Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« on: 15/02/2013 04:37:37 »
Alright; again another one of my science fiction questions.  I have been doing minuscule research on the topic, but I will tell what I have found out myself and let the experts school me on the rest.

1: It is technically impossible for humans to fly.  We are simple not with the aerodynamic shape and the wings themselves would have to be over a hundred meters in length.

2: The Paragon Falcon is the fastest known creature within our world today (I don't know about the past).  Although; the Anna Hummingbird can move over two hundred lengths of it's body faster than the falcon, but still is slower in clockwise speed.
_______________________________________________________________________________________

Now on to my thoughts on my book.

I am allowed some leeway since it is science fiction and talking about creatures that are not exactly  human.

1: To a slender human with the height of 5"2 and a wing span (can vary, maybe longer or shorter) of nearly eight meters.  Rigidly bat textured(are bat textured wings meant for gliding, not flying?)

2: How far can I justify this with a difference in anatomy as in muscle fiber density, type, and/or strength.

3: Would the strength/resilience of the wings take into account anything like weight?

4: Weight can vary depending on your suggestions with muscle.

5: How would aerodynamics work with this wing shape and lugging around a human body?

I know what I ask may not be in your general expertise.  I will consider any and all information you can illuminate me on.


 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #1 on: 15/02/2013 05:33:53 »
Quote from: Voxx
is technically impossible for humans to fly.
Yes. Itís impossible. You have to add a mechanism to the body in order to let it fly.

Quote from: Voxx
I am allowed some leeway since it is science fiction and talking about creatures that are not exactly  human.

1: To a slender human with the height of 5"2 and a wing span (can vary, maybe longer or shorter) of nearly eight meters.  Rigidly bat textured(are bat textured wings meant for gliding, not flying?)
This isnít phrased as a question. I assume that youíre asking if a human 5í2Ē could fly with a wing span of eight meters. I donít believe so. The force exerted by the air on the wings would be much to great for a human to handle. However I donít see it as being impossible for a bird to exist which is 5í2Ē tall having an 8 meter wing span. But then it wouldnít be human any longer.

Quote from: Voxx
2: How far can I justify this with a difference in anatomy as in muscle fiber density, type, and/or strength.
Iím afraid that youíve come to the wrong forum. You should try a discussion forum on physiology. Its that field of science which studies questions like this.

Quote from: Voxx
3: Would the strength/resilience of the wings take into account anything like weight?
If youíre asking whether the size and structure of the wings be determined by the weight of the body then yes.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #2 on: 15/02/2013 06:21:47 »
It might all depend on what you consider flight.

If you are talking about gliding, like a flying squirrel. 

Consider hang Gliders, or para sails.

You might also consider wingsuits.  The biggest issue is landing, although apparently a few people have attempted chuteless landings.
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #3 on: 15/02/2013 08:30:19 »
It might all depend on what you consider flight.

If you are talking about gliding, like a flying squirrel. 

Consider hang Gliders, or para sails.

You might also consider wingsuits.  The biggest issue is landing, although apparently a few people have attempted chuteless landings.
I assume that he meant non-mechanized. And of course non-mechanized flight by humns is impossible. We need things to fly, like sails or winged jumpsuits (winged lilke a flying squirrel that is).
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #4 on: 15/02/2013 10:28:50 »
1. Humans have flown across the English Channel (or La Manche, for our French readers)  in a human-powered aircraft, powered by a top athlete on a bicycle. The wingspan was 30 meters:  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gossamer_Albatross

2. Fastest bird: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peregrine_Falcon

_________________
1. Bats can fly

3. Supporting human weight against the forces of gravity and air resistance requires a very light and strong material. It also requires energy that is close to the maximum that a human being can produce.

To overcome these barriers, you could imagine:
- Reduced gravity, such as flying inside a cavern on the Moon, or in an orbiting spaceship
- Thicker atmosphere than the Earth, but this would reduce speed
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #5 on: 15/02/2013 15:18:58 »
Yes; as Evan_an has stated, I am looking for a non-mechanical means to achieve this feat.  I am trying to use the method I have already stated (flight with wings).

I see that the wings would have to be made of a light, yet durable membrane and also have enough power to fight against air pressure and gravity.

I know this question isn't technically a part of the physics forum, but it does have to do with physics in general as well as anatomy.  How much stronger would the chest muscles have to be to support flight in this manner?  Not necessarily more fiber, but more powerful fiber (amount < quality).

Thanks for the confirmation that bats actually do fly Evan_au.

Also; a tail is usually used as a stabilizer, correct?  How do bat's get away with this exclusion, body shape, wing membrane?
 

Offline Pmb

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #6 on: 15/02/2013 18:45:21 »
Quote from: Voxx
I know this question isn't technically a part of the physics forum, but it does have to do with physics in general as well as anatomy.  How much stronger would the chest muscles have to be to support flight in this manner?  Not necessarily more fiber, but more powerful fiber (amount < quality).
The muscle tissue is all wrong for such flight. Holding the wings open during flight would be too hard no matter how strong you are. Also the muscle has to be able to endure  sustained action. Think about how many times a bird either flaps his wings in flight or has to hold them up for sailing. A fixed wing would over come the sailing problem as it does with airplanes but you canít have a fixed wing to start flying and for maneuvering. Donít forget that birds have one advantage over us. Their bones are hollow so they donít carry that weight with them

Quote from: Voxx
Also; a tail is usually used as a stabilizer, correct?  How do bat's get away with this exclusion, body shape, wing membrane?
Perhaps. Not sure.
 

Offline evan_au

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #7 on: 16/02/2013 07:46:44 »
There is a photo here of a bat with a membrane between its rear legs and tail as a stabiliser: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bat

But they don't have a vertical stabiliser like a jet.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #8 on: 16/02/2013 08:07:24 »
The muscle tissue is all wrong for such flight.

I get what you're saying, but what I'm trying to explain is a whole new muscle type.  I know that human muscle fiber can't accomplish anything of the sort, but since this is a science fiction book and these creatures come from a different existence is it so hard to have a new fiber pattern?

The largest problem I am having to come up with is the bones as you have stated.  Having hollow bones does make for an easier flight, but at the cost of durability (I know that I probably won't be able to outsmart evolution's billions of years in adaptation and solve the problem over night, but i'm trying to come up with a solution).

I know this question marks in a physiological section, but again it also has to do with aviation and lift (physics).  If this creature had humanoid shape, but a completely different biological makeup and fiber pattern would it still be possible (in even a remote way)?

This also comes with the durability vs weight issue and stability/navigation, but I'm trying to work a problem at a time.  I would also love some comments on thoughts you may have to help along the solution.
« Last Edit: 16/02/2013 08:09:34 by Voxx »
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #9 on: 16/02/2013 10:38:51 »

Well, there are nano carbon fiber 'muscles' corkscrewing and unwinding themselves. Maybe you could graft that kind of thing into a human? But, would that be a human anymore? We are too heavy, don't have hollow bones as the birds etc, and I think we have the wrong kind of muscles too.
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #10 on: 19/02/2013 02:56:02 »
Interesting; thank you for the comment!  So these micro fibers or any other kind of fiber would add up to supply the strength of possible flight, but now on to the wing design.  Bat like texture wings that are rigidly shaped; is there even any kind of real winged creature out there with those specifications?  How do they fly (such as aerodynamically; a wiki page would be fine of course if anything pops up in your mind)
 

Offline bizerl

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #11 on: 19/02/2013 03:36:45 »
You could look at the pteranodon for inspiration. Not sure how much information is out there about muscle requirements and wing structure but if something the size of that can fly, it would be feasable to think a humanoid can.

If you're looking at science fiction, a dense atmosphere might help. We can swim easily in water because it is so dense. With slightly less gravity and slightly denser air, perhaps something that would seem clunky and non-aerodynamic on Earth, may be able to "fly".

You could also consider a plot point of a species that hasn't acheived full flight, but only some members have the physical attributes that allow it too, and only after training. The same way I can't climb everest or run 10 metres per second, but there are people that can. Then you have to consider why they have wings to begin with I guess.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #12 on: 19/02/2013 04:52:50 »
Quote
The largest problem I am having to come up with is the bones as you have stated.  Having hollow bones does make for an easier flight, but at the cost of durability (I know that I probably won't be able to outsmart evolution's billions of years in adaptation and solve the problem over night, but i'm trying to come up with a solution).
May I suggest bones made of titanium tubing?
Quote
I know this question marks in a physiological section, but again it also has to do with aviation and lift (physics).  If this creature had humanoid shape, but a completely different biological makeup and fiber pattern would it still be possible (in even a remote way)?
Well, a lot of things are conceptually possible if you push the envelope far enough. Maybe the wings could be hollow structures of graphene filled with helium.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #13 on: 19/02/2013 04:53:53 »
Do away with muscles as we know them, replacing them with hydraulic cylinders.
 

Offline Atomic-S

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #14 on: 19/02/2013 04:55:48 »
Do away with the heart and lungs, and replace them with a turbojet engine and hydraulic pump.
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #15 on: 19/02/2013 05:06:08 »
If one was to engineer a "wing suit" for bird-like flapping, one would hinge the wings so that when fully open, there is a physical stop so that it would take no energy to hold them open for gliding. 

Thinking of birds vs humans, the birds tend to have very deep breast/pectoralis muscles.  In general humans have rather shallow pecs, and thus poor leverage for operating wings.

If a hominid species had a deeper breast plate, perhaps one could generate the force to fly.

Our legs are the strongest muscles in the body.  If one was to design a wing suit that utilized a rowing motion, then it would be best to use one's leg muscle group.
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #16 on: 19/02/2013 12:56:34 »
RIGHT! Stand by your beds.

Sorry Voxx, I have been a tad busy of late, but now I am here and ready and able to deal with your SF requirements.

Let the voice (well, typed word) of genius be heard (well, read).

Forget the wings, without a wishbone you're never going to get your airborne super hero, well, airborne.

Now your flying fictional fantasy needs a few modifications to the human form.

Think of the good ol' British Bobby.... Does your head go to the top of that helmet?

That's the first thing you need to alter, a pointy bonce is required for the aerodynamics. Keeping the Fuzz in mind, a huge pair of "plates o' meat" (feet) are also required to mimic the bird's tail, thus giving stability and steering to the flight.

Now to the all important means of propulsion. Again a modification is required, though this one will not be evident from an external view. This is great, since it gives your soaring spectacle the benefit of surprise, if'n you'll pardon the pun.

Your supersonic semi-sapien will require a bowl capable of withstanding immense pressure and a similarly super sphincter. Whatever you do, donít forget the non return valve, or you'll end up with 'Round the World in Eighty Days' balloon instead of a devilish dart. Now for the diet, this will need to be 100% beans. I suggest flatulent flageolet beans might be best. All you need now is a self igniting posterior and perhaps a pair of afterburner underpants (worn over the trousers, of course) and its up, up and away......
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #17 on: 21/02/2013 05:25:44 »
RIGHT! Stand by your beds.

Sorry Voxx, I have been a tad busy of late, but now I am here and ready and able to deal with your SF requirements.

Let the voice (well, typed word) of genius be heard (well, read).

Forget the wings, without a wishbone you're never going to get your airborne super hero, well, airborne.

Now your flying fictional fantasy needs a few modifications to the human form.

Think of the good ol' British Bobby.... Does your head go to the top of that helmet?

That's the first thing you need to alter, a pointy bonce is required for the aerodynamics. Keeping the Fuzz in mind, a huge pair of "plates o' meat" (feet) are also required to mimic the bird's tail, thus giving stability and steering to the flight.

Now to the all important means of propulsion. Again a modification is required, though this one will not be evident from an external view. This is great, since it gives your soaring spectacle the benefit of surprise, if'n you'll pardon the pun.

Your supersonic semi-sapien will require a bowl capable of withstanding immense pressure and a similarly super sphincter. Whatever you do, donít forget the non return valve, or you'll end up with 'Round the World in Eighty Days' balloon instead of a devilish dart. Now for the diet, this will need to be 100% beans. I suggest flatulent flageolet beans might be best. All you need now is a self igniting posterior and perhaps a pair of afterburner underpants (worn over the trousers, of course) and its up, up and away......

A very comical entrance there my friend!  Alright; for clarification let me be a bit more specific on my specifications.  Although; for redundancy tastes I decided to keep it a bit on the DL.

I am looking for a possible flight within a humanoid physique, but within the classical status of a demon.

Two horns two inches above the ear, they extend outwards (repelling each other) in a straight s shape and two more horns bellow them (above the ear) that extend more backwards and in a slant.   She is female (someone was talking about a deeper chest cavity, maybe only females can fly; or maybe fat demons (jokes)).  I was thinking about maybe a classical tail; (thin with a barb, but am open to suggestions; although, not a big fan of bird feathers (not a harpy, a demon)).

The climate and atmospheric pressure is the same as earth, but these demons have (demonic energy) that bolsters their physical strength.  Also; people were talking about micro fibers, hollow bone structures with helium, but extremely durable bones, please no mechanic's (a different section of the book, this is all natural).  The suggestions are fantastic and I can't wait for the helpful responses!
« Last Edit: 21/02/2013 05:28:19 by Voxx »
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #18 on: 21/02/2013 08:57:28 »
Ah! I seem to have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick. I also seem to have equipped my flying fantasy with a bowl in place of a bowel. Well, even a genius can have a bad day.

Might I suggest that your demonic diva takes a leaf or two from the prehistoric Pterosaurs. . Though, strictly speaking, they were gliders rather than flyers, I'm sure with a little tweek here and there, you'll be able to overcome this minor detail. What's more, in true TNS style, you'll be able to fit an obtuse pun into the whole affair, when the frightened populous below shout "Run for cover, terror soars above."


MAD!?!?!? Little ol' moi!?!?!? Certainly not. The cheek of it, I'm not mad, I'm stark staring BONKERS!
« Last Edit: 21/02/2013 09:02:09 by Don_1 »
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #19 on: 21/02/2013 14:02:09 »
Ah! I seem to have gotten hold of the wrong end of the stick. I also seem to have equipped my flying fantasy with a bowl in place of a bowel. Well, even a genius can have a bad day.

Might I suggest that your demonic diva takes a leaf or two from the prehistoric Pterosaurs. . Though, strictly speaking, they were gliders rather than flyers, I'm sure with a little tweek here and there, you'll be able to overcome this minor detail. What's more, in true TNS style, you'll be able to fit an obtuse pun into the whole affair, when the frightened populous below shout "Run for cover, terror soars above."


MAD!?!?!? Little ol' moi!?!?!? Certainly not. The cheek of it, I'm not mad, I'm stark staring BONKERS!
Salutations once again Don!

Haha!  Love your responses (Is Don a pun for professor, maybe being the best at it in reference to the 1?  Putting on a lab coat as Don means in spanish "put on" "wear" or maybe just that you are a male)?  Just seemed to have peeked my interest.

True; they are gliders, I was looking at them and the Pteranodon seems to have a 7.5m (25ft) wing span, which is similar to what I was thinking.  Although; I was imagining a rigid wing type, (not the most feasible premise, but all the same).

It also overlooks the process of navigation; I still need to solve this issue and I doubt a thin barbed tail would help in the least with such a feat?

Thank you for the directional nudge Don!
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #20 on: 22/02/2013 15:01:09 »
Haha!  Love your responses (Is Don a pun for professor,

ME!!! Professor??? Can you get a PhD in idiocy?

I shall give more thought to your request in true Shylock Gnomes fashion. Where's my pipe and violin? Some people just don't know good music when they hear it. Obviously he does!

As far as navigation goes, banking to one side or 'tuther will induce a turn, a rudder is not required. Just take a look at one of masters of the air, such as a Herring Gull. It can seem to hang in the air stationary for ages by no more than trimming its wings when head on to the wind, then a simple banking will take it off in the desired direction. It has been suggested that the crest on the Pteranadon's head might have played a part in its navigation.

Now I think I read somewhere, that you weren't too keen on feathers, but a look at the ancient Egyptian goddess Isis or perhaps Horus or Ma'at might be of some assistance. Failing that try Camazotz, the Mayan god of Bats. There again, you could just look to Bats for a little inspiration. Try the Giant Fruit Bat.

But, if you want a real terrifying old bat, we can be of great assistance to each other. Just as soon as the Mrs gets home, I'll shove her in a strong box and post her off to you. LOOK OUT!!! Here she comes now! Sorry, I chickened out, is it safe to come out now?
 

Offline Voxx

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #21 on: 22/02/2013 17:08:17 »
I honestly love your humor!

Iris, Horus and Ma'at do have wings indeed; I should have been clearer in saying that is not the direction I want to take with their appearance.

Google imaging Camazotz I found that the rigid shaped wings were quite similar to what I was imagining, but that isn't what I am concerned about.  I'm just trying to come up with a physical (feasible) way to accomplish sustained flight with tight aviation.  Nice references!

You have thrown the Herring Gull into the brain pool, a wonderful thought.  An absolutely brilliant idea with the Pteranodons on the other hand!  I hadn't even considered horn like aviation.

I doubt I can run it in any kind of scientific sense, but could the four horns (being stationary) be used to acquire maneuverability?
 

Offline Don_1

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #22 on: 25/02/2013 15:20:55 »

Iris, Horus and Ma'at do have wings indeed;


No, no; Isis, not a flying eyeball

I doubt I can run it in any kind of scientific sense, but could the four horns (being stationary) be used to acquire maneuverability?

I see no reason why not. Not all horns are round in nature. Some goats have a more flattened horn. You could have two pointy, round horns pointing forward and behind them two flattened, back sweeping horns sort of boomerang shaped and even put a folding flap on them somewhat like the 'wings' of a flying fish. Moving the head side to side would then give a rudder type reaction.

I would demonstrate what I mean, but I threw my boomerang away and it didn't come back.
 

Offline yor_on

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #23 on: 25/02/2013 19:42:37 »
Does it have to be earth?

Imagine a planet with a less gravity, but some denser composition of a atmosphere? Is that possible?
Think that was Cliffords suggestion originally by the way. Or can you make a atmosphere, possible to breath for humans, denser? Not by adding mass but by the sheer outrageous composition of it??

And use hollow bones, why should you avoid it if all birds use it? A bird not good enough for you huh :)
 

Offline CliffordK

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #24 on: 25/02/2013 20:36:50 »
I can't take credit for the gravity/density notes.

To overcome these barriers, you could imagine:
- Reduced gravity, such as flying inside a cavern on the Moon, or in an orbiting spaceship
- Thicker atmosphere than the Earth, but this would reduce speed
If you're looking at science fiction, a dense atmosphere might help. We can swim easily in water because it is so dense. With slightly less gravity and slightly denser air, perhaps something that would seem clunky and non-aerodynamic on Earth, may be able to "fly".

Titan might be a good place to try flying, with an atmospheric pressure of 146.7 kPa = 1.44 ATM, and it has a gravity of 0.14g.  It is downright chilly on Titan, but based on the ideal gas law, PV=nRT, the low temperatures would further increase the atmospheric density.

Venus might also be a good place, if it wasn't so hot there.  Its atmosphere is several times denser than Earth, even though the gravity is similar.
The density of the atmosphere of Venus at the surface is 67 kg/m3, or about 54 times the density of air on Earth, and about  6.5% that of liquid water.

Keep in mind that swimming is like flying in water, with our bodies being about the same density of water.

Jupiter would also be a unique place.  The gravity is about 2.5x the gravity of Earth.  However, the atmosphere goes through a range of being less dense than the air on the surface of Earth, to denser than water. 

Of course, we can't breathe the air on any known planet or moon other than Earth, but it would give ideas for fiction.
 

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Re: Humanoid Flight Possible At What Lengths?
« Reply #24 on: 25/02/2013 20:36:50 »

 

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