Introduced in the mid-1950s, the Coléoptère (French for "beetle") was one of many experimental aircrafts in history designed to take off and land vertically. According to Smithsonian Air & Space, the Coléoptère designer Helmut von Zborowski's idea was for "an annular, or doughnut-shaped, wing surrounding a fuselage and serving 'as power plant, airframe of a flying wing aircraft and drag-reducing housing. By injecting fuel into the gap between wing and fuselage, Zborowski theorized, he could turn his wing into a ramjet engine, and his aircraft into a supersonic interceptor." Apparently, it managed to take off and hover for a bit but horizontal flight proved to be quite a challenge. Still, it was quite an attention-grabber, even making it into Tintin magazine.
With a full annular wing, an enclosed cockpit, and a seat that tilted forward to allow the pilot a nearly upright position during hover, the Coléoptère soon attained celebrity status. Catherinettes—French bachelorettes who annually advertised their single status by wearing eccentric hats—donned papier-mâché Coléoptères…
The Coléoptère briefly and unexpectedly achieved horizontal flight only on its ninth and last foray, when the aircraft yawed during a powered descent that degenerated into wild oscillations—including a brief horizontal acceleration– preventing (test pilot Auguste) Morel’s ejection until just 160 feet above the ground. The aircraft burned, and Morel was badly injured.
"Cancelled: Vertical Flyer"
Alex Wood is an addict but won’t give up his smartphone. But he has five strategies for limiting its control over him: “I used to wake up tired. My body would ache and my head felt sore, like waking up with a hangover. Finally, I took control, like attending an AA class for addicts, I […]
We just got the Sport model of the EPIKGO hoverboard at my office. Besides being terribly chic, it’s apparently bulletproof.
Ok, it’s not just solar powered. It’s also an anti-theft, waterproof marvel that keeps my phone’s power bar from ever getting into the red.Sure the idea seems obvious now – tuck a gigantic solar powered battery pack into an exposed slot and turn the wearer into a walking energy harvester. Simple maybe, but I didn’t […]
The Raspberry Pi Foundation has done outstanding work packing a fully capable desktop computer into a package the size of a deck cards—especially one that only costs $35. But if you already have a working laptop, why should you care? Oh, how much you have to learn. Besides operating well as a compact digital media hub, […]
Custom coffee vessels are the perfect piece of office flair, but it’s just a matter of time before your VOTE FOR PEDRO mug will start to lose its relevant wit. Why not have a new one every day, with whatever silly nonsense you want sticking off the sides? You can save big on your novelty […]
The Lightning port has thus far resisted the cruel fate that befell the headphone jack, and despite rumors that it may be disappearing come iPhone 8, for the present and foreseeable future, Lightning cables are a hot commodity for iPhone users. As such, we must make do in this strange time in which long, glorified […]