Human Wings Are Predicted (Dec, 1929)

Human Wings Are Predicted

HUMAN wings are predicted by Dr. Lucien Bull, a director of the Marie Institute at Paris, who seriously advanced his theories before groups of American scientists. Dr. Bull believes the human wings will come as a perfectly natural and logical development and saw nothing in his startling claims to arouse surprise. “A man who is able to run upstairs ought to be able to fly,” he maintains. “All that is necessary is to adapt ourselves to the air. I don’t mean to say there are no problems to be overcome. There are many of them. But I am convinced the development of light, strong, metal-like magnesium aluminum will continue until some alloy is perfected front which human wings weighing about a pound can be fashioned.” Dr. Bull is of the belief that the human wings should be about eight feet-long and three feet wide. He pointed out that it would be a real convenience to be able to fly to work each morning instead of riding in crowded trolley cars or automobiles.

14 comments
  1. jayessell says: February 11, 201112:19 pm

    Dr. Bull didn’t mention if it would be an ornithopter or a pedal powered airplane.

    Light, strong materials + Mathematicians + Engineers + Athlete = Gossamer Condor.

  2. Tim says: February 11, 20113:54 pm

    I think his first name should have been “Fuller.”

  3. TimE says: February 11, 20114:14 pm

    It’s here
    http://www.youtube.com/…

    Human-powered AND an ornithopter. Don’t expect to take one to work anytime soon, though.

  4. John says: February 11, 20115:09 pm

    TimE: I’ll be impressed when it takes off under human power.

  5. Neil Russell says: February 12, 20118:51 am

    I thought the trick to human flight was just falling and missing the ground

  6. Anton says: February 12, 20119:59 am

    Neil Russell, That trick is also true for obtaining orbital velocity in space around the earth: “falling and missing the ground”.

  7. John Savard says: February 13, 20111:35 pm

    If a man is capable of running upstairs, then this means his muscles can produce enough energy so that he can fly. While a human-powered aircraft finally has been achieved, this was still a non sequitur.

    Running upstairs, the stairs prevent one from losing energy through falling down.

    To substitute for that, a man needs big wings. Therefore, it’s the ability of a man to run upstairs while carrying those big wings with him that is what counts.

  8. Jayessell says: February 13, 20116:39 pm

    I suppose if the wings were virtually massless, like some supernanotube composite,
    It might be possible, but it would be over 100 square feet of wing.
    (Someone with math could give me the area of wing required per pound.)

  9. Charlie says: February 14, 201110:29 am

    The problem, as I see it, is that you’re not trying to run up a pair of stairs. You’re trying to lift your self up using your arms. It seems like lifting off the ground using wings would require at least as much strength as a gymnast lifting themselves on a set of rings.

  10. Toronto says: February 14, 201112:31 pm

    The Gossamer Albatross had 488 square feet of wing and 215 pounds life (including its own 70 pounds, I believe.) That’s .44 lb/sqft – a quite soft loading.

    They never got it down to a single pound, though.

  11. Jari says: February 14, 201112:48 pm

    Here’s the solution: http://home.roadrunner….

  12. Jari says: February 14, 20111:53 pm

    Something like this, perhaps? http://home.roadrunner….

  13. Daniel Rutter says: February 14, 201111:13 pm

    > The problem, as I see it, is that you’re not trying to run up a pair of stairs.
    > You’re trying to lift your self up using your arms.

    I don’t think it’s a stretch to allow some contraption that uses leg-power, or both arm-power AND leg-power, to flap the wings. Especially given the running-up-the-stairs analogy.

    But that analogy remains, as you say, a fallacy. The analogy should actually be the energy expenditure needed to run up the stairs, PLUS the energy expenditure necessary to hold one’s entire weight off the ground, as in a permanent, held chin-up.

    (Apropos of which, allow me to recommend Fred Saberhagen’s “The White Bull”, an ingenious fugue on the subjects of Daedalus, Icarus, Theseus and the unfortunate Minotaur.)

  14. Myles says: February 15, 20119:17 am

    Tim – Funny. :)

    I think the article is referring to just wings, not an airplane. With wings that light I would hope there are no breezes around the high rise buildings.

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