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March 17, 2006

Design, Wind & Ice

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Link - View KF Photo Archive I
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Link - View KF Photo Archive III



Design cont...

These are quotes from a marvelous small book titled The Flyers, In Search of Wilbur & Orville Wright by Noah Adams. It is witness to the fact that design has many faces and is a combination of vision, determination and perseverance. "IT TAKES ONLY NINETEEN SECONDS TO WALK THE DISTANCE OF the first flight. But when I was there the wind was up and cold on my face, and I felt as if I'd entered the black-and-white photograph I'd been seeing all my life. The sand is light gray, there's a spill of surf in the distance. Wilbur, running at the right of the plane, and Orville, the pilot, are in dark suits. The propellers blur against the sky as the machine rises."

"The 1902 Wright brothers glider, after some modification, was a success. They were confident they could build a machine that would take off and travel under its own power; it was now a matter of finding an engine that was weight-effective and a propeller that would work in air as opposed to water. But just a year earlier they'd seemed ready to quit. The 1901 model hadn't produced the lift they needed or expected. They left the Outer Banks in late August after weeks of erratic flying and discouraging rain. On the train home to Ohio, Wilbur talked with his brother, recalling later, "When we looked at the time and money which we had expended and considered the progress made and the distance yet to go, we considered our experiments a failure. At this time I made the prediction that man would sometime fly but that it would not be within our lifetime."

"Back in their Dayton bike shop, Wilbur and his brother soon solved the puzzle, using trigonometry, scraps of metal, bits of bicycle spokes, and a motor-driven fan to generate wind. They crafted a six-foot-Iong wooden tunnel, with a glass section in the top for viewing; the airflow inside was about thirty miles an hour. Then they fashioned all sorts of tiny wing shapes, mounting them at differing angles on delicate balance instruments in order to calculate their efficiency. They could measure lift-the upward force produced by the airstream, and drag, the force generated by the wing. The brothers kept meticulous records, and at the end of the wind tunnel sessions they had a large array lift and drag coefficients from which to design their wings."

Ken Hyde shows me the airy wood skeleton of the '03, the wing assemblies of ash ribs-120 total-that have been cut and soaked and steamed and bent into their curves, waiting to be covered with fabric. It is admirable workmanship. Ken says, "The tools of the early 1900s for doing things by hand were far better than we've got today. Sharper ripsaws and gouges. It takes someone who's got some use in his fingers to do what they did. They even made their own taps and dies."

"The prop shop is next. Using wind-tunnel data, the Wrights built their own propellers, because they quickly realized that designs intended for boats were useless out of the water. Ken says, "This is probably their biggest discovery and the thing they've been given the least credit for. They were the first people to determine that the propeller is actually a wing in rotation. It had to be the hardest thing they undertook, making those. We tried to find a prop company that would carve them for us, but the old-timers who knew how to do it were gone or too old."

"Wilbur and Orville built a metal tower twenty feet high, coming to a peak at the top like a teepee. A pulley system raised 1,600 pounds of lead weights. A rope ran from the top of the tower, down under the rail to the front, and then back up along the top to connect with the plane. One brother and Charlie Taylor, and perhaps some friends or passersby, helped haul on the rope to lift the weights. The other brother, prone in the pilot's position on the lower wing, gave a signal and the weights fell and catapulted the plane along the track and into the air."

Web link file - The Flyers by Noah Adams


Windustry II

"Windustry is a non-profit organization working to create an understanding of wind energy opportunities for rural economic benefit by providing technical support and creating tools for analysis. We address barriers to wind energy by building collaborations with rural landowners, local communities and utilities, as well as state, regional and non-profit organizations. Windustry's areas of special focus include: economic development from wind energy; landowner rights, risks, and benefits; and community-based wind energy."

Wind energy basics from the Windustry web site.

"Around the world, wind turbines of all sizes have become a familiar sight. Their purpose is simple: harvesting the energy in wind."

"Wind turbines today are up to the task of producing serious amounts of electricity. Turbines vary in size from small 1 kW structures to large machines rated at 2 MW or more. A popular sized machine in the U.S. today is a state-of-the-art 1,650 kW turbine that stands as tall as a 30-story building. With a good wind resource, this size turbine can produce 5 million kWh of electricity each year. That's enough energy to run 500 average American households."

"Wind is the fastest growing energy technology in the world. In 1999, the world wind industry installed more than 3,900 megawatts (MW). Four years later, the world installed more than double that amount with 8,133 MW of new wind in 2003, representing $9 billion of investment.

"The pace of growth has been greatest in Europe, where 67 percent of the world's new wind equipment was installed in 2003, according to the American Wind Energy Association. Germany has the highest total wind capacity of any country, nearly 15,000 MW. Here in the United States, our total wind capacity reached 6,740 MW by the end of 2004, with large scale wind turbines operating in 25 states and projects in the works in several other states. The World Energy Council has estimated that wind energy capacity worldwide may total as much as 474,000 MW by the year 2020, and the American Wind Energy Association is seeking 100,000 MW in the US by 2020."

Web Link - Windustry web site and conference information


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Photo of the week

ICE VI - March 2006
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Redbud Wind - energy project archive
Updated 3/10/06

Click the wind turbine icon see progress notes
for the Redbud Wind I site at Enid, OK.

Page Link - Redbud Wind - project update

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