jedcstuff

2013-02-17

Aircraft and bridges

Leonardo DaVinci, with all his amazing artistic and innovative technological genius, strived mightily to be able to fly, but never got to do it. In contrast, the least innovative of us now can fly far and wide, even to a far country half way around the world, only needing a big enough fistful of cash - or its equivalent - to do it, instead of having great genius, craftsmanship and artistic vision with which to power it to happen.

The wishful vision of being able to just fly across a deep canyon to its other side, or across far above a wide raging river, instead of having to make the difficult and dangerous journey down and across and back up again, no doubt has often been a dream in the traveler's eye of old. Yet nowadays we simply motor our car straightway from one side of the deep canyon to the other, or across the wide raging river, without even a thought as it being any different from the flat land that came before or after it; but instead of an aircraft to provide the trip across the enormous gap, we simply drive across a bridge. In fact, the great bridge spanning the wide gap from one side to the other, can be providing passage for large numbers of cars at the same time, in both directions too, even semi trucks, all without the need for aircraft to ferry them across the huge rough gap.

Bridges thus are a bit like aircraft that way. Or at least it seems that way to me.

But not so, to others, such as those who are in the ferrying business, or aircraft business, as their bread-and-butter provider. Even to those whose business is that of providing rockets to transport from the ground to high in space, the very idea of a bridge providing the service of an energy-efficient transportation link from one place to another as a rocket does, is outrageous.

When I proposed the possibility of a bridge whose primary structural support was not provided by the strength of its materials, but instead by stored energy within the structure that would enable truly enormous spans to be crossed, and that such a bridge could be built in a hoop shape that encircled a planet eccentrically in a quasi-ellipse shape from ground to the geostationary orbit, balancing the force of gravity by the outward-thrusting centrifugal force within the structure, along which traffic could efficiently flow 2/7 in both directions at the same time, was intensely scorned by those in the aircraft and rocket industries. Bridges had no place butting into their business territory; and if they did, it would not be until the business folks had managed to take the new transportation means over as if their own, in their control, with no thanks to me.

DaVinci never got to fly, but his vision that a mechanical contraption could enable people to fly through the air, crossing deep canyons and raging rivers, did come to pass.

Sometimes one has to settle for merely the dream that is the treasure map enabling something to happen that otherwise would not happen.

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2 Comments:

  • As a Civil Engineers daughter I learned early to enjoy the bridges, tunnels and deep cuts and fills of our roads !! Daddy was proud of his profession and it's skills.

    By Blogger Carol Sayles, At 12:47 AM  

  • As a Civil Engineers daughter I learned early to enjoy the bridges, tunnels and deep cuts and fills of our roads !! Daddy was proud of his profession and it's skills.

    By Blogger Carol Sayles, At 12:47 AM  

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