1. I-know-write

    I-know-write New Member

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    "Flight" Technology in Winged Society

    Discussion in 'Setting Development' started by I-know-write, Mar 22, 2017.

    Hello, I am brand new to the forum. I am searching for suggestions for technology that would be appropriate for a fictional setting where the characters have wings (and tails) and are flight capable (after passing training, of course). I have a character who likes to build "flight gear", alas, my imagination has run dry on exactly what that could be. :superconfused:

    The only ideas I really have floating around are some sort of speedometer/compass/altitude combo measuring tool which would be strapped to the wrist and lightweight wing covers that would provide more airfoil space for those with undersized or damaged wings.

    For reference/information, the characters have different wing and tail types, shapes, and sizes which create different flight styles and abilities, but all are capable of flight. The character (Arlen) who makes/customizes gear has small, high-speed wings and a forked tail. The characters are all humanoid, but with obvious mutations/evolutions which make them flight capable.

    Thanks in advance for any suggestions. :superagree:
     
  2. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I guess the first question is how advanced is the technology in your story?

    Are we talking medieval or contemporary?
     
  3. I-know-write

    I-know-write New Member

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    I would say somewhere along the lines of industrial revolution in terms of technological capabilities. No televisions or phones or anything like that. They would have tools like screwdrivers, wrenches, hammers, etc., but nothing like lasers, chainsaws, or computers. It's sort of a mix, I suppose.
     
  4. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    What about weapons? Could you MC make weapons for other people or himself? Or maybe attachments to aid in whatever job they do. Maybe he makes some type of adjustable binocular type headgear so people can see farther when they're flying.

    What does the building of this flight gear need to do for your plot? Are these things just a passing mention or does it someway affect the trajectory of the story? Answering that can help you to decide just how much of this stuff you actually need.
     
  5. I-know-write

    I-know-write New Member

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    Thank you for your suggestions and input. Arlen is actually a side character but is very near and dear to the protagonist, so his life affects hers. One of the points the flight gear comes up in the plot is when the protagonist, Arlen, and company are signing up for flight training and getting gear to trick themselves out and help them learn better/faster/safer. Arlen is proficient at creating gear, which is his job -and means of earning money, whereas the protagonist works for a trader/merchant and is not as able to purchase gear. It's definitely a source of argument between Arlen and the protagonist (whether or not she will allow him to do her a favor and buy her the dang gear/make some for her or if she's too proud). It comes up another time when Evander (the protagonist) is worrying about her wings being too short and Arlen volunteers to make gear to assist her flight so she can learn. The subject returns yet again at the end of the story when Evander's mentor is injured in an action sequence and uses gear to function for the rest of his life so he can continue to fly.

    Sorry for the info dump. If you have ay suggestions as to fancy gear, not really prosthetics or super-practical devices, but sort of luxury gear the upper class would have, that would be great. I'm out of ideas. lol
     
  6. gibble410

    gibble410 WHUPPA Contributor

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    Maybe something like Icarus? The greek story? Not that mechanical but something along those lines.
     
  7. I-know-write

    I-know-write New Member

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    I guess my best analogy would be something along the lines of workout gear. Like, regular humans can exercise without stuff like pedometers and workout clothes and running shoes and headbands and headphones and special pockets for ipods and special water bottles, but it makes it easier/more efficient. Likewise, the "flight gear" in this story would serve a similar purpose. Flight without the gear is still possible, and most commonly done, but some people prefer to have gear. Think of it as a fancy, tricked out car with lots of features versus an old car with basic features.
     
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  8. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Goggles :cool:
     
  9. Spencer1990

    Spencer1990 Contributor Contributor

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    I think facemasks would be a good luxury items. It's not necessary to have one, but I'd sure like to keep bugs out of my teeth.
     
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  10. minstrel

    minstrel Leader of the Insquirrelgency Supporter Contributor

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    I'd suggest glider-style wings. Something that supplements the wearer's natural wings, and does for the wearer more or less what skates do for humans. The natural aerodynamics of your race might require them to keep flapping their wings to stay aloft - they fall pretty quickly without continuous effort. Glider wings would allow them to soar on air currents without wasting effort, the way a human skater can keep moving forward on ice without taking any strides. Skates allow humans to move faster, and for longer times, than they can without them. Your flying people might find a similar benefit from glider wings - faster, possibly higher flight with much less effort.
     
  11. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    I was going to suggest what @minstrel just did, but he beat me to it, so... How about cosmetic effects? Various dyes, sparkles, and such. You might also have some sort of forced air instruments that would create different whistling noises as you flapped or glided, kind of like these:

    [​IMG]
     
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  12. Shadowfax

    Shadowfax Contributor Contributor

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    No it doesn't!

    All that "gear" is so that you can say to yourself "Bet he's jealous of how much more gear I've got than him" as I run past you in my Wal-Mart cheapos.

    It's sold on the notion that you can then harvest data about your latest workout, and use it to plan a more efficient workout for next year; only nobody ever does (OK, maybe the 1% of athletes who'll go on to Olympic glory)
     
  13. I-know-write

    I-know-write New Member

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    Thanks for the great replies to the original post. I really appreciate these suggestions ! :D
     
  14. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I imagine technology would follow a simpler evolutionary path to us. Just because we can walk doesn't mean that humans weren't constantly on the search for better moving technology.

    First we tames the horse. Are there bigger flying creatures that could be ridden like the banshees in avatar?

    Then we invented the wheel to carry things behind our horse (or slave.). So a cargo carrier would probably be next. That would require some arrodynamic technology. A glider would likely be the shape.

    Then we learned how to power our wheels. So they'll probably learn to put propellers on their gliders. Then instead of pulling them, they'll sit in them. So, an airplane.

    The optimal flight technology shouldn't really depend on the species creating it.
     
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  15. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    Interesting. I'm seeing a race of obese, nearly flightless people riding around in personal aircraft, watching sports played by the few who keep themselves in good enough shape to perform feats of flight that would have been routine a hundred years prior.

    Aeromericans, basically :)
     
  16. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    It does not work unless we have huge stomach/ chest muscles. We are simply too heavy to fly with too little power.

    Flight requires a careful balance of lift and thrust.

    • If you are a large bird you have a huge wingspan in relation to your size so you get a lot of lift. Same for a glider or some twat paragliding. But you are slow and you must rely on updrafts to take you up. Also the same for commercial airliners, only countered by turboprop engines.
    • If you are a small bird you rely on flapping to generate lift by drawing molecules under your wings. No real plane equivalent.
    • If you are a jet fighter, you move so fast that the air congeals together and creates lift so you can have small wings, i.e. speed defeats lack of lift.
    • If you are a helicopter then you create a downward force that creates lift that is greater than your weight.
    Difficulties: -
    • If your wings are too thick you can not manoeuvre quickly.
    • If you fly around the speed of sound (circa 750 mph) there is a huge drop in efficiency, +-200 mph above or below that there is not.
    • Obviously a low radar target reduces the ability to create lift.
    • You cannot fly to high because... I'll come on to that
    Why planes cannot fly into space: -
    • Air is thin, you cannot create lift when air is thin (this can be overcome by speed).
    • There is very little oxygen, you cannot ignite combustibles without oxygen.
    • Our fastest planes are around 3,000mph. Well, you need to be around 17,000mph to achieve a stable orbit.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2017
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  17. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    I agree that that's factually true, but I think that members of this forum (myself included, I'm not out to slam others*) are a little vulnerable to what I privately call "Andy Weir Syndrome", where a writer gets so caught up in the worry that their idea may not be scientifically (or legally/socially or whatever) plausible that it gets in the way of writing the story. I named it after Andy Weir because he said that everything in The Martian was, to the best of his ability, scientifically accurate except for (spoiler) the fact that no storm on Mars would have enough power to knock over the MAV. Which is, pretty much, the key event that sets up the whole story.

    I'd read a book with bird-people, so long as them being bird people was central to the story and that their bird-people powers were within the realm of what my brain would accept as plausible. Supersonic bird people? No. Bird people who can lift cars? No. Bird people whose wings are tired so they say "Fuck it" and take a taxi home? Yep. After all, if J.K. Rowling had said "Shit, magic isn't real, better scrap this," the world would arguably be a poorer place.

    *Really, @Pinkymcfiddle, you're completely correct in your facts and quite proper in pointing them out, I just think that there's a time to sweep facts under the rug.
     
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  18. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Agreed. Too many Fantasy and even Science Fiction stories become untellable when we get too nit-picky.

    Dune... Arrakis... Desert planet... should actually have no breathable oxygen at all, let alone enough to sustain even a single Harkonnen spy.

    Also, what happened to your avatar? o_O
     
  19. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    I got bored.
     
  20. Simpson17866

    Simpson17866 Contributor Contributor

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    Fun fact: if the atmosphere was thick enough, humans could fly with the bodies we already have :)
    It looks like it turned into a color-picture of a guy with glasses and a blue button-up shirt, but that's not important right now.
     
  21. Pinkymcfiddle

    Pinkymcfiddle Banned

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    I was not suggesting that the OP cannot bend or break natural laws, but to do so, the OP should be aware of them so as not to stretch disbelief to breaking point. Or the laws can be used, i.e. Icarus could fly too high, but rather than the sun melting wax, the thin air could create a stall.
     
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  22. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    I still think it depends on the direction and reason for the story, and of course the simple fact that there will always be some who cannot engage a story when it hits a given mark of suspended disbelief. Sharron Shinn's Samaria novels have humanoid "angels" that are very much the Renaissance art style angels we all know. Clearly, these being could not fly in any real sort of way. It's just not possible. As I've pointed out elsewhere, humans have remarkably large and heavy legs - compared to our general body size - when compared with pretty much any other animal that walks, runs, or flies. We have really, really big legs for an animal our size. It's a huge load to carry for a flying creature.

    But... If you're going to engage Sharron Shinn's work, you just have to accept it, or decide not to care, because her stories aren't about that.

    Trust me, I'm with you in certain things. Like I said, the number of Science Fiction planets where everyone should be dying of asphyxiation instead of running around doing whatever is beyond count. One day I just had to let it go. :)
     
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  23. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    Wait, there is not reason that your creature has to be human sized. That always bugs me in science fiction. Our size is arbitrary, controlled by the evolutionary pressures of our environment.

    In fact, part of what drove our superintelligence is extreme conditions of a drying out Africa. Diminishing food could do that same thing and when food is scarce, evolution favors small creatures. Slightly less oxygen would also cause us to be smaller. (Dinosaurs were so huge because the oxygen content was way higher then.) It's not the size of the brain that matters, it's the relative size. I'll bet that out there in the depths of space, intelligent beings the size of bat are common.
     
  24. Iain Aschendale

    Iain Aschendale Aunt? Supporter Contributor

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    There's a certain bit of brain mass needed, but I'm not exactly sure where the line would be drawn. Jumping spiders, for instance, have more intellectual processing power than our current understanding of neurology says they should.
     
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  25. Wreybies

    Wreybies Thrice Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Arthropoda has been around waaaaay longer than anything with even a notochord. One day we'll discover that little portia makes use of a quantum computer for a brain. :) She does her calculations in "the cloud".
     

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