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Toys Sci-Fi

USS Enterprise Finally Flies 365

Posted by michael
from the arm-photon-torpedoes dept.
apetime writes "Found on Slashdot Japan: Model builder Kaname of Kumamoto, Japan has built a flying radio controlled model of the original Star Trek's USS Enterprise. (Scroll to the bottom of the page for a video. Or go here for an mpeg, and here for a WMV.) The ship measures from 75 cm, and only weighs 16 grams. It's a wobbly flight, but makes you think what else in Star Trek might work if it were tried."
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USS Enterprise Finally Flies

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  • Nice... (Score:5, Funny)

    by Punboy (737239) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @09:58PM (#9222630) Homepage
    But now the question is, if you transported inside of it, would you shrink?
  • uhm... (Score:5, Funny)

    by wo1verin3 (473094) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:00PM (#9222641) Homepage
    I may be wrong, but I don't remember the original enterprise having a propellor. The article indicates that technology from that show may work in real life, but it's using old technology. cool to watch, but only for a slow friday night.
    • Propellor? (Score:5, Funny)

      by scooby111 (714417) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:11PM (#9222708)
      With the right size engine, you can make anything fly. This isn't a demonstration of how well the "Enterprise" could fly. It's a demonstration of how you can make even a brick fly with the right thrust to weight ratio.

      I like Star Trek as well as the next geek, but this is just plain silly.

      Now, where can I get one???
      • by nacturation (646836) <nacturation@@@gmail...com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:39PM (#9222857) Journal
        No kidding. This friend of mine Igor said that with nothing more than a couple of propellors and an engine that he would someday get a big one ton cage of metal and glass to fly and carry people! Yeah, right. I wonder what ever happened to that Sikorsky guy anyway...
        • by Dr. Cody (554864) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @07:14AM (#9224225)
          No kidding. This friend of mine Igor said that with nothing more than a couple of propellors and an engine that he would someday get a big one ton cage of metal and glass to fly and carry people! Yeah, right. I wonder what ever happened to that Sikorsky guy anyway...

          It's not the thrust-to-weight ratio that matters here--it's just so ugly that the earth repells it.
      • Re:Propellor? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Glonoinha (587375) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:04PM (#9222969) Journal
        -It's a demonstration of how you can make even a brick fly with the right thrust to weight ratio.

        See also : F4 Phantom. That's the joke used when talking about that plane : that it is proof that with big enough engines even a brick will fly.

        RIP the F4 Phantom. You were the most beautiful ugly plane I ever saw.
      • Re:Propellor? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 56ksucks (516942) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:31PM (#9223066) Homepage
        The thing is, the "REAL" Enterprise wouldn't really "fly". In many episodes when the Enterprise is getting too close to a planet's atmosphere there is a danger of crashing and burning in the atmosphere. The only reason it's "Flying" is because there is no gravity in space and no ground to fall on. So the idea that other star trek technologies might work because this works is silly because on Star Trek this wouldn't even work.
        • Re:Propellor? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Decaff (42676)
          ...because there is no gravity in space

          Yes there is. The point is that there is no air in space, so that things can carry on in orbit without being slowed by air resistance.

          In space, this Enterprise model would work fine. If you threw it out the window of the space station it would carry on in orbit... just like the real thing!!
      • The F-4 Phantom II proved that bricks could fly...at Mach 2 no less.
    • Re:uhm... (Score:5, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:19PM (#9222762)
      I may be wrong, but I don't remember the original enterprise having a propellor.

      Kirk: Ahead, warp factor 7, Scotty.

      Scotty: She given' all she got, but she can' take no more, cap'n. Aye, push'n her any more past 75 kph could rip her prop clean off!

      Spock: My calculations indicate that if we fail to improve the propulsion system, then we will not reach the Romulan Neutral Zone for another 1.343 billion years.

  • Warp (Score:2, Insightful)

    by NewtonsLaw (409638)
    I guess this adds a whole new meaning to the use of wing-warping as a control method.
  • big, fat clue: (Score:5, Insightful)

    by k4rm4_p0l7c3 (583281) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:01PM (#9222648)
    Uhm. I'm sure the USS Enterprise was designed to fly in a vacuum; you know.. cause.. space is a vacuum.

    *ahem*
    • by bsDaemon (87307) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:12PM (#9222716)
      is it real flying if it is not a function of lift versus gravity? You can't have lift in the vacum, so is it actually flying?
      • by MConlon (246624)

        is it real flying if it is not a function of lift versus gravity?

        Yes. In English, anyway... aerospace people "fly" their satellites, probes "fly" to planets, arrows "fly", even though they're on a ballistic trajectory, and so on.

        MJC

      • Yes, it is space flight, as opposed to atmospheric flight. The two are very different of course but they're both still "flight."
      • is it real flying if it is not a function of lift versus gravity? You can't have lift in the vacum

        You missed the episodes with 7 of 9... plenty of lift going on there.
    • by great throwdini (118430) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:22PM (#9222773)
      Uhm. I'm sure the USS Enterprise was designed to fly in a vacuum; you know.. cause.. space is a vacuum.

      That's what I thought at first, too. I'm not really a Trekkie, though I must've absorbed the movies and most of TOS and TNG from TV ... which triggers memories from TOS where the Enterprise was seen flying around in the upper atmosphere on at least one episode (e.g., where the crew snaps back to Earth of the 60's and are picked up on radar; jets are scrambled, etc.).

      So, silly as this experiment is, I think there's some evidence that the Enterprise may have been designed to fly around in more than just the vaccuum of space. After all, I saw it on the TV. And TV never lies.

    • Re:big, fat clue: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by LS (57954)
      Uhm. You should chill out a bit. I don't think the Enterprise was designed to fly in a vacuum. It was designed to sit in a movie studio.

      *ahem*
    • I don't think space is a true vacume. It is just considered one in relation to earths atmosphere. Anyways how do solar sails work? I think with the differences in gravitiy there might be enough friction material in space for this to work to some degree. Now if they could loose the propellar and use some sort of electron propuslion like ion discharge or somethign.
      • Re:big, fat clue: (Score:5, Informative)

        by Surazal (729) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:20PM (#9223026) Homepage Journal
        I don't think space is a true vacume. It is just considered one in relation to earths atmosphere. Anyways how do solar sails work? I think with the differences in gravitiy there might be enough friction material in space for this to work to some degree.

        Space ships don't fly with "lift". There's barely any gravity to lift from even taking into account the miniscule amount of gas in space. In fact, the design of the Enterprise was chosen by Roddenberry precisely because it *wasn't* aerodynamic (as a respose to all the space shows and books that depicted space ships as being such). A mile-wide cube would have also sufficed (*ahem*).

        Also, a solar sail would look nothing like the Enterprise. It would look like, er, a sail. A BIG one at that; bigger than the aforementioned mile-wide cube.
        • A mile-wide cube would have also sufficed .

          I don't think NCC-1701 would be able to reach a maximum speed of warp 8 with all this drag. If it did, the waves it generated would greatly disturb whatever was at its side.
    • Re:big, fat clue: (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Molina the Bofh (99621) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:07PM (#9222985) Homepage
      Sorry, dude, but you're plaing wrong. Space is not vacuum. In fact, quantum physics tells us there even if you wanted, you could not create a perfect vacuum as virtual particles would pop up.

      If you wanted to make a perfect vacuum, there would be other problems. First you would have to shield it from the enviroment. It's not that easy to shield, for example, neutrinos. Then the container itself will radiate photons, if it is not kept at a temperature of 0K.

      The space contais lots of plasma. For someone used to a pressure of 1 atmosphere, it really seems to be nothing. But if you are cruisig at warp 5, the pressure of the space will be considerable.
      • space contais lots of plasma.

        Yeah, that's from all those Red Shirts bleeding to death under Kirk's watch...
      • In fact, quantum physics tells us there even if you wanted, you could not create a perfect vacuum as virtual particles would pop up.

        Actually, I have a vaccuum in my closet, and it works perfectly. It only seems to deal with the real particles though, not the virtual ones. I'm not much interested in removing the virtual ones anyway.
    • An engineer working at Boeing once told me that with enough thrust even an F-16 could fly...

      er enterprise I mean.
  • by k4_pacific (736911) <k4_pacific AT yahoo DOT com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:03PM (#9222658) Homepage Journal
    A local radio-controlled airplane hobbiest announced today that he has built a working model of (cue tympanis ... Bum bum bum bum bum bum bum) MEGA MAID.

  • wtf. (Score:5, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:03PM (#9222661)
    It's a wobbly flight, but makes you think what else in Star Trek might work if it were tried.

    Actually, no, It doesn't.

  • I don't care how much it costs, I have to get one! I need to learn Japanese REAL fast.
  • by TheRedHorse (559375) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:05PM (#9222672)
    .....just with wires.
  • by AmigaAvenger (210519) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:07PM (#9222679) Journal
    posted links to movies on the main page of slashdot, do the editors have no heart!?!?!

    Here is my local mirror on a server that won't be ./'ed...

    mpg format [space.edu]
    wmv format [space.edu]

  • Gravity Well (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Konster (252488) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:07PM (#9222680)
    It cannot enter warp speed in Earth's gravity well.
  • by Roland Piquepaille (780675) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:07PM (#9222682)
    You should see my model Borg cube...
  • A propeller, huh? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Megane (129182) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:09PM (#9222698) Homepage
    Not bad for a ship design that wasn't meant to operate in an atmosphere. The only reason it's aerodynamic is because that looked good on the TV screen.

    I'm not sure what he used for control surfaces (in fact, I'm not sure it has any control at all, and maybe just flies forward), but I think it says in the description that it took him four days, and he used a motor from a CD-ROM.

    • I'm not sure what he used for control surfaces (in fact, I'm not sure it has any control at all, and maybe just flies forward)

      It looks guided though, so I'm guessing the back edge of the disk bear the control surfaces.

      I'm a bit disappointed that the propeller is at the front though. It would have been so cool at the back of the main "exhaust". Perhaps even inside it, but I can't really tell from the video if it would be large enough for a small prop.

      Very cool though. Next task: make a model Bird of Prey
    • Re:A propeller, huh? (Score:2, Interesting)

      by Brandon30X (34344)
      Actually I dont know if this has anything to do with it, but my dad has a friend who builds these wierd model airplanes out of round disks of foam. Maybe the its the same principal on this model due to the saucer section. They do fly quite well really.
      -Brandon
  • It flies...but how? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by aurispector (530273)
    ok, he used the disk for lift, but you can't really tell where the control surfaces are. I'd guess from the in-flight pitch (and lack of an obvious elevator} that simple engine power adjustment controls altitude. The only other control seems to be a rudder- is he using the engine struts or the engines nacelles themselves?
    • Looks like he is varying the thrust from the motor/prop, which is at some angle of attack against the bottom of the disk, to give pitch control. More thrust makes the nose pitch more upwards, less thrust makes the nose drop back down. I couldn't see any roll or yaw controls either, but I suspect he's probably got some kind of hidden spoilers that extend or retract a subtle amount in the back of the "engine nacelles". If I were trying to design it to give the thing some semblance of controllable flight while
  • Estes (Score:4, Informative)

    by NitsujTPU (19263) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:14PM (#9222725)
    Estes is the company that makes the model rockets that a lot of us shot as kids.

    They made, later in my youth, model jets powered by "glow" engines, that burned for a few minutes instead of a few seconds. This way, you could fly a model jet around.

    I think that they had a Star Trek Enterprise model that took glow engines. I know that they had a model that you could launch off your pad.

    I don't know if this is the same model. Probably not, since the guy would get badly burned if he shot glow engines off in his face.

    I never owned a model that took glow engines though. I think that most of them piggybacked on more powerful boosters off a launch pad, and then the user remotely fired the glows when he could see the thing clearly enough to control it.
    • I know Estes had an X-wing model...a star destroyer too, i think.

      Anyhow, there are plenty of other jet engines available for hobbiests these days, especially for models in 1/12 and 1/8 scale. My dad has a 1/8 scale F4 Phantom (the plane he used to maintain in Vietnam)...it's really cool to watch him fly it around, especially since at 1/8 scale the thing is still 7 foot long, but it's so hard to fly a jet from thumb controls with no idea what the wind is up to that 4 out of 5 times you wind up crashing. W
  • Flying pig (Score:2, Interesting)

    by DigiShaman (671371)
    I'm still trying to get my pink flying pig to work. Ok, so I never built one yet though I plan too when I get some free time. I'm thinking of using a remote controlled helicopter. Next, I would hollow out some Styrofoam balls and wrap to of the halves around the chopper with only the blades sticking out.

    I dunno, I guess I have strange sense of humor. But I would get a laugh out of seeing a pink fat pig with a curly tail flying around a skyscraper next to office windows.

  • nifty...but... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by MoFoQ (584566) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:21PM (#9222768)
    this isn't the first enterprise to fly. The first one was the space shuttle of the same name (named in honor of the show if I remember correctly).

    it just needs weapons and then u'll need a few klingon ships to come too.
  • by NitsujTPU (19263) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:22PM (#9222769)
    Darn you posters who don't read the article! It quite clearly says: "OEã1"NSÔÉí½ÁÄ1"ú1ñÈãSY"-OEfZ¦"Âð`FbN&#233 ;B"
  • by bsDaemon (87307)
    Why is it that we as a community tend to delight in the most absolutly innane things that one could possibly come up with?

    Yes, I am probably refering to the community of humanity in general, once all the scores are tallied, i guess we arn't any more lame than people with cardboard cutouts of LoTR Characters in their ro....
    oh...wait.
  • /..jp? (Score:4, Informative)

    by trs9000 (73898) <trs9000NO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:25PM (#9222780)
    slashdot japan?!
    what?!
    you mean to tell me ive been reading this all this time and i couldve been the uber1337 version from the land of the rising sun?!

    sezu-sai....
    time to go learn japanese.....
    • Heh, everything is cooler in Japanese ;]

      Why, even their "Insightful" moderation translates as "splendid discernment."

      Mind you, that is the Babelfish translation... My brain still hasn't forgiven me for trying to memorize the kana, much less the kanji...

      Keep going at it long enough, and you may have nasty dreams of being jacked into the Matrix with it raining katakana (which is what those green falling symbols were in the Matrix movie... at least, I don't remember seeing any hiragana or kanji among them).
      • The screensaver including numerals, and some other characters that aren't in the first movie... but the laters include some odd characters that aren't katakana either.

        Of course, it's also a good idea to point out that the katakana is backwards.
  • Hrmm (Score:5, Insightful)

    by acehole (174372) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:28PM (#9222798) Homepage
    Should'nt Star Trek have its own icon?

    Starwars does...

  • its been done before, but never on this scale. 20g planes are becoming popular, the problem here was in solving the issue of having so much weight (body, nacelles) devoted to non-lift generating surfaces so far from the center of lift (the center of the saucer)
  • by bigjocker (113512) * on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:30PM (#9222808) Homepage
    makes you think what else in Star Trek might work if it were tried

    But you could strap a pair of rockets to a 1000 Tons rock and it would also fly on space ... I don't get these trekkies wasting so much time worshipping a mediocre series
  • Why am I just hearing of this now? The combination of Slashdot and Japan is just... beyond words. Interestingly enough, the page title is mostly english words transliterated into katakana:

    Surashudotto Japan: Arege-na Nuusu to ****I suck at Kanji, mumble, mumble**** Seito

    Let me point out that the above sentence contains the word "Japan". Not Nihon (), but the English word Japan. Wierdness. Slashdot gets Japanized as Japan gets westernized.
  • by stephenisu (580105) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:35PM (#9222835)
    Doesn't the saucer portion disconnect for atmospheric flight?

    Still way cool though.
    • Eject! Eject! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by steveha (103154)
      Now as any Trek fan knows, the impulse engines are on the saucer, and the warp engines are in the twin nacelles on stalks, attached to the engineering hull.

      I read somewhere -- I think it was The Making of Star Trek -- that they always figured the saucer was held on to the engineering hull with explosive bolts, and in a dire enough emergency they could blow the bolts, fly on impulse, and even land the saucer (but probably not ever be able to take off again).

      They never had occasion to use this, though.

      I re
      • Re:Eject! Eject! (Score:3, Informative)

        by el-spectre (668104)
        I'll see your geekiness and raise you a detail from the tech manual.

        The saucer wasn't held on by explosive bolts, but a system of retractable latches/slots. That way you could disconnect and reconnect multiple times (this only happened in the first episode in one movie, I think). Suposedly, the saucer has no warp drive, but has a "sustainer" that lets it leach warp energy off the main hull for a couple of minutes (time enough to separate at warp and slow down). Not too sure that's practical, but hey, it's
  • by jdcook (96434) on Friday May 21, 2004 @10:48PM (#9222913)
    "makes you think what else in Star Trek might work if it were tried"

    If only there were something like a communicator. That would be cool. A handheld walkie talkie-like thing only able to talk to almost anybody on the planet. It could maybe even open up like a clam. Sigh. I guess it will never be.

  • Am I the only one who thinks they shouldn't of kept quiet till after some Star Trek convention unleashed this bad boy on a group of inebriated Trekkies at the end of a bar crawl?!?

    Now that's a video I'd like to see!!
  • Captain: warp speed ahead
    Scotty: but sir, i c'not reach the control panel
  • but makes you think what else in Star Trek might work if it were tried."

    I imagine any of the Rombulan Warbird designs would work decently enough. Most models past and present have enough surface area and shape to naturally act as a wing with a little bit of work.
  • a couple months ago didn't someone do a test showing that the enterprise's design would hold up very well at mach 5+?
  • by nrlightfoot (607666) on Friday May 21, 2004 @11:26PM (#9223046) Homepage
    There's something here even more amazing than a flying enterprise. They've got a server hosting 4 Mb video files on slashdot's frontpage, and it hasn't crashed yet!
  • It's Troll Time!
  • Many years ago, when I was into radio controlled planes, there was a guy who built lots of improbable flying machines. Most of them were constructed from foam polystyrene with relatively large motors. With enough thrust, and very little weight, you don't need much in the way of aerodynamics to make something fly.

    I recall he built and successfully flew several flying saucers, a brick, a flying carpet (complete with a guy with a turban riding cross-legged on it)...and his crowning achievement: Santa's sle
  • this reminds me of a skit eddie izzard did. Kirk: "Scotty, we need warp 9 in 5 seconds or we're all dead!" Scotty: "I can give you 30mph in a week or two, captain..."

  • I don't know if someone hacked the fortune-cookie generator just for this article, but this is the quote I got at the bottom of the page:

    "Beam me up, Scotty, there's no intelligent life down here!"
  • by bigt_littleodd (594513) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @01:56AM (#9223586)
    ...but then again, isn't all trivia inane, anyway?

    As a pre-teen in the early '70's, I read the "Making of Star Trek" book, which I believe was authorized by Roddenberry and Paramount. Among the things I remember from the book:

    - It stated that the Enterprise wasn't designed for atmospheric flight.

    - The saucer section was said to be designed to separate from the rest of the ship. (Though this wasn't shown until either one of the TNG episodes or a TNG movie. I'm getting old, so I can't remember which. :-) )

    - NBC censors considered a woman's nipple and underside of the breast to be verboten. (Quote from the book: "Perhaps they are afraid moss grows under there?")

    - The studio asked Leonard Nimoy if he would consider plastic surgery to have his ears pointed for the show. He refused.

    - The Enterprise was about a 10' long model mounted on a black pylon, with a star pattern on a wall behind it. The film crew ran the camera past the model on a dolly.

    - For many years, the Smithsonian Institution's Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC had the actual filming model of the Enterprise hanging from the ceiling. (I think this is the only time it ever hung by wires.) Alas, the exhibit was taken down several years ago. It was one of my favorites.

    - Dr. McCoy's portable "body scanner" devices were actually salt and pepper shakers found by the prop crew at a discount store.

    - The shimmering "transporter effect" was done by attaching Christmas tree tinsel to sheets of wood and having stagehands shake them. The tinsel and live action film bits were merged together in post.

    - There was a list of possible Vulcan male names, all of which "had to" (according to the book) start with "S" and end with "k", and contain only 5 letters. Among them was "Spork."

    And before anyone accuses me of being a Trekkie, let me emphatically state that I am not. I have only watched almost every episode of all the series over the last four decades. I have never been to a convention, I have never worn a Starfleet uniform on Halloween or at any other time, and I do not know that any variant of "NCC-1701" is always called "Enterprise." So there.

    And please don't read my sig.

  • by hawado (762018) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @03:08AM (#9223751) Homepage
    Reports have been surfacing all over the net that a flying spacecraft was seen in the vicinity of Japan... news at 11...
    Damn good thing they didn't fly this thing near Area 51 or we might have been misled to believe a lone motorcyclist spotted it.
  • by Guppy06 (410832) on Saturday May 22, 2004 @10:14AM (#9224784)
    I mean, I knew that CVN-65 was a tad over-powered with its 8 fission reactors, but they actually got the USS Enterprise to lift out of the water? Dear God!

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