Nov 19, 2010

The ancient Egyptian airplane

This object (shown in sketch 1) was found in 1898 in a tomb at Saqqara, Egypt and was later dated as having been created near 200 BCE and stored in the basement of the Cairo museum.
It was rediscovered by Dr. Khalil Messiha, who studied models made by ancients. The "discovery" was considered so important by the Egyptian government that a special committee of leading scientists was established to study the object.

Concorde airplane 
As a result of their findings, a special exhibit was set up in the center hall of the Cairo museum, with the little model as its centerpiece. It was even labelled as a model airplane.
The model has the exact proportions of a very advanced form of "pusher-glider" that is still having "some bugs ironed out". This type of glider will stay in the air almost by itself—even a very small engine will keep it going at low speeds, as low as 45 to 65 mph., while it can carry an enormous payload.
This ability is dependent on the curious shape of wings and their proportions. The tipping of wings downward, a reverse dihedral wing as it is called, is the feature behind this capability.

A similar type of curving wings are implemented on the Concorde airplane, giving the plane a maximum lift without detracting from its speed.
In that context, it seems rather incredible that someone, more than 2,000 years ago, for any reason, devised a model of a flying device with such advanced features, requiring quite extensive knowledge of aerodynamics. There were no such things as airplanes in these times; we are told by archeologists and historians. But this case seems to be an exception, living in the midst of the rather unimaginative and rigid paradigm of contemporary science. It is also necessary to point out that Egyptians are known to have nearly always made scale-models of projects and objects which they planned to create or build.

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