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Electric Aircraft - The Thread

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it does indeed, yet the tools we have to work with are also much more advanced.  the limit of what they could do was build it and try while we have computers.  honestly, it seems like it may not be possible to make a comparison.  i would have to say they had it way harder back then than we do now, even accounting for the complexity of the problems, just by the tools and materials they had to use.

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3 hours ago, sfzombie13 said:

it does indeed, yet the tools we have to work with are also much more advanced.  the limit of what they could do was build it and try while we have computers.  honestly, it seems like it may not be possible to make a comparison.  i would have to say they had it way harder back then than we do now, even accounting for the complexity of the problems, just by the tools and materials they had to use.

I disagree. Engineering and technology are like a gold mine. If there is a gold vein, you can extract gold with simple tools. You'll be faster with power tools than with a mattock and a shovel, but in both cases you can get lots of gold in short time. That's what happened 100+ years ago. But if the mine runs dry you need to dig much more to get a tiny bit of gold out of it, if at all, even with the best possible tools. That's where we are now.

Aviation started at a vein, and slowly but surely the mine is running dry. It ain't magic, there are limits to what can be done, and the closer you get to the limit the more difficult it gets to push the envelope. You can't make gold out of nothing.

But if you are an optimist you can always hope for finding a new vein that would help to push things faster. Or maybe there is still enough gold to be found, spread in some cubic kilometres of useless rock. Maybe there is a new battery technology about to be discovered, or maybe we can refine sufficiently the existing technologies to make the electric aircraft a practical reality.  But maybe not, and that'd be it, the electric airplane would never be mainstream.

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that sounds like a poor analogy, but i have to digest it a little.  on the surface, we are talking about two different things, so we can't really compare them at all.  the things they had to work out to fly with pencil and paper are much greater than working out powerplants with computers and all of the knowledge we have accumulated on electricity since then.  that would be akin to learning how to make an airplane fly when you already know all about aerodynamics, something which very much did not happen, as they learned aerodynamics the hard way as they went.

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17 hours ago, sfzombie13 said:

the things they had to work out to fly with pencil and paper are much greater than working out powerplants with computers and all of the knowledge we have accumulated on electricity since then.  that would be akin to learning how to make an airplane fly when you already know all about aerodynamics, something which very much did not happen, as they learned aerodynamics the hard way as they went.

I think we are going to disagree on this. Basic aerodynamics are pretty easy stuff and you don't need much to move from 0 to a level that allows you to go fast and far. Optimizing it to the point it is now is a completely different story of course, but creating airfoils and testing them, and simply go by trial and error (and a bit of intuition) is not complicated. You can work out 70% of the stuff like that.

The problem now is not about electricity. Electricity and electric powertrains are not the complicated part in having mainstream electric airplanes. The challenge is in the chemistry of the batteries. And that can't be worked out with pencil and intuition IMO.

The analogy pretends to reflect simply that you can't make stuff out of nothing. Hoping that a given technology can evolve limitless is very naïve IMO.

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2 hours ago, Deimian said:

The analogy pretends to reflect simply that you can't make stuff out of nothing. Hoping that a given technology can evolve limitless is very naïve IMO.

Chemistry is a tough mistress. The rules are hard and fast. The solutions even when they are found can be complicated and expensive.

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