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Fin-Fish Airship
November 13, 2008 2:45 PM   Subscribe

Fin-Fish blimp will alter your perception of flying. Airship Regatta in Friedrichshafen, Germany.
posted by Surfin' Bird (37 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
That's pretty darn cool, and it even uses its pectoral fins in roughly the same way a fish would.
posted by Burhanistan at 2:49 PM on November 13, 2008


Eponymblablabla.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:55 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Awesome. I really want to see occasional schools of these flying over my house.
posted by maxwelton at 2:57 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


That's pretty awesome. I'm actually surprised that it looks as much like a fish swimming given the difference in Reynolds number of air and water ... any fluid dynamicists want to comment?
posted by pombe at 2:57 PM on November 13, 2008


We're going to need a bigger airplane.
posted by Potomac Avenue at 3:26 PM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


I would go to malls if they had schools of these "swimming" above me. Ethereal anime techno would of course be a requisite as well.
posted by Telf at 3:36 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


pombe: The Reynolds number is length multiplied by speed and fluid density and divided by viscosity. The density of water is roughly thousand times that of air, and the viscosity of water is about fifty times higher that of air. That means that to have the same Reynolds number, the speed multiplied by the length of the "Fish Airship" has to be about twenty times that of a real fish in water.

Since, to have a realistic effect, the length should increase roughly proportionally to the speed, the size and speed of the "Fish Airship" should both be 4.47 times those of a comparable real fish (4.47 is the square root of 20). The "Fish Airship" seems to be just the right size to have the same Reynolds tunnel as a real fish, and there's no doubt that its designer has given some thought to that.

Note that water tunnel testing of downscaled aerodynamic models is quite common. I did some of that on wingtip models as a student to study wingtip vortices.
posted by Skeptic at 3:41 PM on November 13, 2008 [13 favorites]


Reynolds tunnel number
posted by Skeptic at 3:42 PM on November 13, 2008


Wow, that was cooler than I expected. It would be especially cool to have a bunch of them, and write a little schooling program for them. Then turn them loose someplace.
posted by oneirodynia at 3:45 PM on November 13, 2008


Finally a dirigible that would look good in flames.
posted by kuujjuarapik at 3:50 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


If you had told me two minutes and thirteen seconds ago that an amateur video of a mylar bag floating through a deserted atrium to a cheesy techno soundtrack would almost bring tears to my eyes...well, I would have been rather skeptical, to say the least.
posted by googly at 3:52 PM on November 13, 2008


BTW, the location of this airship regatta is not coincidental. Friedrichshafen was home to Count Zeppelin. And I presume that these images were taken in the Zeppelin Museum.
posted by Skeptic at 3:54 PM on November 13, 2008


Holy crap would that thing make everybody on board airsick.
posted by backseatpilot at 3:55 PM on November 13, 2008


Here's a person flying a personal blimp. That's how big it needs to be to offset the weight of a human.
posted by jsonic at 4:07 PM on November 13, 2008 [6 favorites]


Thanks, skeptic! I hadn't realized that length x speed only had to scale by 20 to get the same behavior and air in water ... just shows you that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing.
posted by pombe at 4:14 PM on November 13, 2008


I've seen this video on various sites several times over the past few weeks, and it never ceases to make me smile. I'm glad that somewhere in the world, someone has the time/money/passion to build something like this.
posted by Alterscape at 4:22 PM on November 13, 2008


I am a better person for having seen that. Thanks.
posted by pointilist at 4:23 PM on November 13, 2008


Thanks, Surfin' Bird. That's the coolest thing I've seen all week. Watching that thing move around so gracefully is surprisingly satisfying.
posted by Benny Andajetz at 4:35 PM on November 13, 2008


that's beautiful stuff. thanks!
posted by Busithoth at 4:42 PM on November 13, 2008


I am so excited I could hardly wash.
posted by schoolgirl report at 5:03 PM on November 13, 2008


I am surprised at the amount of control they have over the flying fish.
posted by rageagainsttherobots at 5:06 PM on November 13, 2008


I am so excited I could hardly wash.

I get that way in the shower sometimes, too.
posted by maxwelton at 5:20 PM on November 13, 2008 [1 favorite]


Here's a flying jellyfish and a ray by the same people.
posted by oneirodynia at 5:21 PM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Nice - I was going to say it would be swept away by a breeze but it looks like it has enough motive power to handle a light wind.
posted by exogenous at 5:51 PM on November 13, 2008


Finally a dirigible that would look good in flames

Oh, the Huge Manatee!.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:11 PM on November 13, 2008 [3 favorites]


Here's a flying jellyfish and a ray by the same people.

Those are equally well done. The ray moves so naturally that it's easy to almost have sympathetic feelings towards it.
posted by Burhanistan at 6:21 PM on November 13, 2008


Oh, the Huge Manatee!.
posted by CynicalKnight at 6:11 PM on November 13 [+] [!]


You are worse than Hitler.
posted by 445supermag at 6:26 PM on November 13, 2008


Wow. You just made my day. That is the most beautiful sight since the Graf Zeppelin.
posted by dacoit at 6:27 PM on November 13, 2008


I think they should make a dolphin. Personal dolphin blimp + this = the bicycle of the 21st century.
posted by zekinskia at 7:26 PM on November 13, 2008


That's 100% USDA Grade A Concentrated Awesome.
posted by eriko at 7:29 PM on November 13, 2008


So are there pictures of the linkages and what not in that thing anywhere?
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 8:06 PM on November 13, 2008


So why do all computer-designed automobiles look like a bar of soap?
I'd rather drive a Chevy Piranha...
posted by Ron Thanagar at 8:45 PM on November 13, 2008


That's 100% USDA Grade A Concentrated Awesome

Viva Deutschland!
posted by Burhanistan at 8:55 PM on November 13, 2008


Absolutely beautiful! I've been to Friedrichshafen, but the museum was closed, and ended up there only by chance (ferry from Konstanz). It's a day trip from my home, by train and ferry.

I'm a long time fan of airships, having learned to appreciate them while stationed at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, where the Hindenburg blew up. Hanger 1, there, is the perfect venue for a school of these blimp fish to fly around (the hanger was large enough to accommodate the old zeppelins).

The manta was beautiful, too, but the wings were not articulated enough to resemble a real ray (I love rays, and have spent a lot of time watching them). But it makes up for that a good deal, with the aerobatics. The jellyfish looked cool and all, but jellies don't propel that way.

And the music on the fish was neither 'techno', nor 'cheesey'. It was ambient, and a rather fine bit.

Now, where can I get that fish as a christmas present for myself?
posted by Goofyy at 1:57 AM on November 14, 2008


I'll take two, please. The large version. No, larger. And can I get it in This color? kthxbye.
posted by The Whelk at 8:23 AM on November 14, 2008


I'm a long time fan of airships, having learned to appreciate them while stationed at Lakehurst Naval Air Station, where the Hindenburg blew up. Hanger 1, there, is the perfect venue for a school of these blimp fish to fly around (the hanger was large enough to accommodate the old zeppelins).


Goofyy, we have a Hangar One here in the Bay Area, modeled after Lakehurst. Being fond of airships myself, my boyfriend and I went on a Zeppelin ride that launched from right next to Hangar One (for my birthday this past Wednesday). :) I highly recommend it, it was an amazing ride.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:20 AM on November 14, 2008


That is too cool. Although, I can only imagine I would get severe motion sickness riding in something like that unless the "swimming" motion was pretty slow and unnoticeable.
posted by riccar at 12:20 PM on November 15, 2008


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