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This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

(OP)
All... Ran across a fascinating article in Popular Mechanics...

The developer of 'this concept' in the 1950s, Nate Saint [who did a lot of missionary flying over jungles in South America], wanted to soft land and pick-up cargo from remote jungle clearings [no possibility of landing].

He developed a method for soft landing a 'cargo bucket' from a general aviation aircraft using a really long tether: hence items could be delivered and/or picked-up with remarkable ease. The aircraft would start a tight turn, letting out 'the bucket' on the tether. Once the tether was extended far enough, continued tight circling brought it to a '~dead stand-still' in the air; then the pilot simply lost enough altitude to let it 'soft land'. By continuing to circle the drop point in a precise manner [turn/altitude control], folks on the ground could off-load the cargo and on-load any item. To retrieve the bucket the pilot began to climb while maintaining the tight turn; as soon as the bucket was off the ground [going relatively 'straight-up'], and at a sufficiently high-enough altitude, the pilot slowly recovered from turning flight to 'straight and level' flight. To assist lowering and raising the cargo bucket, a winch system was used... along with a really strong line [I got the impression it was heavy duty fishing line, nylon string/rope or parachute-cord].

Apparently the USAF 'rediscovered' this ingenious concept and has begun experimenting with picking-up [retrieving] free-flight drones/drone-swarms [and probably other items of interest]. The idea is to lower a retrieving component to a relative stand-still in mid-air, so the drones just had to fly into the ~stationary component and be gently trapped. Hmmmm.... In my opinion, it remains to be seen if this method would work in a high intensity combat area... but DANG what a concept to try!!!

The "bucket drop", invented by a missionary trying to airdrop​ gifts to natives in Ecuador, would let warplanes release a swarm of drones and lasso them back.
http://www.popularmechanics.com/military/research/...

NOTE. The first 'live passenger retrieved' was the Saint family dog [held in a harness... poor guy].

Regards, Wil Taylor

o Trust - But Verify!
o We believe to be true what we prefer to be true.
o For those who believe, no proof is required; for those who cannot believe, no proof is possible.
o Unfortunately, in science what You 'believe' is irrelevant. ["Orion"]
o Learn the rules like a pro, so you can break them like an artist. [Picasso]

RE: This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

nothing is new these days ...

gosh, we were smart and inventive (in the olde days)

another day in paradise, or is paradise one day closer ?

RE: This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

Laugh as you may,over the years I have found much technical information and tips in "Popular Mechanics",many practical examples and tips that seem to have flown right over 43.13 . Another elderly publication worth study is "Air Progress",check it out when you have time,it's worth the effort.

RE: This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

Well, I'll be dipped in ... er, Shinola.

Mike Halloran
Pembroke Pines, FL, USA

RE: This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

seems to me you'd gain a great deal in controllability for only a small loss in payload by adding some propellers to the payload, so it can fine tune its position at the end of the tether.

Cheers

Greg Locock


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RE: This Forgotten 1950s Flying Trick Could Be the Secret of Future Drone Warfare

The Australians did a bunch of research on this some years ago, and discovered among other things that when using heavy cable, it was very hard to control the rate of descent of the " Bucket" or other object on the line as the line slid closer to the center of the circle, apparently they developed some formulas to compensate for the phenomena. At the time they were doing research on the retrieval of downed aircraft using this method.
B.E.

You are judged not by what you know, but by what you can do.

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