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# An engineering failure waiting to happen

## An engineering failure waiting to happen

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Riiiiiiiiiiiiight. 8<)

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Is there really any engineering in that project? Really?

Why did you entice me to read that article IRStuff?
Do you have some secret belief that you need to confess?

STF

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

A Darwin award in the making?

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Yes, I've been following this guy's progress for a week or so. I can't help but think that this is just some prank that he's pulling on the press and the rest of us.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

There can be no Engineering in this because he does not believe in science. It must therefore be done with magic.

Regards
Ashtree
"Any water can be made potable if you filter it through enough money"

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I was waiting to see some details of the "steam powered rocket" https://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2017/11/22...

from the video it looks like it wouldn't make 18 ft never mind 1,800...

Unreal

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

ashtree: Engineering is to Science as Magic is to Religion.

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

LI: High enough to maybe hurt him... I was hoping for a Darwin award (not really, I wouldn't wish that on anyone, even those deserving)...

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I read a little bit more about this guy and best I can tell he doesn't actually believe in a "flat earth", he's only using it to drum up financial support from internet idiots. I'd guess he's just an adrenaline junkie.

Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL)
American Concrete Industries

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Hilarious.

"the rocket launcher he had built out of a used motor home "broke down in the driveway" on Wednesday"

Why does Larry the Cable Guy suddenly pop into my mind!

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

On a (somewhat) practical note, I am wondering how far "up" he would have to go to recognize that "No, I am wrong. The horizon is visibly curved and I am actually seeing it because I am here. Therefore, my theory of a flat earth is wrong."

Now, of course, this is a "religious" matter. A matter of obsession if you will, so he will be very, very unlikely to be "converted" from his obsession. Also, the standard of disproof is much, much higher than the standard of proof. (It takes much more objective evidence to change a convicted person's mind than it takes to reinforce a conviction already present. Hysterical hysteresis if you will.)

Nevertheless, how far would you have to go to actually see a curved horizon?

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

According to military recon and surveillance pilots I've talked to it begins to become readily discernible at 55 to 60,000 feet.

It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

LittleInch, this is his second try, and his first one got off the ground. Apparently, he needed a walker for a few weeks after the "landing." Looking at the second-hand parachute he uses, I'm not surprised.

Of course, the idea of an amateur playing with that much steam pressure is rather scary.

https://youtu.be/fp2q_dKuc-c

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
I think that it's precisely because he eschews science that makes it an engineering disaster, because there is none. Even though he believes in formulas, he's obviously made no calculations on how high he needs to be to confirm the non-flat Earth, so at any height he actually achieves with his underpowered approach, he can declare that he saw no evidence of the curved Earth. Of course, he's at least an order of magnitude too low to see much of anything.

I just think it's fascinating how badly some people's brains are wired, that they believe something, even when confronted with a myriad of evidence that they're not even remotely close to the correct answer. I guess that applies even to presidents...

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

wonder if that vessel is "stamped" (ASME Code)

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

IRstuff: This is just a proof of concept before he makes the attempt at a higher elevation *shrug*

If we want to catalog things as "engineering failures", let's chalk the internet up as a societal engineering failure.

As great of a tool a limitless library with unfettered access to the wealth of information within could be; it is instead being leveraged with great effect to corrupt and misguide people.

You don't have to definitively prove your case to get people to question the validity of a principle (scientific or otherwise). All you have to do is plant a seed of doubt.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I suspect that first launch in the video wasn't actually manned, so I don't have high hopes that the second will be any more convincing.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I imagine the parachute was in reasonable nick before the launch - the problem is the way it was deployed. Canopy-first deployment with no reefing is usually reserved for fast opening in low airflow. Using it for a high-speed deployment is a recipe for the burst panels you can see in the video. The fact that there's no obvious means of control of the lines as they deploy (and the canopy is allowed to start inflating before line-stretch is achieved) very nearly allowed the canopy to turn inside-out which is why there's severed lines all over the place.

If the rest of the rocket is assembled to the same standards, I'd like to be a long way away from it all.

A.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

It occurs to me that a hydrogen-peroxide rocket could reasonably be called a "steam powered rocket".

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

@Dik (and others):

"A Darwin award in the making?"

I've always felt that there should be some sort of Darwin "Encouragement Award" or "Lifetime Achievement Award", to be given to people who make persistent and repeated efforts to remove themselves from the gene pool, but have (so far) failed to do so. A Darwin Award can only be granted when the "applicant" is finally successful.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

This is a screen shot from the video. There is a glove and what looks like pvc pipe right there by the launch, and that gives me the impression that this is a small rocket launch slowed down.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (jhardy)

I've always felt that there should be some sort of Darwin "Encouragement Award" or "Lifetime Achievement Award", to be given to people who make persistent and repeated efforts to remove themselves from the gene pool,

I think there are enough plausible candidates without encouraging them...

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

zuesfaber - I tend to agree, but if you watch the video closely I think the parachute is actually a drag chute they use on drag racing. The lines all come into a single central point and it just doesn't look big enough to allow someone to "float" down to the ground, never mind the weight of the "rocket". Also all manner of shite goes flying into the drogue and looks to me why it gets shredded.

Anyway the guy is an absolute loon as are all the flat earthers - How anyone manages to convince themselves of this is the bigger mystery here.

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Unfortunately many of our politicians are so scientifically naive i think the fact that the earth is a sphere would be a surprise. There are plenty of these type out there.

Mind you the man could be a genius. Think of all the free publicity he is getting. Probably run for president in future.

My grandmother who passed away in the 70's was one of the flat earth club. She had the complete logic.
The earth is flat. Any fool can see that.
Man did not go to the moon. Everyone knows that you cant live in space. Walking on the moon was a lie.
Besides if the earth is flat you cannot orbit it in a space ship so that proves its all a lie.

Regards
Ashtree
"Any water can be made potable if you filter it through enough money"

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

@littleinch - could be its just a fraction of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti monster (atheists having fun/mocking religion)?

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

How do they answer the question that when at sea, where the surface is super flat, you still can't see anything more than 20-30 miles away on the clearest day in history??

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Even if a flat-earther made it to the moon, they'd probably just look back and say "yep, it's a flat, round disc". I think a more interesting experiment would be an expedition to go find the edge of the world.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (LI)

How do they answer the question that when at sea, where the surface is super flat, you still can't see anything more than 20-30 miles away on the clearest day in history??

Easy... the horizon looks flat...

When we were in grade school one of the things that Columbus proved was that the world was round... they forgot to mention that the Greeks had determined the diameter of it several thousand years earlier...

With apologies to the Limelighters Chad Mitchell Trio, their take on the John Birch Society could be applicable to the Flat Earthers..."...to get this movement started, we need lots of tools and cranks..."

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (dik)

When we were in grade school one of the things that Columbus proved was that the world was round... they forgot to mention that the Greeks had determined the diameter of it several thousand years earlier...

I hope you're being deliberately ironic because Columbus (and most people of his time) knew the world was round.

Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL)
American Concrete Industries

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

While he may be credited (at least by some) with "proving that the world was round", that was NOT what Columbus set-out to do. Rather he was looking for a shorter route to the Far East, which of course would only have been possible IF the world was indeed round. And the reality was that contrary to the romantic idea of exploration and looking for a 'New World', Columbus was part of a purely commercial venture funded by the Spanish, who were looking for an alternative route to the Spice Islands in the hope of breaking the spice trade monopoly then held by Portugal.

John R. Baker, P.E. (ret)
EX-Product 'Evangelist'
Irvine, CA
Siemens PLM:
UG/NX Museum:

The secret of life is not finding someone to live with
It's finding someone you can't live without

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

TME: In all seriousness... we were taught that one of the things that Columbus did was to prove the world was round... I wouldn't make something like that up... we knew nothing of the Greeks and wells and things...

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

[quote]How do they answer the question that when at sea, where the surface is super flat, you still can't see anything more than 20-30 miles away on the clearest day in history??[/qoute]

I was told that in Saskatchewan, if you look carefully enough into the distance, you can see the back of your head.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

dik, gotta laugh at some of the stuff that makes it into history textbooks (the alternative is be depressed at the state of our education). It bugs me to no end how poorly history is taught when it really should be one of the more interesting classes.

Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL)
American Concrete Industries

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Found more videos, haven't had time to peruse them all for details:

Mike Hawkins
Published on Nov 1, 2015
Mike Hughes flew in his home built rocket at Winkelman, Arizona, in January 2014. It flew a quarter mile! The second rocket he built flew 6/10 of a mile, which is over a half mile and on minimum steam pressure. If it flew at full capacity, it would have flown over a mile! The next flight is targeted to do that.

This video is Mad Mike Hughes Rockets #1 and #2. The first one flew manned with Mike and the second flew without him. The next flight is scheduled in about a week 3 miles from Amboy, California. This video is copyright (c) 2014-2017 Michael Hawkins. All rights reserved.

This video is about Mad' Mike Hughes Manned Rocket Flight which took place on January 30, 2014. Mike Hawkins placed a GoPro Onboard Camera at the rear of the rocket, propelled by steam. It went a quarter mile. The second rocket Mike Hughes built went over a half mile. The next flight is slated to place in Oregon 2016. Visit MadMikeHughes.com for further details.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
If the people in Columbus' time really thought the world was flat, there would have have been no way in hell to get enough bodies to man 3 ships. The risk, that those in charge were concerned about, was about the uncharted waters that Columbus wanted to sail into. Their agreement was all about gaining islands and mainlands http://college.cengage.com/history/primary_sources... The biggest error was that the Greeks grossly underestimated the diameter of the Earth.

"How do they answer the question that when at sea, where the surface is super flat, you still can't see anything more than 20-30 miles away on the clearest day in history??"

Didn't a certain ex-governor claim that she could see Russia from her living room?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

IRS: I suspect that, back then, they had different means of recruitment. It may be that the more enlightened knew the world was an oblate spheroid... perhaps not... I don't recall ever seeing this written in a text... only that the teacher stated that he wanted to prove it...

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
I think that if there was any hint of a doubt of the actual existence of a westward path to Asia, the royals would not have funded three ships. They clearly expected the ships to bring back goodies, which is what actually happened, eventually, with the gold that the Spaniards pillaged from the South America. Ironically, Spain managed to squander all the wealth anyway.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

@IRstuff:
"The biggest error was that the Greeks grossly underestimated the diameter of the Earth."

Actually, Eratosthenes did a remarkably good job of calculating the circumference of the Earth in the third century BC:

... Taking the Earth as spherical, and knowing both the distance and direction of Syene, he concluded that the Earth's circumference was fifty times that distance.
His knowledge of the size of Egypt was founded on the work of many generations of surveying trips. Pharaonic bookkeepers gave a distance between Syene and Alexandria of 5,000 stadia (a figure that was checked yearly).
...
Some claim Eratosthenes used the Olympic stade of 176.4 m, which would imply a circumference of 44,100 km, an error of 10%,but the 184.8 m Italian stade became (300 years later) the most commonly accepted value for the length of the stade, which implies a circumference of 46,100 km, an error of 15%.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eratosthenes#Measure...

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
Yes, but, if the Spaniards really knew this, they would not have funded Columbus, since westward distance from Spain to China was over 22,000 km, for which the ships that sailed had nowhere near sufficient rations and water. They had barely enough provisions to get to the Caribbean, which was not even 7000 km.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (IRstuff)

Ironically, Spain managed to squander all the wealth anyway.
Easy come, easy go?

#### Quote (LittleInch)

How do they answer the question that when at sea, where the surface is super flat spherical [FIFY], you still can't see anything more than 20-30 miles away on the clearest day in history??
...don't need an ocean, on any decent sized lake, e.g. Lake Winnipeg, any of the Great Lakes or any of the larger lakes around the world, the curvature of the horizon is evident, as is the recedence of land or floating bodies near and beyond the horizon.

"Schiefgehen wird, was schiefgehen kann" - das Murphygesetz

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

IRstuff,

The problem was that in the 1400s, estimates of longitude were not very good, Estimates for the longitude of East Asia had it quite a lot further east than the real figure, Columbus was also using an under-eastimate for the circumference of the Earth - he really did believe he could sail to Japan, but as luck would have it, he found the Caribbean islands just when he expected to reach Asia.

There's a good succinct account here:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Ear...

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I've been on Lake Winnipeg often and have viewed Lake Superior often. I have never noticed the 'curvature'... looked pretty flat, but, then wasn't looking for the curvature. Wave 'set-up' may have obscured that.

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

dik, I assumed the above posts are not talking about curvature of the horizon but rather that you can't see ships or other objects over the horizon.

Professional Engineer (ME, NH, MA) Structural Engineer (IL)
American Concrete Industries

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

the class room story I recall was that Columbus observed the ship gradually disappear while the mast and sails remain visible for some time after, thus observing the curvature as objects went over the horizon.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
Julian, that was my point exactly, the sailing speed of his largest ship was around 90 miles per day, so if the Europeans knew the correct circumference within 15%, they would have expected a minimum of 154 days of sailing from Spain, not the 49 days sailing distance to the Caribbean they wound up with. They, Columbus, immediately assumed that they arrived in India, when they made landfall in the Caribbean.

So, either the Europeans misinterpreted the Greeks' Earth circumference, or the Greeks made a mistake.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

My eyesight has never been good enough to distinguish between a boat and the mast and sails in a distance... once out of sight, I just assume they have 'dropped off'.

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

"The issue in the 1490s was not the shape of the Earth, but its size, and the position of the east coast of Asia, as Irving in fact points out. Historical estimates from Ptolemy onwards placed the coast of Asia about 180° east of the Canary Islands. Columbus adopted an earlier (and rejected) distance of 225°, added 28° (based on Marco Polo's travels), and then placed Japan another 30° further east. Starting from Cape St. Vincent in Portugal, Columbus made Eurasia stretch 283° to the east, leaving the Atlantic as only 77° wide. Since he planned to leave from the Canaries (9° further west), his trip to Japan would only have to cover 68° of longitude.
Columbus mistakenly assumed that the mile referred to in the Arabic estimate of 56⅔ miles for the size of a degree was the same as the actually much shorter Italian mile of 1,480 metres (0.92 mi). His estimate for the size of the degree and for the circumference of the Earth was therefore about 25% too small. The combined effect of these mistakes was that Columbus estimated the distance to Japan to be only about 5,000 km (or only to the eastern edge of the Caribbean) while the true figure is about 20,000 km."

Ref: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Myth_of_the_flat_Ear...

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
Seems odd to me that Ferdinand wouldn't have had his own naval experts check Columbus' math, particularly for a rather expensive and risky (even without falling off the edge of the Earth) venture.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

My contribution: "Dodo"
Soon to be extinct

STF

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Well, the guy's an adult. If he is risking only his own neck, spending only his own (or freely given) money and has permission of the land owner, let him have at it.

Regards,

Mike

The problem with sloppy work is that the supply FAR EXCEEDS the demand

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I have no issues with self-chlorination of the gene pool, either...

Dan - Owner
http://www.Hi-TecDesigns.com

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Wow.

"Hughes , who transported his rocket to Amboy late last week, with his vehicle breaking down numerous times during the 100-mile trek."

He can't even get his "launch pad" to drive 100 miles without breaking down and he's going to launch himself 1 mile high? Why does't he just book a commercial airline flight, they fly far higher than that?

----------------------------------------

The Help for this program was created in Windows Help format, which depends on a feature that isn't included in this version of Windows.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

^ that was my favorite cartoon show!

As for just hopping on a commercial aircraft ... There is no talking sense into idiots. I say let Darwin take its course.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
"Why doesn't he just book a commercial airline flight, they fly far higher than that?"

Well, he doesn't believe in science, so how is he going to believe that planes fly higher than he can launch himself?

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Keep in mind that he was doing the rocket stuff prior to the flat-earth stuff.

Here's you a steam rocket video. Actual launch is at 3:30.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

I suspect that he is just using the Flat Earthers for funding. He's an Adrenalin junkie and is using the Flat Earth society to help pay for his Adrenalin fix.

Bill
--------------------
"Why not the best?"
Jimmy Carter

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Let's hope the launch IS a success and he proves to himself the Earth ISN'T flat.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Then it's a matter of convincing his sponsors... and, I hope he doesn't take the truth to the grave.

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (and, I hope he doesn't take the truth to the grave.)

Amen to that Dik.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

BB... they might be happier, not knowing... as they say, ignorance is bliss...

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Either way, "flatness" will be at the end of this story:
- his ship fails, and his launch attempt "falls flat",
- his ship launches, and his landing "falls flat",
- his ship launches, and he sees for himself the earth is flat.
In all cases, the result is a foregone conclusion.

STF

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (Sparweb)

- his ship launches, and he sees for himself the earth is flat.

but, doesn't live long enough to tell anyone... so, the rest of us still think the world is round...

Dik

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

#### Quote (SparWeb)

- his ship launches, and his landing "falls flat",

In the sense of "strawberry jam"?

A.

Yup

STF

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Don't know what going on as both videos are error and one account has been closed?

Remember - More details = better answers
Also: If you get a response it's polite to respond to it.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

(OP)
This seems to say that nothing is happening soon.

btw, I saw a Youtube interview of another believer. He seemed pretty well educated insofar as the arguments go; he was wrong, but it was interesting listening to the rationale.

TTFN (ta ta for now)
I can do absolutely anything. I'm an expert! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BKorP55Aqvg
FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies forum1529: Translation Assistance for Engineers Entire Forum list http://www.eng-tips.com/forumlist.cfm

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

SparWeb - So you're saying the landing could flattening, but his new nickname might not be flattering?

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

"Flat Mike Hughes"

STF

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

Short story: He's taking his rocket home, repair and repaint it, hopes to launch sometime between now and Super Bowl Sunday.

### RE: An engineering failure waiting to happen

So, once you are "up there", you don't see a sphere but only the 2D projection of it.
So, wouldn't the only conclusion he draws be that he lives in the exact middele of the flat earth?
And on top of that, even if he drove another 1000 miles (lets say he could, seing the problems he had merely leaving his driveway), and he tried the same thing, he'd be again in the middle of the flat earth.
Thereby practically proving that the earth rotates around him...

I'd do it for that as well, ending up in a walker is just collateral damage having proved you're the centre of the universe.

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