85

They could, but they won't: Sorry to say, I don't think that anything short of time travel handwavium will get your planes invisible to modern air defense systems. BUT, if you're willing to overlook that, there is a perfectly plausible reason why (pre 9/11) jet fighters wouldn't shoot down those planes. They don't believe they are a real threat. If you were ...


78

Apart from being easy to shoot down (for reasons already mentioned)? There are a number of other complicating factors which might lead the squadron leader to abort the mission. Firstly? They will have lost contact with all the other German aircraft flying the mission that night. Germany would not send one squadron of bombers & one squadron only on a ...


72

They are safe. A 1000lb medieval crossbow has an initial velocity of around 150 fps (~45.7m/s). Oddly increasing the poundage of the crossbow does not increase the velocity just the allowable weight of the projectile, the distance traveled by the bowstring and the speed the bow can flex act as limits. I will use the the formula for firing straight up because ...


66

Land and wait Don't go anywhere near a place that has the capability of bringing you down. You'll be detected flying in their airspace soon enough, you don't need to go to their military base. Simply land your airplane on an empty highway or similar location where you'll be able to land without causing major damage, get out, wave a white flag around and ...


64

I’m going to address this as a general question about using airplanes to stop meteors, rather than the very plot specific way the question is worded. Nope. For one very simple reason: Speed. Meteors are not the slow moving flaming behemoths of Hollywood. In reality they’ll be moving at or above Earth's escape velocity (11km/s) when they hit the atmosphere,...


62

Cross into hostile airspace, but don't go towards anything. Keep on a level course, away from anything that could be construed as a strategic target. Set the transponder to whatever the most visible setting is; if it's a modern Mode 3, set its ident to 7600 ("distress - lost communications"), or to an equivalent military code. Disarm the craft as completely ...


53

Yes, they would fly. Once dropped, a plane would pitch nose down, and fall, once it got above stall speed, you could pull the stick back, and enter level flight. Here is video of a similar idea, in this case a "parasite fighter" dropped from a blimp https://youtu.be/DTGBFY82Gik?t=100 Here is a more modern one, of a plane actually pitching off of a ...


42

In a last ditch effort to prevent extinction (possibly one that worked, after all people are still here) a team of scientists released a swarm of nano-machines into the atmosphere. They form a slight (insert colour of choice) haze in the air at a height of X meters above (insert sea level/ground level/some other measure/do you want to allow skyscrapers or ...


38

Response Time The Germans are literally coming out of nowhere. JU-88 bombers could reach speeds in excess of 500 kph. While this is not that impressive by modern standards, the English channel is only ~34 km wide, and London is only ~65 km past that. So, if they suddenly appeared over the channel they would reach London in 7.8-11.9 minutes after appearing. ...


37

The bush plane STOL records are your friend here. No additional external technology or infrastructure, just carefully designed STOL light aircraft. The current record for landing is 9ft5in (2.87m) and this sort of thing is a bush pilot speciality. Your world is going to have something similar, but they're going to be the tower-top pilots specialising in ...


36

Vulnerability The defector knows that the flight pattern of one wanting to attack is going to be evasive and attempt to avoid retaliation. The defector also doesn't want to be mistaken for a kamikaze. To communicate that his intentions are not to attack or self-destruct, he deliberately slows down the plane to minimum flying speed and directly towards an ...


36

You definitely could. However, I have thought of a few additional concerns: How do you strap in?: Human pilots preferentially sit in a chair, and can easily be belted in. How do you strap in a centaur? Do they have to straddle some kind of saddle, and then tie in straps over their back? Can they strap themselves in, or do they need someone else to do so? ...


32

Yes, it would be possible to build a plane that a centaur could fly using WWI technology, but the centaurs would still be at a severe disadvantage because they would need to build very big and non-maneuverable planes to accommodate their larger and heavier bodies. Now, WWI was the first war where actual air-battles took place and where aircraft played a ...


31

The crew do not want to die, nor do they want to be forced down and captured. So they decide to send out a message to any US or Russian radios that are receiving them that the intrusion was an accident, that they will be reversing course and heading back to the arctic circle, and if they are attacked or if US planes approach too closely, they will in no ...


31

Let's give the word to the experts: Film manufacturers print the expiration date on the roll, and when stored correctly, you can get great photos years or even decades beyond their printed expiration date. Low temperatures slow down film degradation. High temperatures speed up film degradation. Freezing stops the film degradation. Humidity speed up film ...


30

Not possible because meteorites move with 11 to 72 km/s. The best chemical explosive octanitrocubane create shockwaves with 10 km/s. This means if the shockwave of the entering meteorite is not powerful enough to disintegrate it (as it often happens), chemical explosives can't do it. When the hit would trigger the explosives immediately (which it cannot), ...


29

During Middle Age ships cruised the seas with no communication whatsoever with both land and other ships. If there was any communication it was only when the ship was in sight or ear distance. Despite this they were able to trade and travel. Same can go for your airships: travel by sight and have always some eyes on the watch. Forget about systematic ...


29

Even if the balloon flies low enough that you can actually hit it with a crossbow or longbow (and it is surprisingly difficult to aim at a moving object above your head) you won't do much damage. First of all at the top end of its trajectory the arrow or bolt won't have much penetrating power left. And you will mostly be hitting the bottom and sides of the ...


27

TL;DR: I think the Luftwaffe crew will likely abort and attempt to get new orders, but if they don't it's going to go very badly for them. First off, the German crews: Movies like Doctor Strangelove or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb aside, most soldiers and fighter pilots are not in fact gung-ho slaughter-happy warmongers, and will in fact ...


24

It's even more simple* than a wind-tunnel: simply set up the runway as a steep ramp on top of the building. The aircraft land into the wind, and the uphill nature of the runway will rapidly kill speed. Then when taking off, doing so downhill into the wind will allow a rapid gain in speed. So, ideally a landing building would have a runway like a hat, a ...


23

Too complicated If something goes wrong, it would be difficult to abort. Just imagine a plane trying to land and the fan breaking. The pilot also then needs to watch two walls and a roof as well as the ground so a crosswind while trying to enter the wind tunnel could be quite catastrophic. Easiest solution is a landing cable like what is used on aircraft ...


23

For congested airspace: Flags, Candles, coloured glass, and a codebook. So Semaphore Code is probably the best option (using flags to communicate), but also modern air traffic control has a backup system using coloured lights for when the radio fails (Eg flashing green means either "Cleared for Taxi" or "turn around and come back to airport&...


22

No, this will unfortunately (?) not work as advertised. The basic problem is lift. There are three basic ways I can see a chainsaw mechanism generating lift, and all have insurmountable issues. One is basically using the mechanism of the saw itself to push air down with, effectively, little scoops instead of teeth. This might work in water, which is a lot ...


21

The answer is no. And if you really feel like it, you can ignore the explosives entirely. In physics, we can always choose our frame of reference to simplify the problem. Let's take our frame of reference to be that of the meteor. If it is traveling at 6km/s with respect to the earth (a conservative estimate made by Joe Bloggs that I like), that means ...


20

It is already possible, with some limitations. Currently drones are used to research sperm whales, airplane research is costly, invasive and impractical. Large planes cannot be flown closely to the mammals without altering their behavior. Much smaller, quieter drones, on the other hand, are inexpensive and can be flown almost directly overhead. Also sharks ...


20

Water World On a water world, everything of importance could be under water instead of on top of it. This means you can convert your whole navy into submarines where they can better access and control these under water territories. Your ocean can still have an atmosphere above it where planes could fly, and planes would still be an important technology ...


20

Cyberpunk and steampunk are a lot alike. Both make use of technomagic that makes sense on a visual level, but not on a physical or fully economical/sociological one. No one bats an eye when a steam-powered mech walks by, even though it would require better computer tech and engineering than we have today for that level of capability. Similarly no one bats an ...


18

Yes. In fact, it has (essentially) already done in actual history. Granted, the "parasite aircraft" experiments of the 1910-1930 were launched from "rigid airships" rather than floating platform cities, but the concept is the same. You will still have to work out a landing plan, however, as early "parasite aircraft" designs relied on a ground-based runway ...


18

A plane won't be able to do it because wings are not meant to take the shock of an impact. You would also be risking a lot by trying to mow down a person: you'd have to fly too low and you risk bits ending up in the turbines. If you ever read news about what birds do to airplanes, you'll see that never ends well for the plane. However! Did you know that ...


18

Depending on the tech level I would suggest intense weather conditions making flying hazardous, e.g semi-permanent dense fogs or high winds/storms. Note that any conditions that make early/primitive flight difficult or next to impossible of the above would impact the development of more modern, advanced flight technology unless that is introduced from/by ...


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