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86 votes

What clothes would flying-people wear?

Everyone else is speculating when there are proper reality check examples. Flight suits that allow for free movement of wings, legs and tail are a thing. Some also contain diapers, so that your bird ...
The Square-Cube Law's user avatar
60 votes

Would a steam powered plane be able to cross the Atlantic ocean?

Here is a scheme to sidestep some problems with steam engines in an alternate past. Problem: Fuel is heavy Solution: Do not carry fuel.
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
60 votes

Parachute equivalent when there is no ground

You could use the same back-up plan that the majority of flights in real life use: nothing. The vast majority of civilian flights in the real world have no parachutes. If a catastrophic disaster ...
Tanner Swett's user avatar
  • 1,587
51 votes

Can birds evolve without trees?

Trees were not involved with the evolution of flight in birds. Birds did not evolve flight from gliders but likely from ground running predatory jumpers, birds and maniraptoran dinosaurs are about ...
John's user avatar
  • 81.1k
49 votes

Would a steam powered plane be able to cross the Atlantic ocean?

You may be missing why flight didn't happen until the early 1900s. Flight happened when engines became energy-dense enough. That's what they were waiting for. If it could've been done with steam, ...
Harper - Reinstate Monica's user avatar
49 votes

How would one attack or lay siege to a flying castle?

Let's revisit the premise that the sky-castle has a year's worth of water stored on it. As a corollary to this premise, we should assume that the stored water won't become stagnant or otherwise ...
user535733's user avatar
  • 28.9k
47 votes

Humans can now fly. What happens to the transportation industry?

This is looking long-term...after the initial surge of people taking to the air occurs has died down a bit. The airline industry would be one takes a plane for a 15 mile trip. Aircraft ...
guildsbounty's user avatar
  • 10.9k
44 votes

Parachute equivalent when there is no ground

the air only gets denser, and denser The craft (or lifeboats stored on them) are very light. They are designed with lots of air spaces. When they start to fall, all openings to the outside are sealed ...
chasly - supports Monica's user avatar
43 votes

How do I prevent flight in a cyberpunk future?

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 (...
Tim B's user avatar
  • 77.1k
43 votes

How would one attack or lay siege to a flying castle?

From a safe distance, your sappers excavate a tunnel. The tunnel leads to the tether point of the castle's anchor chain. Bring the tether down into the tunnel from below. Winch it along the tunnel....
Willk's user avatar
  • 305k
41 votes

Would an evolutionary predecessor for winged quadrupeds start with four legs and gain wings? Or start with two legs and wings and gain extra legs?

How about neither? Tetrapods evolved straight from lobe-finned fish; essentially no-limbs to four-limbs. You could have a similar process, except when the fish were developing limbs they ended up with ...
Sol's user avatar
  • 2,958
39 votes

Possible cause of a world without flying animals

The first flying insects appeared (as far as we know) in the Devonian, some 400 million years ago. Before that there were no flying animals. So not only is a world without flying animals possible, our ...
AlexP's user avatar
  • 89.6k
39 votes

How to prevent the evolution of human flight?

Magic is a dense material. Magic is quite dense. It tends to fall down with gravity, and tends to cling to the earth. As such, if you get too far above the ground, there tends to be little magic left. ...
Nepene Nep's user avatar
38 votes

How could a lightning magic user fly?

Ion flight. Unlike turbine-powered planes, the aircraft does not depend on fossil fuels to fly. And unlike propeller-driven ...
Trevor's user avatar
  • 6,474
37 votes

How can a dragon take off to the air silently?

Owls & co. already do this, thanks to the particular structure of their feather. Since I imagine your dragons don't have feather, they might have some structure leading to the same result. ...
L.Dutch's user avatar
  • 287k
36 votes

What atmospheric density would be required to allow a human being to fly without wings?

We call this "swimming" and you'd need an atmospheric density roughly that of water. The pressure needed to get a gas at that density has serious physiological effects, so just compressing the right ...
Mark Olson's user avatar
  • 14.3k
36 votes

Could you design a fighter plane for a centaur?

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 ...
IronEagle's user avatar
  • 2,804
35 votes

Airship lifeboats, design alternatives

The safest place is still aboard your airship. Unlike seagoing vessels, airships do not traverse a medium that is potentially deadly for humans. When a ship sinks, people need to still be able to ...
dot_Sp0T's user avatar
  • 12.1k
35 votes

Antiballast for flying ship

Volume-based Adjustable Buoyancy The key here is to not use so many stones that your ships float up. Instead, use as many stones as is needed to make your ship effectively weightless. If 1kg of ...
Lemming's user avatar
  • 6,097
34 votes

LED light or heating element?

You would want to use a heating element. If you use a light (whether visible light from a LED or infrared from a quartz heating element), some of the energy is turned into light, rather than heat. ...
Cort Ammon's user avatar
  • 132k
34 votes

How do migratory dragons avoid being blinded by sun?

Don't worry about it. What you describe is the cruising height of a passenger airliner. If you have ever looked out the window of such a plane you will know the light is often bright but not ...
Daron's user avatar
  • 66.2k
33 votes

Could you fly a Boeing 747 on Venus?

While in theory the atmospheric pressures and temperatures in the upper regions of Venus' atmosphere are more conducive to the operation of aircraft, you still have a problem; sulphur dioxide. This is ...
Tim B   II's user avatar
  • 54.1k
33 votes

Could you design a fighter plane for a centaur?

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-...
Dragongeek's user avatar
31 votes

What kind of tactical situation/s would be best approached with trained jetpack pilots?

Your jetpack troops are combat engineers (let's face it, jetpacks are temperamental things and it takes technical know-how to keep them working in the field) and their duties are the traditional ...
Cadence's user avatar
  • 38.2k
30 votes

How to make a viable flying mount?

I don't think a classic Pegasus/dragon animal will work (reasons see other answers). But how about a "lighter-than-air" approach? Your (gigantic) animal will split water into oxygen (can maybe be ...
m.fuss's user avatar
  • 430
30 votes

How do massive starships levitate?

Most planets in the solar system have their own magnetic fields(ref.), so you could use those to levitate. Just grab a huge chunk of superconductive material, and cool it below its critical ...
John Dvorak's user avatar
  • 2,583
30 votes

Plausibility of Floating Whales

Sadly, no. Tl;dr: the minimum size of such a creature is on the scale of kilometers and thus pretty infeasible. Instead, try making the creature some kind of colonial organism and boosting your planet....
Dubukay's user avatar
  • 12.2k
30 votes

Biological Blimps: Propulsion

The same way a nautilus swims around in water: jet propulsion. Nautiluses move using a hyponome, which expands to pull in water from the sides of the nautilus, and contracts to expel a jet of water. ...
Giter's user avatar
  • 17.3k
29 votes

Possible cause of a world without flying animals

Discounting the problematic flying fish, flight has evolved 4 separate times that we know of. Insects, 400 million years ago Pterosaurs, 230 million years ago Birds, 150 million years ago Bats, 50 ...
Binary Worrier's user avatar
28 votes

Does gliding flight give any advantages to dragons in combat?

Gliding doesn't burn much energy An albatross can fly non stop for days simply by gliding. For something as large as a dragon, powered flight would use massive amounts of energy, which means gliding ...
Thorne's user avatar
  • 46.8k

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