The physics of energy transfer is in principle
two-way. Many AWE concepts apply this idea by reversible motor/gen modes
to allow loitering aloft thru calm. Classic towing is the simplest
trick. Driven-tethers can keep a kite-glider up indefinitely by towing
in tight patterns or driving rotors. As the wind blows the kites drive
the tethers to generate power at the surface. Relaunch is almost
eliminated or routinized by such "lift-on-demand."
There does not seem to be much conscious invention in this concept
space. Loyd's 3-phase crank-to-crank kiteplane AWECS can be backdriven
and will fly in calm powered from the surface. A 60's toy helicopter
flew by a torque-wire in a flexible tube driving its rotor, providing an
existence proof that rotary "tether-driven" flight is a real idea.
Initial KiteLab "toy" experiments show that sharp fast pulses on a line
can kick a "puddle-jumper" reversible pitch rotor rigged somewhat as a
bow-drill to spin with enough flywheel momentum to maintain flight. It
is not a big stretch to imagine a tether-powered helicopter that
maintains station persistently as, say, a communications repeater
("perpetual predator drones" are verboten!). As the wind blows such a
heli flies as an autogyro kite and can send power down the tether.
Tether-driven flight by pulsed stress-waves or a fast moving loop will
prove quite the rope-trick in the emerging tethered-aviation revolution.
~Dave Santos September
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