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Persistent Tether-Driven Flight

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.

CoolIP                       ~Dave Santos            September 14, 2010        M2172

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