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Author Topic: A possible new type of Airship Soldier...  (Read 11572 times)
arcwelder
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« Reply #100 on: June 18, 2010, 06:12:25 pm »

It helps if the high ground stays put. Submarine (or air) warfare makes a closer analogy.
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tophatdan
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« Reply #101 on: June 18, 2010, 06:45:07 pm »

That is why you would seek to be above the other airship before sending over your gliders.

Somehow, I sense a flaw in that strategy. Oh, wait, it relies on the other guy not trying to fight back.

That sort of thing will work sometimes, but you don't want it to be critical to deploying a critical element in your arsenal. Therefore it devalues that particular weapon (i.e. the glider troops). Something like a short-hop jetpack would give you the boost you need to actually get there under variable conditions. Plus, it's a frigging jetpack - how cool is that?

thats why my 'bees' are such a great idea, they are both defensive (primary) and offensive (secondary),

tethered to the ship for fuel they can stay in flight for hours with their jetpacks, keeping an eye out and responding to threats, but in a battle situation they could detach from their tethers and 'hop' to the other ship to attack.
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hardlec
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« Reply #102 on: June 21, 2010, 01:42:25 am »

The concept of a "flying suit" whether modeled after a flying squirrel, a bat or a pterosaur, or a clockwork auto-gyro backpack, works like this:

I really wanna see it work, so, if I saw it in fiction I would buy the idea, so long as there wasn't too much "unobtainium" involved.

There are people in the early 21st century who "fly" in squirrel suits whit mini jet engines, and I worked on a "Science Fiction" 22nd century type, where metal-skinned airships were attacked and defended by soldiers in such suits.

The idea of soldiers flying for brief periods between airships is quite quite interesting.

I'm still partial to the rotor concept, because if power fails, the "backpack" can auto-rotate to the ground. 
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arcwelder
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« Reply #103 on: June 21, 2010, 01:44:45 am »

What about mooring lines combined with packs which latch on and propel you over?
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MatthiasKoenig
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« Reply #104 on: June 21, 2010, 08:31:03 pm »

The concept of a "flying suit" whether modeled after a flying squirrel, a bat or a pterosaur, or a clockwork auto-gyro backpack, works like this:

I really wanna see it work, so, if I saw it in fiction I would buy the idea, so long as there wasn't too much "unobtainium" involved.

There are people in the early 21st century who "fly" in squirrel suits whit mini jet engines, and I worked on a "Science Fiction" 22nd century type, where metal-skinned airships were attacked and defended by soldiers in such suits.

The idea of soldiers flying for brief periods between airships is quite quite interesting.

I'm still partial to the rotor concept, because if power fails, the "backpack" can auto-rotate to the ground. 


I was pretty partial to that idea as well, until I saw a video of a universal joint on a helicopter's main rotor give out, which didn't allow for auto-rotation. However, of all the suit designs I've seen or heard about, I think either the autogyro and/or the bee idea would be the best bet in terms of "mechanically asissted" flight, besides my idea of course.  Grin
 Any way you cut it, it would be a dangerous idea, but like you said, I'm more into the materials that would be manufactured in a "real world", and less interested in the "unobtainium".

 Arcwelder, I think that would be a good idea....but to combat the issue of the mooring lines becoming detached, by the airships moving away from each other, changes in altitude, etc, the packs would probably need to be steam "jet packs" or something of that nature to shoot you over there as fast as possible maybe? Of course, there's also a need for a braking mechanism, so you didn't end up like a fly on a windshield either... Wink
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hardlec
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« Reply #105 on: June 22, 2010, 02:14:13 am »

Boarding party in flying suits goes over.  Maybe you can have a boarding "skiff" as well.  Little bees, bigger bees, killer bees.

Boarding party attaches mooring points and leader lines.  The leader lines are used to carry over hawsers heavy enough to hold the airships fast together.  The main landing party now goes away, (AWAY BOARDERS!) on zip-lines. 

Such Swash

Such Buckle

I love the idea.  Good stuff.
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tophatdan
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« Reply #106 on: June 22, 2010, 03:36:46 am »

worker bees and soldier bees!
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MatthiasKoenig
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« Reply #107 on: June 22, 2010, 04:28:24 am »

 Works for me Grin
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Lazaras
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« Reply #108 on: June 22, 2010, 01:39:12 pm »

I like the jetpack idea, perticularly since we already have a working example from the sixties. Sure it only had maybe a minute of flight time, but that was only due to fuel issues that a tether would fix quite nicely. Trouble is... what would keep either accidental severing of the line, people tangling up in eachother's lines, or an enemy deciding 'hmmm these people really are annoying, let's do away with all those rope-like things connecting them to their ship.'

Having said that I like the idea as a defensive measure, have oddball firing angles, people that can fly out and take care of what would otherwise be blind spots in static defenses, repel boarding craft, make repairs, and all sorts of other nifty things.



Would have to design the thing to prevent butt-burn.... I suppose splitting the exhaust between two pipes out to either side would fix that.
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Atterton
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« Reply #109 on: June 22, 2010, 01:43:10 pm »

You probably wouldn´t want people wearing jetpacks flying around a hydrogen airship, you´d have to go with helium.
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Lazaras
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« Reply #110 on: June 22, 2010, 01:55:48 pm »

Helium would be preferable anyhow as even with armoring and reinforcement the gas bags are going to be the primary targets of any airship combat scenario. Plus you can only put so much armor around each bag (and or the outer envelope) before you have to enlarge the thing to compensate for the additional weight.


I suppose it's a good thing that, unless the ruptures were about the size of a small plane, most airships land gently.
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tophatdan
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« Reply #111 on: June 22, 2010, 07:46:11 pm »

those jetpacks from the sixties run on high pressure steam created by chemical reaction so hydrogen is not an issue...

that said, i figure 8 to 10 bees tethered in place, with automatic rifles like a modified tommy gun maybe, working as 'static' defence, if the tether gets gut they still have enough onboard fuel to 'jump' back to the ship for safety, even then, its a highly dangerous job...
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Lazaras
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« Reply #112 on: June 22, 2010, 10:14:47 pm »

This topic has suddenly become far more relevant since I'm working on a bit of a short featuring a skyliner's ship from the Eastern States Coalition to the Republic of Texas and i"m wanting the obligatory air pirate encounter to feel believable... even if the science and specifics aren't really there on close examination.


Any objection to my using the 'bees' concept for repelling boarders?
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tophatdan
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« Reply #113 on: June 23, 2010, 12:08:25 am »

not at all! enjoy the bees, i know i have, i originally came up with the concept while attempting to make a steampunk version of the 'whiskers' from seaquest...

please, enjoy the bees, and please go back and re-read this thread, its not that long, and its full of great ideas!
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Lazaras
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« Reply #114 on: June 23, 2010, 03:26:02 am »

Trying to figure out how best to implement the jets since the setting I've considered this for is something of a 'post civilization destroying conflagration in a world where the easy to reach oil is gone.' There's space colonies, other worlds settled, worldships, and the like, but Earth is.... well the reason steamtech has survived is the lack of oil and that even though biodeasels can be used for fuel... you don't have the same easy supply of hydrocarbons for plastics and such.


So what, have a chemical reaction where the jetpack's tank holds one chemical while the hose pipes in the reaction liquid... possibly with an internal tank that it goes through in case the hose gt's cut so there's an internal supply of propellant?


What about placement? Three on each side to act as spotters with more able to be called out? How to best keep the hoses untangled?
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tophatdan
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« Reply #115 on: June 23, 2010, 09:19:32 am »

6 out at all times working in shifts i think would work the best, with a secondary crew on standby, i think you would need 6 or 8 little 'launching platforms' outside the ship, just a tiny walkway with a hose house, you would place these symmetrically along the airship's 'equator' and away from the engines, the bees would then simply hover along side the ship at enough of a distance that they could keep an eye on the ship, looking for tears and irregularities in the ship's skin as well as enemy attackers, figure half the airship's width for a distance to give them a good view, so if its 60 feet wide they would hover about 30 feet away etc. now since they are placed a distance apart and tethered to their own separate platforms with only so much hose to fly about on, then they really wouldn't get close enough to each other to worry about hoses getting tangled.

i imagine that they would have wired communication with the ship, as well as cary some small rudimentary meteorological equipment, as well as a single automatic weapon. being as how they will be totally exposed then cold weather gear, goggles etc. are a must. and seeing as how this job is so very dangerous i imagine they would have a bit of a 'cowboy persona'
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Atterton
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« Reply #116 on: June 23, 2010, 11:57:20 am »

Those bees must take up a lot of fuel. Couldn´t it be done instead with a few well placed crow´s nests?
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arcwelder
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« Reply #117 on: June 23, 2010, 09:43:35 pm »

I'm also curious whether the offloading and retrieval of these proposed soldiers would make for a significant buoyancy issue.
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tophatdan
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« Reply #118 on: June 24, 2010, 01:52:48 pm »

I'm also curious whether the offloading and retrieval of these proposed soldiers would make for a significant buoyancy issue.

please do explain?
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arcwelder
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« Reply #119 on: June 24, 2010, 09:10:12 pm »

Soldiers have mass. Lots of soldiers have lots of mass. If you remove mass from the airship, it goes up. If you add mass to the airship, it goes down.
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tophatdan
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« Reply #120 on: June 24, 2010, 11:50:49 pm »

Soldiers have mass. Lots of soldiers have lots of mass. If you remove mass from the airship, it goes up. If you add mass to the airship, it goes down.

well lets see here, if you limit their size (like early astronauts) and shave weight on the packs as much as possible (a good idea all around) then you are looking at maybe a thousand pounds transferring with 6 bees, that is a lot yes, but nothing that cant be handled by simply modifying ship operations...

as for fuel consumption, i have been thinking about that myself.

 i have been reading into some very interesting gas thrusters invented by the soviets during the 1970s, these were a sodium thruster which relied on the chemical reaction between pure sodium and water.
 i think that the thrusters used by the bees should be of this sort, the russian ver. used a sodium 'rod' which was fed very slowly into a reaction chamber where it mixed with tiny bits of water causing a 'blast' of steam, this produced a sort of pulse thruster which worked very well down here on earth but not so well in the vacuum of space, the russians wanted to use them to re-boost space stations.
 seeing as how this didnt work, they abandoned the research...

 the design is nothing more than a controlled feed rotor and motor, some reaction valves, a tank, nozzle, sodium and water. its a pretty simple system that could have easily been produced in almost any era that had plumbing and chemistry.

to give a basic idea what we are talking about here, i give you a comparison with 2 other sorts of more familiar thrusters, listed here are the kgf (kilogram-force) maximums for each of the 3 thrusters.

NASA Cold Gas Thruster (the kind used on the space shuttle): 86 kgf
Bell Rocket Belt (the sort that we have all been thinking about): 136 kgf
Soviet Sodium Thruster (cant spell the name without cyrillic): 182 kgf

seeing as how it was more powerful than the 'rocket belt' i imagine that it could be scaled to work both in a fictional and non-fictional capacity...

it would be a funny looking rocket pack, a 6 foot long sodium rod encased in a feed magazine with a combustion chamber on the end, a water tank with a hose running back to an airship and 2 thrusters on short 'frameworks' hanging out to either side with a series of control valves and small motors running the whole thing.
 then you have to imagine the sound of half a dozen small sodium reaction explosions a second running this thing... i think it would be a bit like being attached to a buzz bomb so dont expect to be able and hear the enemy coming!
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Lazaras
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« Reply #121 on: June 25, 2010, 12:17:08 am »

Not liking the sodium rod thruster.... visions of the kursk blowing up come to mind....
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tophatdan
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« Reply #122 on: June 25, 2010, 12:39:57 am »

well the kursk explosion was a peroxide explosion not a sodium explosion, the bell rocket belt used 90% pure peroxide like the kursk torpedos... so if one was worried about it, then the rocket belt would be the worry not the sodium rod thruster...
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Lazaras
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« Reply #123 on: June 25, 2010, 03:51:59 am »

Live and learn....

One of the many reasons i come here. Little tidbits of knowledge filtering through at odd moments.
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« Reply #124 on: June 25, 2010, 07:04:11 pm »

Hmmm.. taking soldiers from point A to point B through the sky.. sounds like a job for a helicopter. Or an airship equivalent.. add some weaponry and you've got a proper gunship.. Perhaps a steampunk alternative to the Mil Mi 24 Hind helicopter?

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