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The Saturday Comics: Flying Saucers

13 Aug

August 13, 2011

Today we’ll take a look at something that combines a quartet of my interests: comic books, toys, flying saucers, and old ads. I have a sampling of ads and articles about do-it-yourself flying saucers and home-made spaceships for you this week.

Exciting! Fun! Low Cost! A great father and son project! And powered by an ordinary vacuum cleaner motor! Sign me up! Never mind that I’ve owned vacuums that have had trouble getting a stubborn piece of lint out from under the bed, I am sure this thing can really lift 200 pounds. Who am I to argue? I am just some guy with logic and a background in engineering.

But I am sure that free inventors calendar is really cool.

Before you say “it’s a Frisbee,” let me explain the principle of differential expansion.

Differential expansion is a phenomenon peculiar to rotors and rotating discs which causes tilt based on the effect of weight or gravity upon the rotating object. It is a natural phenomenon observable in helicopter rotors, steam engines, and Frisbees.

Now you can say “it’s a Frisbee.”This one is a model, and speaking as a man who built a ton of models in his youth, it is a pretty boring model. What is that, three pieces? According to the ad it can be flown with a motor. I doubt that. That is highly unaerodynamic, and it is made of balsa wood. There isn’t enough weight to it. It also “flies extremely well as a glider.” I think it would make a better Frisbee.

But I love the price, 2/6 plus purchase tax. What country uses nomenclature like 2/6 for pricing?

Now this clears things up a bit. the only problem is, the third column starts with “launching is done by your assistant.” Assistant? What is this, the Lockheed Skunk Works? At any rate, a propeller in the front is a better design than a jet in the back. And this one seems like more fun to build since it is mostly homemade. But overall, I really like the article’s lingo. “After Air Trails ran the ‘Saucy Saucer’ flying control line whizzeroo…” All we need is Stan Lee to blurt out “Excelsior!”

Thank you Wham-O! They may call it a “Pluto-Platter” but they don’t pretend it is anything but a 79 cent Frisbee, even if they do pretty it up with the “Scientific airfoil” guff. I love the “Flying Saucer Horseshoe Game.” Two Frisbees and a pair of sticks for $4.98.

Here’s where I’d rather spend my $4.98. And the 10-day free trial? Who needs it? In ten days I’ll already be on Mars.

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