“Concrete Glider”

You can’t make a concrete glider “fly”

Adam and Jamie have a build-off trying to build a concrete glider. Adam thinks that he can ignore the last century of aerodynamics innovation, and Jamie proves that he’s never built a glider before.

Critique:

Can you please define ‘fly’? As has been said many times before, “If you attach a powerful enough engine to anything, it’ll fly”. I know we’re talking about gliders here, but I still think that they need to be a bit more clear about what ‘flying’ is. If I throw a rock, how long does it ‘fly’? What is the worst glide ratio of an actual glider?

Adam buiilds a ‘kite’ and of course at high enough speeds it ‘flys’ for a little while. Jamie makes a valiant effort, but doesn’t know that his glider has a very high stall speed.

My Verdict:

Analysis Busted! Jamie should have won, which was very clear. The reason he didn’t is that Adam’s launch system imparted more kinetic energy into his glider than Jamie’s hand launch, and thus, it “flew” (dropped?) farther.

What they should have done:

Well, it seems as though there are proven cases of actual concrete gliders. Why not just say “Confirmed” and site the reference? If thats too easy, then at least research glider aerodynamics (center of gravity, lift to weight, wing aspect ratio, etc.) before setting off to build a glider. I bet they couldn’t have done any better if they were building gliders from balsa wood, since their methods were so flawed.

Is it possible for a passing train to suck you off the platform?

G, T, & K do a real world test to see if someone can be “sucked” off the platform by a passing train.

Critique

Again, I’m impressed by the B-Team’s improved scientific method. They hand built a wind tunnel, which I thought was completely inconclusive, but did look nice. The recaps of the chicken gun episode were totally pointless. The one case that they should have talked about is the subway tunnel case. We’ve all been standing right by the tunnel entrance in a subway and felt the great wind that comes by when the train starts to come out of the tunnel. Thats a totally different story, and could have radically different results.

My Verdict

Analysis confirmed. If you could actually be sucked onto the tracks by a passing train (or subway) then there would be railings there to prevent that from happening. Also, there would be reports of deaths by train suction, which I presume they looked for but couldn’t find.

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