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Can the plane take off and land on the water?

Public number: Weidu Popular Science Source: Time: 2020-02-21 01:23:52

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On March 28, 1910, the Frenchman Fabre successfully tested the first seaplane. It turns out that airplanes don't just take off and land on flat land. Let's take a look at this amazing airplane.

Many people believe that aircraft can only take off or land on airport runways, because only flat, hard ground can help the aircraft complete the entire process of taxiing, accelerating and taking off. The aircraft also needs a runway when landing, and completes a series of actions from deceleration to stop on the runway. According to this idea, aircraft cannot take off and land on the water. Is this really the case? the answer is negative.

Airplanes taking off, landing and parking on the water surface are seaplanes, which are also called water planes for short. It does not require a runway.

The plane was born in late 1903, but just seven years later, a Frenchman named Fabre invented the world's first water machine. Its shape is too crude: almost a pair of wings are installed on the front and back of two bare wooden poles. The pilot simply sat in the center of the pole, and propelled the aircraft forward from a pair of propellers.

After 1910, cruisers began to carry watercraft for security reconnaissance or artillery corrections. The water machine usually pops out from the specially added runway, and when landing, it first falls to the water surface, and then it is recovered by the ship's crane.

By the 1920s, China's earliest aviation companies had manufactured various types of water machines. The heyday of making water machines should be the 1930s. At that time, for the needs of maritime rights protection and the development of long-distance transcontinental routes, the use of water engines seemed to be more advantageous than conventional aircraft. Because when operating at sea, only water machines can land on the water at any time, and can carry out long-term operations such as reconnaissance, rescue, and anti-submarine patrol. After the ship is replenished, the number of days on duty can be extended without limit.

For long-distance passenger aircraft, at that time, the equipment on board could not ensure the safety of long-term navigation, and even if the water machine was out of oil for some reason, there was a mechanical failure, or it was lost, it could still land on the water in time for processing. This flexibility in use made it once the darling of the aircraft. In addition, because the water machine did not need to build an airport for it, the airlines once favored the water machine. In October 1929, the world's largest water machine Do-X even set a world record for carrying 169 passengers at one time.


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In the 1950s, with the rapid advancement of world aviation technology, the communication and navigation equipment of conventional aircraft was continuously improved, the range of aircraft was greatly increased, and safety and reliability were also guaranteed. As a result, the advantages of the original water machine disappeared. Many people believe that conventional aircraft has every reason to completely replace water engines. As a result, the water machine began to decline.

At present, only three or four countries including China have not given up their enthusiasm for the development of a new generation of water machines. Water machines are still active in special flight areas such as air fire suppression, maritime search and rescue, and fishery patrols. China's forthcoming "Nine Dragon 600" water machine will firmly secure the title of the world's largest water machine.

In terms of layout, water machines can be divided into hull type or pontoon type. The former is designed with the bottom of the fuselage in the shape of the bottom of the ship (commonly known as "airship"), and the latter is installed under the fuselage or wing. Boat-shaped pontoon. It is with the support of the hull and the pontoon that the water machine can smoothly take off and land on the water. Of course, different water machines have different sizes of hulls and pontoons, as well as different installation positions and numbers.

Hull water machines often carry 2 small pontoons to increase their ability to balance laterally on the water. In order to achieve the purpose of being able to take off and land at a land airport at the same time, individual water planes are also equipped with landing gears that are only available for conventional aircraft. They are called "amphibious aircraft."

The main advantage of the water machine is that it can be used in the sea waters of the vast rivers and lakes. It is relatively safe and economical when used, and the load is not limited. The disadvantages are that it is limited by the shape of the hull, is not suitable for high-speed flight, has a heavy structure, requires high anti-wave performance, and has high maintenance and manufacturing costs. So at present, with the exception of some special applications, most of the flight missions have already been handed over to conventional aircraft.

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