Aircraft in Artificial Gravity

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jaunty Harrison jaunty Harrison's picture
Aircraft in Artificial Gravity

How difficult would it be to fly an aircraft inside of a habitat that is spun to simulate gravity?

I was thumbing through Sunward yesterday, and noticed something odd. The narrator of the page about Mars's largest orbital habitat, Progress, mentions that he used to fly an "air taxi" within the Hab. This seems like it would be insanely difficult and dangerous, because although a Habitat's spin feels a lot like gravity from the petspective of a person standing in it, the coriolis effect starts to make things pretty disorienting the moment you want to throw, shoot, launch or fly anything.

Obviously this isn't a problem in zero G habitats. It's also never going to come up in Habs that are simply not spacious enough to accomodate an aircraft. There are however a handful of locations where this might occur in Eclipse Phase. Progress, Remembrance and Qing Long all seem like they should be large enough.

At this point I run into my own mathimatical inepitude. I know it would be hard to correct an aircraft's trajectory, but I can't quantify how hard. I know that Progress is huge, and is probably spun to simulate the gravity on Mars. Remembrance is an 8km x 35km O'neill cylinder, likely spun to 1g. I don't know what the gravity is like on Qing Long, or its dimensions compared to Remembrance (both claim to be the largest O'neill cylinder ever built). I suspect that correcting an aircraft's trajecory should get easier in a habitat of a larger diameter, and also easier if the habitat is spun to simulate gravity lower than 1g. Is that right?

Epsilon Rose Epsilon Rose's picture
Wait. He Pilots a taxi?

Better question: Why is someone piloting a taxi in an age when automation and A.L.I.s are already extremely advanced, particularly when we are already on the verge of replacing that particular job?

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
jaunty Harrison wrote:How

jaunty Harrison wrote:
How difficult would it be to fly an aircraft inside of a habitat that is spun to simulate gravity?

I was thumbing through Sunward yesterday, and noticed something odd. The narrator of the page about Mars's largest orbital habitat, Progress, mentions that he used to fly an "air taxi" within the Hab. This seems like it would be insanely difficult and dangerous, because although a Habitat's spin feels a lot like gravity from the petspective of a person standing in it, the coriolis effect starts to make things pretty disorienting the moment you want to throw, shoot, launch or fly anything.

Obviously this isn't a problem in zero G habitats. It's also never going to come up in Habs that are simply not spacious enough to accomodate an aircraft. There are however a handful of locations where this might occur in Eclipse Phase. Progress, Remembrance and Qing Long all seem like they should be large enough.

At this point I run into my own mathimatical inepitude. I know it would be hard to correct an aircraft's trajectory, but I can't quantify how hard. I know that Progress is huge, and is probably spun to simulate the gravity on Mars. Remembrance is an 8km x 35km O'neill cylinder, likely spun to 1g. I don't know what the gravity is like on Qing Long, or its dimensions compared to Remembrance (both claim to be the largest O'neill cylinder ever built). I suspect that correcting an aircraft's trajecory should get easier in a habitat of a larger diameter, and also easier if the habitat is spun to simulate gravity lower than 1g. Is that right?

I'd imagine that tilt rotor or thrust vector can be set up to compensate for the Coriolis effect. For traditional fixed-wing flyers, it would probably be hellishly difficult to compensate for the Coriolis effect unless they were flying relatively straight.

UnitOmega UnitOmega's picture
Epsilon Rose wrote:Better

Epsilon Rose wrote:
Better question: Why is someone piloting a taxi in an age when automation and A.L.I.s are already extremely advanced, particularly when we are already on the verge of replacing that particular job?

Welcome to Progress. Think of it like uber or lyft.

Also on a related note, a transhuman contractor or indenture who has been vetted and is on contract is probably harder to subvert and fly into something important at high speeds than an off the shelf ALI is. While I maintain small urban ground-vehicles on Mars or Luna probably have a lot of integrated, self-driving support, but air vehicles are probably more dangerous than compact electric smart cars.

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jKaiser jKaiser's picture
Epsilon Rose wrote:Better

Epsilon Rose wrote:
Better question: Why is someone piloting a taxi in an age when automation and A.L.I.s are already extremely advanced, particularly when we are already on the verge of replacing that particular job?

The human touch. No, seriously, that would be their whole business model. How much actual flying the pilot would do is questionable, but combine taxi driver with tour guide and hire someone with a fun personality and people would be interested, if only for the feeling of "the old ways." This is why you still have gondola drivers in Venice pushing their boats with sticks and why horse-drawn carriage rides are still popular.

jaunty Harrison jaunty Harrison's picture
Well, It turns out this might

Well, It turns out this might not be as hard as I imagined it to be. I went looking for any other threads that explored the challenges of compensating for the coriolis effect and I found one which contained this link, a handy coriolis acceleration calculator. http://jsbin.com/ukike3/6

When I applied the conditions for an eclipse phase Flying Car traveling at max speed (200 km/h) in an O'neill cylinder like Remembrance, with an 8km diameter, it told me this. At the worst, the pilot would have to compensate what feels like 0.56g acceleration up or down when flying directly spinwards or anti-spinwards. That is, flying spinwards in what looks like a straight line would feel like flying in 1.56g, flying anti-spinwards in what looks like a straight line would feel like flying in .44g. The vehicle ought to be maneuverable enough to handle that. It should be easier than that in Progress, which is spun to simulate less than 1g.

jKaiser jKaiser's picture
As an aside

That reminds me of some old articles back when Halo first came out, about how ballistics would behave on a spinning ringworld in reality. I'm having a hard time finding it now, but it was something about bullets' drop-off being affected depending on whether they were fired upspin or downspin. Presumably something auto-compensated for by modern weapon interfaces and such, though it begs the question of how sports fields would be oriented in a cylinder or sphere.

SquireNed SquireNed's picture
jKaiser wrote:That reminds me

jKaiser wrote:
That reminds me of some old articles back when Halo first came out, about how ballistics would behave on a spinning ringworld in reality. I'm having a hard time finding it now, but it was something about bullets' drop-off being affected depending on whether they were fired upspin or downspin. Presumably something auto-compensated for by modern weapon interfaces and such, though it begs the question of how sports fields would be oriented in a cylinder or sphere.

Every sports match is simply Germany versus Brazil, forever.

jKaiser jKaiser's picture
SquireNed wrote:jKaiser wrote

SquireNed wrote:
jKaiser wrote:
That reminds me of some old articles back when Halo first came out, about how ballistics would behave on a spinning ringworld in reality. I'm having a hard time finding it now, but it was something about bullets' drop-off being affected depending on whether they were fired upspin or downspin. Presumably something auto-compensated for by modern weapon interfaces and such, though it begs the question of how sports fields would be oriented in a cylinder or sphere.

Every sports match is simply Germany versus Brazil, forever.

Pyrite Pyrite's picture
jaunty Harrison wrote:Well,

jaunty Harrison wrote:
Well, It turns out this might not be as hard as I imagined it to be. I went looking for any other threads that explored the challenges of compensating for the coriolis effect and I found one which contained this link, a handy coriolis acceleration calculator. http://jsbin.com/ukike3/6

When I applied the conditions for an eclipse phase Flying Car traveling at max speed (200 km/h) in an O'neill cylinder like Remembrance, with an 8km diameter, it told me this. At the worst, the pilot would have to compensate what feels like 0.56g acceleration up or down when flying directly spinwards or anti-spinwards. That is, flying spinwards in what looks like a straight line would feel like flying in 1.56g, flying anti-spinwards in what looks like a straight line would feel like flying in .44g. The vehicle ought to be maneuverable enough to handle that. It should be easier than that in Progress, which is spun to simulate less than 1g.

So another advantage to spinning your hab for .5 G or so.

Any ideas about what the minimum G humans generally need to avoid health problems is?

'No language is justly studied merely as an aid to other purposes. It will in fact better serve other purposes, philological or historical, when it is studied for love, for itself.' --J.R.R. Tolkien

jaunty Harrison jaunty Harrison's picture
If the core book is to be

If the core book is to be believed, basic biomods should keep a morph healthy even if it spends decades in Zero G.

jKaiser jKaiser's picture
Jaunty's right, though in the

Jaunty's right, though in the event it comes up for flats or something...we don't know. There are a lot of theories, but we haven't been able to test low gravity effects long term. And NASA keeps getting its budget cut, so it might be a while till we get some kind of torus testing ground.