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Video: Real life X-wing fighter explodes on takeoff

Back in February, The Trivia Geek took a lot of crap from Star Wars fans when he questioned the usefulness of X-wing fighters' x-wings. Well, if the travails of the Polecat Aerospace club--and the video of their grand scale x-wing flight experiment--are any reliable indication, his lack of confidence has been vindicated. In the real world, those wings sheer right off.

Back in February, I took a lot of crap from Star Wars fans when I questioned the usefulness of X-wing fighters' x-wings. Well, if the travails of the Polecat Aerospace club--and the video of their grand scale x-wing flight experiment--are any reliable indication, my lack of confidence has been vindicated. In the real world, those wings shear right off. (Found via SciFi Scanner.)

What you see here is perhaps the greatest model rocket project ever undertaken in the name of fanboy pseudoscience. (Found via SFSignal.) Polecat Aerospace built a 21-foot reproduction (about one-half scale) of an X-wing and designed it to fly--rocket style--with the aid of four M-class solid rocket engines. It even had radio-controlled pivot wings and dome-spinning R2-D2. And fly it did--for about 10 seconds, before the whole laser-cut birch wood-and-steel design disintegrated and crashed into the desert (in California, not Tatooine).

They probably should have tried an A-wing starfighter instead. At least it looks like it incorporates some form of blended-wing lifting body. I'm not saying it would have made the Kessel Run in 12 parsecs, but at least it might have survived liftoff.

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Jay Garmon has a vast and terrifying knowledge of all things obscure, obtuse, and irrelevant. One day, he hopes to write science fiction, but for now he'll settle for something stranger -- amusing and abusing IT pros. Read his full profile. You can a...

23 comments
Warinpiece
Warinpiece

Great model. But when you really look into it, the "X-Wing" only opens it's wings when it's in space. In a planets atmosphere, the wings are closed. The wings are opened when in space to give more flexibility of turns in the void of space. War

SaintGeorge
SaintGeorge

Why not a papier mach?? Nimitz aircraft carrier? Cardboard Abraham tanks?

djbeall@yahoo.com
djbeall@yahoo.com

of course it would not take off, you need to lock those babies together! :)

rdeaver
rdeaver

Self-described geeks who are ignorant of basic dynamics and strength of materials is way depressing. The X-wing configuration was never meant for atmospheric flight. It was strictly a "weapons free" configuration for space-based combat, presumably to provide a broader base for its targeting sensor array. Nor was the craft designed for a ballistic launch; it was a VTOL craft meant to transition smoothly from atmospheric to orbital flight, and vice versa. Of *course* the wings would shear off if you launched it straight up, full throttle, and open in atmo! Especially aluminum and birchwood ones! Duh! This experiment proves nothing except that NCLB didn't work.

shryko
shryko

the X-Wing, for flight only? has the more areodynamic flight mode, with the closed wings... they should've gone for that. not to mention, a real X-wing, while matching rockets for its engines, would be PURE METAL... wood has been proven in world war 2 to not really stand up to the stress of jet engines, let alone rocket engines.

Fimbulwinter
Fimbulwinter

The California desert is the orginal Tatooine.

JRestrep
JRestrep

Remember that you have to route all power to shields when entering the atmosphere and close the wings.

djamieson
djamieson

The thing didn't explode so much as it fell apart. This was likely due to the poor engineering of the unit. It was a cool model, but plywood and rocket fuel just don't mix.

The Scummy One
The Scummy One

Do you mean an Abrams Tank? Not sure what Abraham has to do with tanks, is it a water heater or something?

Media-Ted@Juno.com
Media-Ted@Juno.com

... until they are well clear of atmosphere. #2, The most important item: the cables which - in the real world - provide the "floating" feature, ... until the craft is safely transported into the "Green Room", where special effects take over. Of course, we still need the craft in a static position above earth (seemingly non-moving) from which to suspend the cable(s) so the fighter (and its passenger) are not ripped to pieces with the snap of a moving cable. Attaching a cable to a moving object hung from space also indicates a rather narrow "window" for clicking and could injure both the workmen placed to the system to grab and guide the cable ends to their receptacle, as well as damage to homes, pedestrians, livestock, and other buildings and vehicles in the cable's path. Now I'm confused.

Marty-7
Marty-7

I always thought a parsec was a unit of length?

Scaramoosh
Scaramoosh

Ok, it doesn't look like it did this time but place plywood in an oxygen rich atmosphere and supply a source of ignition and you've got a real fire. That reminds me of that video of a guy lighting a barbecue with liquid oxygen! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sab2Ltm1WcM

vince
vince

I did not really see an explosion. I saw a bit of fire at the end, but that would probably be due to the whole burning rocket fuel, combustible material thing going on. I dunno, call me crazy. And wood does not hold structurally like any sort of metal. Especially light woods. In short, I do not see how this video could possibly support the theory that an X-Wing would make a poor real life craft.

dennis.fisher
dennis.fisher

The explanation I heard was that it was the fine tuning of the computer system on the Millenium Falcon that allowed it to make the Kessel run in a very short distance through hyperspace (12 parsecs) and thus, very fast. Presumably not so finely tuned computers computed a longer route around obsticals and thus the trip took longer.

da philster
da philster

Looks like it could have used a bit more duct tape.............

nighthawk808
nighthawk808

You're missing the first lines of the scripts for all Star Wars movies. Since it's a macro, the preprocessor takes care of it and you never have to see them. They are: #define STAR_WARS_PHYSICS 0 #define SCIENCE_JARGON rand()%42

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

not quite the same as a PARSEC is it ??? Eh ??

OldER Mycroft
OldER Mycroft

par?sec (p?r?sek?), n. Astron. a unit of distance equal to that required to cause a heliocentric parallax of one second of an arc, equivalent to 206,265 times the distance from the earth to the sun, or 3.26 light-years. [1910?15; PAR(ALLAX) + SEC(OND)squared] OK ?

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