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Ancient Chinese Winged Rocket/Flying bomb


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#1 Liang Jieming

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Posted 15 November 2004 - 10:35 PM

Did the Song dynasty understand the principles of flight? The lift of a modern aeroplane is based on the pressure differential caused by air flowing faster over the top surface of the wing than air flow underneath the wing. There are tantalising references to this in books on a type of "flying bomb".

Posted Image
This is from a military manual which shows wings on a bomb. I don't think they would put wings just to be ornamental. We all know they already had grenades which were thrown by hand. The wings must have provided additional benefit to the bomb by making it glide further perhaps?

Posted Image
This is taken from "Siege Engines of the Far East (II)" by Osprey Publishing which shows very well developed wings. So the question that begs to be asked is "Did the Song dynasty understand the principles of flight?"

Jieming :unsure:

#2 TMPikachu

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 05:52 PM

It seems like they did.

....

Did they have kites at that time? That could do with it
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#3 Liang Jieming

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 10:37 PM

It seems like they did.

....

Did they have kites at that time? That could do with it

<{POST_SNAPBACK}>

Ya they had kites and I think they came in all shapes and sizes. A dragonfly (very common favourite) kite would have been close enough to a airplane form to have prompted the leap from string-kite to glider.

The kite was invented by the Chinese. They also invented the
propellar and helicopter-like rotors and this is seen in ancient
children's toys. But and again, ancient text have pictures and
discriptions of kites propelled by "wheels". Manned kites were used
for military spotting but no one knows for sure if the wheels
mentioned on some of these manned kites were real propellars/rotors or
just some wheels attached to make the kites look like sky-chariots.
The "father" of modern helicopters actually went to China to study
the rotor blade used in children's toys and the ancient manuals. To bad
no one remembers that the Chinese invented the helicopter rotor.

What's interesting in the flying bomb descriptions is that they were
used like missiles and fired at enemy walls and stuff. They would
need sustained flight to be able to do that so some type of glider
wings would have done the trick. I suspect they probably copied the
wings of birds and insects without actually knowing how they worked in
theory.

There was also the double-stage missile dragon. That on the other hand was a true two stage rocket which lit one after another to extend the range of the missile
and was an anti-ship weapon, fired to skim a few feet above the water
to hit enemy ships. Scholars say the effectiveness of the missile is
mainly psychological though. It was supposed to have guiding fins to
stabilise it during flight.

Jieming

#4 Liang Jieming

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 10:39 PM

I'll try and post more pictures.

#5 Kulong

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 10:43 PM

The toy you mentioned is called 竹蜻蜓 zhuqingting (bamboo dragonfly)

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#6 Liang Jieming

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Posted 16 November 2004 - 11:00 PM

The toy you mentioned is called 竹蜻蜓 zhuqingting (bamboo dragonfly)

Ah Kulong thanks. Just what I was looking for.

#7 DaMo

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Posted 17 November 2004 - 03:21 AM

The Wright Bros. flew box kites in the process of engineering their aircraft.

The Chinese also invented a kind of model hot-air balloon, like the KongMing lantern.

The AIAA even mentioned it on their website:

http://www.aiaa.org/....cfm?pageid=435

The embryonic forms of modern aircraft-the kite, rocket, Kongming lamp, and bamboo dragonfly-were invented and created in ancient China and played an important role in the generation and development of aviation.


Too bad for China that these technologies remained embryonic long enough for the Western world to catch up and overtake. <_<
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#8 Liang Jieming

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Posted 11 May 2005 - 10:43 PM

museum reconstruction model of a ming dynasty flying bomb Posted Image

#9 Yun

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Posted 12 May 2005 - 07:28 AM

Very nice! Here's something I typed out on this question for another thread on siege weapons (note especially the sentence in bold):

It's the "flying crow with magic fire" from Stephen Turnbull's "Siege Weapons of the Far East, Volume 2" published by Opsrey, and this book has the irritating problem of giving neither references nor a bibliography. Here is Turnbull's quotation from an unknown source:

"The body is made of bamboo laths forming an elongated basketwork, in size and shape like a chicken, weighing over a katty (1.3lb). It has paper glued over it to strengthen it, and it is filled with explosive gunpowder. All is sealed up using more paper, with head and tail fixed on before and behind, and the two wings nailed firmly to both sides, so that it looks like a flying crow. Under each wing there are to rockets. The fourfold fuse, connected with the rockets, is put through a hole drilled on the back. When in use, this is lit first. The bird flies away more than 1,000 ft, and eventually falls to the ground, the explosive gunpowder in the cavity of the bird is [automatically] lit, and the flash can be seen miles away."

Ralph Sawyer, who is generally more reliable than Turnbull, also describes bird-shaped explosive devices in his "Fire and Water: The Art of Incendiary and Aquatic Warfare in China". He first cites the Taibai Yinjing and Dengtan Bijiu, Tang and Ming military manuals respectively, that mention the use of "fire birds" - real birds like sparrows with burning moxa-filled nuts tied to their necks or feet, which are supposed to fly into the fortress and set buildings alight. Fire chickens were also used by driving them into grass around the enemy camp.

Sawyer then cites the Ming military manual Wubei Zhi regarding "two artificial birds designed to float into enemy cities and encampments. Melding kite experience and explosive technology, they were produced in two dramatically different sizes. The smallest, probably about as large as a Western pigeon, were simply small spheres with wings intended to be launched into cities where they would burst, spraying a small quantity of burning material onto troops and structures, as well as blinding them with smoke. However, they might also be used against troop deployments, the range being limited only by the strength of the wind (and length of their fuses).

The second, called a "spiritual fire flying duck", was considerably larger and depended upon four rockets mounted beneath the wings, two to a side, for lift. The bird's core was an explosive sphere fashioned into an appropriately elongated shape that would detonate while over the enemy's encampment with a brilliant flash, igniting fires. Said to have a range of over 1,000 zhang (800 Western feet), it was considered invincible in riverine conflict because it could easily set enemy boats (and no doubt bamboo sails) afire. Whether it was ever fabricated and deployed requires further research, for it is an odd contraption more expressive of simplistic thinking - flight means wings, therefore imitate birds - than weapons development, especially since rockets and large rocket-powered incendiary arrows already existed."

I suspect that Turnbull's "flying crow with magic fire" (神火飞鸦) and Sawyer's "spiritual fire flying duck" (神火飞鸭) are one and the same thing, and one of these two writers (most likely Turnbull) has mistranslated a character since 鸦 and 鸭 both read "ya".
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#10 Liang Jieming

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Posted 15 May 2005 - 11:37 AM

Actually, it could very well be just a case of the bird wings being just elaborate rocket fins. Putting fins on rockets stablizes the flight kinda like the way a keel makes a boat stable in the water. So when the military engineers of the Ming/Song decided to put bird wings onto their rockets, they found the flew straighter, stayed aloft longer and went further simply because the rocket had fins which acted not only to make the rocket flight stable but also to act as gliders.

Anyways, whether or not this was actually used in battle or not, it does represent a first in terms of being the world's earliest rocket powered glider/craft!

#11 Liang Jieming

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Posted 02 June 2005 - 01:30 AM

Flying in Ancient China
(from ClearHarmony.net)

Ancient Chinese books recorded that between 770-475 BC, in the
Spring and Autumn period, Lu Ban created some flying machines.
This led Lu Ban to be acknowledged as the father of all craftsmanship.
In Mozi·Luwen, it reads “Lu Ban cut up some bamboo and wood and
made a wooden bird. It stayed in the sky for three days." Lu Ban also
made a big wooden kite in order to spy on enemies during war. In
Hongshu it reads, “Lu Ban made a wooden kite to spy on cities in the
State of Song." Besides, Lu Ban also made a passenger plane.
According to Youyang Zazu [A Collection of Essays from Youyang]
of the Tang Dynasty, Lu once worked in a place very far away from
his hometown. He missed his wife very much, so he made a wooden
bird. After being redesigned several times, the wooden kite could fly.
Lu Ban went home on the kite to meet his wife and returned to work
the next day.

There was also an interesting example in the West regarding a
wooden bird. In 1898, French Archeologist Lauret dug out a wooden
bird from an ancient Egyptian tomb in Saqqara. It was dated at
around 200 BC.

Because people had no concept of flying at that time, it was labelled
“wooden bird" and had gathered dust for more than 70 years in a
museum in Cairo. In 1969, Khalil Messiha, an Egyptian doctor who
likes making models, happened to see it. This "wooden bird" reminded
Messiha of his earlier experience of making model planes. He thought
it was not just a bird, since it had no claws, no feathers and no
horizontal tail feathers. Surprisingly, its tail was vertical, and it had an
airfoil cross-section, which qualified it to be a model airplane. He then
made a replica of the model. Although he didn't know how ancient
Egyptians flew it, when he threw the model, he found it could glide.
Further testing showed it was not only able to glide, but was also on
a scale similar to modern gliders.

Later, scientists found this model was very similar to modern propelled
gliders, which can fly in the air on their own. With a small engine, they
can fly at a speed of 45-65 miles per hour (or 72-105 kilometers per
hour), and can even carry considerable cargo. Since ancient Egyptian
artisans used to build models before constructing real objects, it is
possible that this kind of wooden bird was used for transportation, just
like the wooden kite that Lu Ban made.

Modern studies on flight started about 200 years ago. In 1903, after the
Wright Brothers successfully completed the first manned flight, aviation
theories began to be formulated. However, Lu Ban and ancient Egyptians
seemed to be aware of how to use such theories a very long time ago.
This circumstance gives cause to reconsider the history of cultural
development that modern humankind now believes. It is possible that
ancient people knew more than what we believe.

Published: Thursday 15th January 2004

#12 NWOG

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 04:36 AM

Posted Image
"Winged Rocket with traction trebuchet in the background"

I found this on the net. It happened to originate from this forum, and was posted January 2005 (http://www.chinahist...x.php/t2076.htm).

I was wondering what that flying creature really is? Has such a thing existed for real? If so, when was this flying machine created?

#13 Liang Jieming

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 04:39 AM

Go here. http://www.chinahist...?showtopic=1541

[Mod: Merged the two threads.]

#14 Mei Houwang

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Posted 17 July 2006 - 09:48 AM

It's just designed to make the rocket fly further with more accuracy(although the picture do make the "flying" device look heavier than it really is). Not a true flying machine, more like a paper airplane in the fact that it doesn't really "fly" as much as it drifts.

Edited by Anthrophobia, 17 July 2006 - 09:49 AM.


#15 designerboy01

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Posted 30 August 2006 - 02:22 AM

I saw a video and it showed this type of bird. It was filled with explosives and it works like a rocket fired at the enemy. The one they dug up looks exactly like the picture. They said it may have been the first type of rocket.




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