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Mountain lake landing challenge


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The challenge: land a seaplane in this lake (30 degrees 29' 42" N, 42 degrees 27' 11" W). The craft needs to land in flyable condition, though no points lost for a few random parts. (I seem to lose a winglet almost every time I land in the water). Bonus if you can fly out again (I have not managed it.)  Standard jet engines only, no VTOL engines.  Any creative ideas outside those parameters acceptable, though really this is about good seaplane design and good piloting.  The closer you can get to that ideal, the better.  

Thank goodness for the save button. This took a lot of tries. I figured I was making progress when--after repeated total destruction--I managed an intact cockpit, even if the rest of the vessel was still fragments.

I'm really proud of my little flying wing. It is the first really good aircraft I have built...and the simplest.  I imagine that is not coincidence.

 

NOTE: This challenge has no expiry date. If this forum is still here in 2060 and you feel like giving it a go, do so!  I will be a happy nonagenarian knowing my challenge is still relevant.

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Edited by Klapaucius
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3 hours ago, Vexillar said:

I guess parachutes should be disallowed also?

Yes. But, without giving away how I manged it, I will say use whatever features the engine offers. My landing certainly was not pretty nor orthodox, but I landed intact (except for that winglet) without chutes or weirdly placed engines.

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3 hours ago, Vexillar said:

I guess parachutes should be disallowed also?

If you have to use parachutes, you would not be able to takeoff anyway...

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Hearing rumours of rare mountainous splashed-science, mission controllers hastily dispatched Jeb with all the experiments they could gather! 

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After a continent spanning detour (due to a missing decimal point when setting the custom waypoint) Jeb arrives and spots his target

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A fancy barrel roll was used to enter into the extremely steep decent required!

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To maximise the landing area Jeb hugs the cliff face, with flaps deployed and reverse thrust engaged to slow the plummet descent...

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Maintaining ~100m/s as the water looms up allows enough air over the control surfaces to pull up sharply, splashing down safely with metres to spare!

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At this stage Jeb learns a terrible truth: the so-called mountain lake is sadly only a coastal biome. Seems we could have left the science at home!

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Takeoff is achieved at a comfortable 25m/s thanks to lots of wing area set at a generous 5° AOA (thanks to feedback from @neistridlar in the regional jet challenge) 

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Climbing out was easier than getting in, with the single wheesley* proving more than enough thrust to climb vertically.

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Edited by Blasty McBlastblast
found traces of red hair & hand-me-down robes...
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I managed to figure out a way to fly out, but I had to go back and do a do over since I realized my problem was I had too much fuel and was too heavy.  (I used Mission Builder to save me having to fly all the way there again.)  I think I will be downloading that fuel dumping mod :D

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2 minutes ago, Blasty McBlastblast said:

Climbing out was easier than getting in, with the single weasley proving more than enough thrust to climb vertically.

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The Wheesley (Weasley is Ron:D) is the key. I had to reverse thrust as well on the descent, only my landing was much less graceful than yours. Basically a steep angle dive with the thrust reverser on full, I just managed to stop, pretty much nose diving in.  The stall speed of my flying wing is only about 30 metres per second, but I just could not bleed off enough speed and get my rather long wings horizontal before clipping the water without it.  It's a great little engine.

I'd be keen to see if anyone manages it without thrust reversing.

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A little harder than I thought, had to build a plane for the occasion even though I thought I'd be able to land an existing one in there. The original didn't have enough reverse thrust and the flap authority didn't slow me down enough, but with a new plane, with insane flaps and a bigger engine, but similar in design to the original I managed after a couple of attempts (had to get the thrust right and pull up at the right time, much later than I originally thought). Fun little challenge!

 

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1 hour ago, Klapaucius said:

@hoioh  

 

That was an impressive landing, and that's a great little plane.   What parts are those that allow you to have multiple hinges in your wing? Is that a MOD or just something very clever I am not aware of?

It's from a mod, I'd have to check which one, but I'm guessing it's either from KAX or from Airplane plus. These particular flaps also reduce takeoff speed because they actualy change the airflow around the wing (or more likely around themselves to compensate for the lack of advanced aero in KSP) they're great!

48 minutes ago, linuxgurugamer said:

Absolutely insane landing and takeoff

Thanks! Couldn't do it without those flaps!

For the takeoff by the way, the trick is to have a TWR above 1 at surface level, allows you to just go straight up.

As with all good aircraft: you will want to be able to turn upwards rather quickly, so you need to be able to do so. The trick is to move the hinging part forward as much as possible. On land this means moving your landing gear so it's just behind your center of gravity and on water you will want pontoons placed such that you can drop the tail without hitting the water

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Well, I managed to take off using the Mission Builder, but I felt bad stranding my Kerbal in the lake (even if, technically, I had already killed him 15 times over trying to land successfully in it).  But at least in this timeline, he survived.

At first I tried nudging the plane up against the mountain and turning on the engines full blast. I figured I could dump some fuel that way and get my weight down. Unfortunately, if you are at a dead stop, even if your engines are running flat out, the game switches timwarp mode. I found myself in the very accelerated timewarp, and my engine was shut down as soon as I engaged it.  I wasted 80 days very quickly!

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So, I decided to walk out:

 

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I actually managed to plant a flag on the slope, but it slid down into the water :-(

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It was a very impressive climb, but I still was not happy with this. So, I reverted back and tried again.  This time, I backed the plane up a very short way-just enough to get some movement but not enough to destroy the aircraft, hit full throttle and hit timewarp before the plane stopped.  That seemed to keep it on 4X warp.  I then went and did some other work, and voila, about half an hour later in Earth time I had dumped enough fuel to try taking off again.

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Success!

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And then I crash landed!  You need to bring this flying wing in very slowly (or it bounces and does bad things), but I bled off too much speed too early and stalled.

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At least he survived, but I confess I reset the timeline and tried once more. This time everything worked. 

 

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Felt like goofing around for a bit last night.  Managed to pull this one off, just for giggles, using my mini-acrobat aircraft design.  Only mod used is KerbalFoundries for the ALG parts.

Didn't realize exactly how small and deeply embedded that lake is.  Took a few tries to figure out the proper approach.  In the end I had to use the split elevons as airbrakes (screenshot 2), but even that wasn't enough as this craft needed <30ms for a safe splashdown.  Also, no thrust reverse available on this one...

There wasn't enough room to dive in, pull up, and bleed of speed for the touchdown with this craft design, so I had to resort to some extreme measures.  Fly at the wall (inverted), put the craft into a vertical dive from ~50m with a slight angle away from the wall, yaw 90' to the right (so it stalled out into a side-first fall), and then rolled 90' to level flight position, essentially using the wings as a flat plate for increased drag to allow for a ~25ms belly flop.  Stalling was needed to keep the aerodynamic forces low enough for the reaction wheel to hold the attitude, but once stalled (and horizontal velocity is kept minimal), the reaction wheels can hold a level attitude.

Wish I could have gotten a few more images of the landing sequence, but my fingers were a bit busy with the actual landing :)

Approach to the canyon:

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Getting closer to the lake:

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Touchdown (and experimenting with flap orientation for takeoff):

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And take-off (just barely cleared the mountainside in time to go vertical...):

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Bonus pics of the craft..

Spoiler

VTOL styled landing on VAB roof..

Slowly descend with nose pointed up.  ~5m above touchdown, kill throttle and pitch nose downard.

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This sounds like fun, I'll give it a try...

One question though, what defines as a seaplane? Can I take one of my aircrafts which wasn't build to land on water but it does?

Edited by funk
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1 hour ago, funk said:

This sounds like fun, I'll give it a try...

One question though, what defines as a seaplane? Can I take one of my aircrafts which wasn't build to land on water but it does?

Did you see the flying wing @Klapaucius made? If that qualifies as a seaplane, anything goes. Just keep it in one piece on landing in the water basically :wink:

From personal experience (watch my video) I can tell that you can't just land anything in that cavernous lake, it really is very steep getting in and I built this craft for this specific purpose because I couldn't manage to land the original craft that steeply. You can test the capabilities of your craft by landing vertically down with a pitch up maneuver in the last 50m before the water if you want to know if your craft can handle it

Good luck!

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@hoioh Thx for your reply, I've seen your clip and really enjoyed it. The steep diving was awesome.

I've tested two crafts already and both made it in one piece after some crashing... One is even ment to land on water. It's all about how you approach that lake. I'll make a video after I've updated the craft with new parts.

Edited by funk
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16 hours ago, hoioh said:

Did you see the flying wing @Klapaucius made? If that qualifies as a seaplane, anything goes. Just keep it in one piece on landing in the water basically :wink:

From personal experience (watch my video) I can tell that you can't just land anything in that cavernous lake, it really is very steep getting in and I built this craft for this specific purpose because I couldn't manage to land the original craft that steeply. You can test the capabilities of your craft by landing vertically down with a pitch up maneuver in the last 50m before the water if you want to know if your craft can handle it

Good luck!

On 5/20/2018 at 8:32 AM, Shadowmage said:

 

I love my little seaplane. I actually built it as a seaplane first and then discovered the lake exploring up the river. And having tried and failed building a few seaplanes before, I realized getting something to get off the water is not as easy as I thought.

It's up on KerbalX if you want to play around with it.

 

What defines a seaplane?  Anything that can take off and land on water. Takeoff needs to be horizontal--no VTOL or angled engines. Thrust reverse is fine for landing, though Kudos to @Shadowmage for managing it without.

Edited by Klapaucius
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As promised, here my attempt(s):

The landing of the first aircraft had to be more gentle. The second one could take a hit, but lift-off was most probably only possible because of low fuel load.

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6 hours ago, funk said:

As promised, here my attempt(s):

-- Snip --

The landing of the first aircraft had to be more gentle. The second one could take a hit, but lift-off was most probably only possible because of low fuel load.

Love the landing style, circling into the hole like that! A very cever maneuver if your plane can turn quick enough

Also really like the ekranoplan design of plane number 2! Where did you get that engine though?

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27 minutes ago, hoioh said:

Love the landing style, circling into the hole like that! A very cever maneuver if your plane can turn quick enough

Also really like the ekranoplan design of plane number 2! Where did you get that engine though?

Thx, my first thought was that I would use the fighter style plane, go into a flat spin and recover it before it hits the ground. Turned out to be way easier.

Engine? Its a stock fake of a prop. Just used some junos... the craft is on kerbalx if you want to have a look . It was ment to be a replica therefore function follows form.

Edited by funk
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If you're into building planes maybe you @hoiohor anyone else can explain to me why all the wheels are going bonkers while braking without SAS activated. I cannot remember when it was that hard to keep the craft straight.

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