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Sophistry

An ion-powered aircraft with unique wing-flapping technology!

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Having just completed a manned return mission to Duna, I thought I'd do something a bit different to what I normally do, so I went into the Spaceplane hangar, and built something that was the result of half-hearted stabs at three different challenges:

1) I saw an ion-powered aircraft in one of Scott Manley's videos, and thought "huh, looks interesting"

2) I wanted a long-range aircraft to have a go at overflying some of the easter eggs on Kerbin

3) I wanted to have a very half-hearted stab at making an SSTO

I also wanted to build it so the thermo generators supplied just enough power that it could cruise and not expend any reserve energy: the only bit of this which succeeded :P

Behold the result, and tremble:

8E6B9852488270E0BA8C9FBF7E0857D2D9912426

9F5BDE405147364BCE76755E7C7182CEB6811FB9

Now, I'm not especially proud of this craft (not my finest moment at all, but I think it at least LOOKS kind of cool) and normally I wouldn't share it, except for the fact it seems to break physics: If you pull up hard by about 30 degrees, then drop the nose back to level at once (but don't let the craft drop altitude) you end the manoeuvre with extra altitude AND extra speed. The quantity of each you gain appears proportional to the speed you were going at when you started, so by chaining these moves together so far I've gained 40m/s and about 200m. Of course I begin bleeding off the speed if I break the combo, but it's a neat thing all the same.

The only thing I can think might be going on is that the wings may be doing something weird: they bend alarmingly when you do these climbs. Also there is sufficient power for the ion drives, so it's not that I'm getting extra exposure on solar panels or anything. So discuss, and help me explain why my mad invention breaks KSP's physics!

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You have discovered the infiniglide "bug"

Put enough control surfaces on something, and it can just flap them for extra speed. In the extreme case, you can even achieve escape velocity with no normal propulsion systems

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The Ksp twitter accounted posted this video the other day. http://bit.ly/1tJlbFw

The person in the video explains that aero dynamic control surfaces in Ksp generate lift when you move them, even though it takes nothing to power the control surface. So I'd bet that you have control surfaces which propel you when you pull up.

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The Ksp twitter accounted posted this video the other day. http://bit.ly/1tJlbFw

The person in the video explains that aero dynamic control surfaces in Ksp generate lift when you move them, even though it takes nothing to power the control surface. So I'd bet that you have control surfaces which propel you when you pull up.

Well that was a short mystery!

Watching that video, I suspect it's a bit of both the infiglider glitch, and the wings bending. Mostly the wings bending though: I spammed Q/E to flap the control surfaces without changing anything else, and the velocity change was nothing like what I'm seeing when I pull up.

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Cool design, looks like it could be the "Bat Jet" Design flaw; solar panels arranged directed to the east, or what ever direction it's pointed to, deviating from that and your out of power.

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The quantity of each you gain appears proportional to the speed you were going at when you started, so by chaining these moves together so far I've gained 40m/s and about 200m. Of course I begin bleeding off the speed if I break the combo, but it's a neat thing all the same.

Danny2462 did a video on that bug

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I actually once on a small aircraft, stalled the aircraft for an ejection landing (for science!) and to my suprise, it stalled, came back down...then came back up...? It basically floated up then floated down then floated up, then floated down. It was a jet-powered engine using the basic jet engines with a basic design, it's 12 degrees from pointing straight up. I even took a minute long video of it, which was promptly interrupted by a friend steam-messaging me.

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Come on, you only need 1 small probe core, and 2 wing surfaces. That easily reaches 800m/s

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Moved to ship exchange: the place to show-off one's ships.

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