2452: Aviation Firsts

Explain xkcd: It's 'cause you're dumb.
Revision as of 02:31, 20 April 2021 by (talk) (Events referenced: more)
Jump to: navigation, search
Aviation Firsts
Mile High Club membership [✓] [ ] Discovery of parts of Amelia Earhart's skeleton [ ] [ ] Mid-flight incident that results in safe landing on the Hudson River [✓] [ ]
Title text: Mile High Club membership [✓] [ ] Discovery of parts of Amelia Earhart's skeleton [ ] [ ] Mid-flight incident that results in safe landing on the Hudson River [✓] [ ]


Ambox notice.png This explanation may be incomplete or incorrect: Created by DRONE ON MARS. Put a table detailing all the event of the achievement checklist with an Earth and Mars column. Do NOT delete this tag too soon.
If you can address this issue, please edit the page! Thanks.

This comic is made in light of recent events of the Ingenuity probe's first flight on Mars. Now that Ingenuity has completed its first flight, it marks the first controlled powered flight on Mars. The previous categories were completed by the first space probes to reach and then land on Mars, while the remaining have only been completed on Earth, and grow steadily bizarre, extending to the title text.

Events referenced

  • Development of the Hughes H-4 Hercules, a wooden airplane, which flew (once) in 1947
  • The 1971 hijacking of Northwest Orient Airlines flight 305 by a man who bought a ticket under the pseudonym "Dan Cooper" (but popularly known as D. B. Cooper). Cooper was given a $200,000 ransom and then he jumped out of the plane and was never found.

The title text refers to the following:

  • The mile high club is a slang term which refers to having sex while onboard an airplane.
  • Amelia Earhart was a female aviator who went missing in 1937 while attempting a circumnavigation flight and has never been found.
  • The Miracle on the Hudson was a 2009 incident in which a plane struck a flock of birds shortly after takeoff and lost both its engines. Captain Sully Sullenberger successfully landed the plane in the Hudson River (in New York) with minimal injuries to the passengers onboard.


Ambox notice.png This transcript is incomplete. Please help editing it! Thanks.

comment.png add a comment! ⋅ comment.png add a topic (use sparingly)! ⋅ Icons-mini-action refresh blue.gif refresh comments!


Someone got into editing just as I thought I'd start, so I'll leave it in case there's population of explanation afoot. But I'm waiting for both uncontrolled powered flight (I don't mean retrothrusted landing procedure) and controlled unpowered flight (ditto, not for parachute descents, at least until they make the subsonic ones full parasails). 01:56, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

Uncontrolled powered flight has caused many plane crashes over the years. Controlled unpowered flight is how every glider, including the Space Shuttles when returning from space, "fly" and land. Nutster (talk) 17:24, 23 September 2022 (UTC)

Is there a well-defined distinction between circumnavigation and orbit? 04:13, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

given that the Wikipedia entry for “circumnavigation” includes a section for orbital circumnavigation, and that there exists a book with the title “Round About the Earth: circumnavigation from Magellan to Orbit” I think that there is not a well-defined distinction. Intuition is that circumnavigations could be split into two disjoint sets, those done at orbital speed, and those done slower, and that would provide a distinction most could agree with, but I found nothing official to support such a bifurcation. 04:35, 20 April 2021 (UTC)
I'd instinctively suggest that a true circumnavigation would need to be bookended by touching the surface at the same point (or trivially near - different dock of the same port, hard-landed on a companion runway to that taken off from), or beyond and over its starting track before it finishes (like obviously hard to 'navigate' circumnavigating balloons - and not allowed to be too circumpolar). If a future orbit-inserted Mars-flier eventually 'lands' beyond the point it first started to achieve level flight below Mars's equivalent Karmen-line, having travelled all round the planet in the interim, I might accept that as a special case.
So far nothing (but Ingenuity) has taken off from Mars, never mind (ditto) landed again, so all the orbiters clearly cannot be counted by this metric, and no rover has driven far enough to have attempted a surface-bound circumnavigation. A long-endurance rover with an advanced version of Ingy for look-ahead might jointly earn the benchmark as first surface and first (punctuated) flown circumnavigations.
A suborbital semi-ballistic non-stip circumnavigation might be achievable while trying out sample-return technology (though wouldn't be useful, probably only a failure mode of an orbital insertion attempt).
A surface-launched 'Martian weather balloon' might actually be the first success, though. It might be one designed to touch down, at least daily, for opportunistic sampling, but at the the risk of damage due to dragging/snagging. Or a non-stop trip, until it cannot maintain height/bumps into Olympus Mons. The engineering risks of a free-drifting balloon (capable of Martian flight) are probably being looked at by several teams right now for a future lander payload. 12:06, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

where in the comic is the mile high club referenced???? 13:35, 20 April 2021 (UTC)Bumpf

In the title text, along eith Amelia Earhart and the Hudson River. Barmar (talk) 14:19, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

In my new favorite sci-fi series, DB Cooper, who got to know the local bigfoot tribe as a kid, and who is called in adulthood Falls-From-Sky, moves to the planet the sasquatch came from to live with the Starfoot and grow garlic with his grandson Charlie. Jerry Boyd's Bob & Nikki series. And their story is a *subplot*.Seebert (talk) 12:57, 20 April 2021 (UTC)

Flight, Landing and Controlled Landing were variously achieved by some or all of the prior landers, depending upon your definition of flight. I would argue that not all landers achieved a controlled landing. I recall a couple that did not do enough aerobraking and ended up doing too much lithobraking instead and were not functional afterwards. Should that all remain in the sentence? Nutster (talk) 02:06, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

"variously achieved by some or all" means that different landers achieved different subsets. The ones you recall achieved flight (from Earth to Mars) and (crash) landing, but not controlled landing. Barmar (talk) 03:51, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

Hmmm... Reading about how the explanation says "the notion of them [skeletal remains of Amelia Earhart] somehow ending up on the surface of Mars is practically impossible outside the remit of certain conspiracy theories." I immediately had to think on https://what-if.xkcd.com/53/ and https://what-if.xkcd.com/54/ Elektrizikekswerk (talk) 08:33, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

Thinking about Amelia - her remains were supposedly found, dismissed, and lost. So really, there should be a tick on the Earth side there too Baldrickk (talk) 09:41, 22 April 2021 (UTC)

Adding a table to organize everything might be a good idea because right now the description is a bit confusing. -- 13:21, 21 April 2021 (UTC)

What does a "loop" mean in this context? Does it just refer to a satellite orbit? A definition on the page would help, I think. Aepokk (talk) 01:32, 18 May 2021 (UTC)