How to build a flying machine

If you look CAREFULLY at the photos, you can see that there is a mirror running diagonally through the frame. The person who is flying is actually straddling the mirror. From most angles in front of the mirror, when the person lifts the 'front' leg, it appears that both legs go up. You do not need a broom (but it enhances the effect) and might just try to 'lift yourself' off of the ground by the back of your collar. Doing a Michael Jackson 'moon walk' with small steps also looks real strange.

The frame consists of two squares made from 1"PVC pipe cut into 30" pieces held vertically apart by 3/8"x36" threaded rods. The corners of the frame are standard 1"PVC elbows but they are not glued, they are drilled and pinned so the entire frame can be taken apart and stored easily. The 8 elbows are bolted to the threaded rod with nuts from both above and below to hold them in place after the first assembly and alignment. The mirror support is a wooden 1"x2" (the length of the diagonal) with a notch cut along its length to support the mirror. The mirror support is bolted to the threaded rods on each end and provides a rigid diagonal for the frame. The mirror is a standard 1/4" thick plastic mirror 24" high cut to fit the diagonal of the frame. The threaded rods are allowed to stick out above the frame so that they can be used as supports for the person entering (the PVC is a bit weak for that purpose).
This demonstration was originally seen as a demo at a Virginia Military Institute Summer Workshop hosted by Rae Carpenter and Dick Minnix many years ago and brought to SMILE by Peter Insley who, at that time, was at Whitney Young High School. Peter is currently teaching Physics at Colombia College in Chicago. Adaptions and alterations, including the use of PVC pipe to make the machine more portable and assembly quicker and easier were done by Roy Coleman from Morgan Park High School in Chicago.
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Last update Friday, November 14, 1997 at 22:45 CDT