TRIZ Puzzles and Examples: Part 1 - Plane Wing Walking



Key Words: flight, lifting, plane, resource.

When solving real technological problems, it’s important to find the field resources of the given situation. Now we’ll have a piece of training in looking for those resources. We’ll try to find out which resource assists the gymnast to perform a headstand on the plane wing.

THE SITUATION. The "Show Cat" (the converted crop-duster 450-horsepower biplane) climbs to altitude and then swoops back over the crowd. (The picture is almost right – add the second lower wing.)

Teresa Stokes stands on the lower wing, supporting herself on the wires – actually metal strips – that brace the wings to the fuselage. She wears no parachute. The Show Cat flies about 50 mph, so Teresa spices up the act by climbing onto the top wing. There, with the aid of a metal stand that’s fastened to structural points on the wing – and a stout safety belt – she performs a series of gymnastics, including a headstand and hanging upside down by one knee.

THE PROBLEM. The paradox is that up to Teresa -- working out new gymnastic routines on the wing with the plane parked in the hangar is actually more difficult than in flight performing, because there is no assist from the certain field.

By the way, she doesn’t wear NASA magnetic boots. She wears thin-soled sneakers.

We are not speaking of centrifugal force. Surely, in roll maneuvers (the plane rolling) where she is not strapped in, centrifugal force keeps her glued to the wing. But we are speaking now of another force assisting her, lifting her body up against the steel platform for her headstand. And this force she doesn’t have on earth! That’s our question!


Jacob Skir