Ground Effect Safari

DSCN7728S:  Everyone knows that ground effect is the phenomenon that affects how an airplane maneuvers when it is within a wingspan of Earth’s surface.  Pelicans, pilots… everyone… Right?

A: If that were true, then everything would be easier and low-flying.  Flying in ground effect is aerodynamically advantageous.  Because there is less drag, and the pattern of airflow is different around the wingtips in that space so close to the water or land than if it were higher,  wouldn’t we all be doing this?

F: Why do we put so much power into making things harder than they need to be?  Why can’t we all just take a lesson from nature and fly low?  And, why, WHY do we go out of our way to be so inefficient?

A:  I suppose there are other things to consider.  Not all things are equal, including the forces of flight and the load we each carry.  There are obstacles like buildings and roads on land, such a drag…  But on water, there is less to obscure the path.  Maybe the answer to all of this is water.  Yes, water.

R:  So things go a little smoother on water, most days.  But my life has been on land.  I’ve got it all.  Drag, thrust, lift, weight…  I recently had an epiphany, a reminder that only time on the water can do.  Nothing lasts forever, and with less weight comes greater lift.

I: I’m amazed.  Overwhelmed.  The disturbance of air beneath me, so close to the surface causing me to float, capable of lifting me off with less speed.  When, oh when, will I get to fly?

Special Note: In honor of all I’ve learned about sailing recently, the above Safari is only 270 words.  The wind and the words in the dead zone, or the 90 degrees directly in front of the boat or the person, do not favor travel.  Those 90 words have been reserved for this, my no-sail zone.  If I make a wrong move in this zone, I could get in irons.  I am forced to zig zag along, tack and trim, and make slow progress as though hiking.  Until then, I luff.

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