Phenomena

Flying on Soap Films?

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YouTube channel Viral Video Lab has two videos showing 3D-printed gliders flying on wings formed from soap films. It’s a neat idea for a toy aircraft, though obviously not practical. But are the videos real? The channel features plenty of obviously fake concepts, like perpetual motion machines, and explicitly states in its About page that “videos shown on the channel may contain CGI effects.” They’re clearly not strangers to stretching the truth.

Sadly, I don’t have the means to properly test the concept, but it at least seems plausible (although there are some flight sequences in the videos themselves that I don’t think are totally real). There are bubble solutions out there capable of making quite giant, long-lasting bubbles, though they are more complicated than the simple soap and water solution suggested in the video. And having essentially flat wings doesn’t preclude gliding, as long as you have a positive angle of attack. I’d be interested to see if someone with a 3D-printer can recreate the effect. Let me know if you give it a try! (Video credit: Viral Video Lab; via Gizmodo)

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