Friday, January 8, 2010

Twas’ the flight after Christmas

If you haven’t got rid of that Christmas tree gathering dust, airborne pollutants, root rot and exponentially increasing risk of combustion in your living room, two enterprising “scientists” may have hit on a solution for you (especially if you happen to live in an unincorporated area).

The two amateur aeronautic engineers posted it all on YouTube on Jan. 1, revisiting a practice that YouTube has memorialized for two or three years now. This year’s aerodynamic duo retrofit a fading Christmas tree with 32 rocket motors wired in parallel with individual igniters and powered by a car battery. “The math was nothing exciting,” one says. “It was just a little differential calculus.”

After the engines are in, some subtle tweaking of the tree’s natural shape, and the countdown ... the green bird is gloriously aloft for all of three seconds, something marvelous to behold before it veers south and spears the ground, 75 nautical feet downrange.

Here’s to their grand and noble effort, one of many in recent times. Maybe next year every one refines their aerodynamics, boost the engines and does it on the other end of the holiday season. Think of it: a fully decked-out, trimmed Christmas tree with battery-powered lights in a sweet suborbital arc through the night sky. ...

Multiplied. Squared. One launch repeated safely in open spaces across America. Signal flares for Santa from coast to coast.

And to all a good flight.

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