The Longest Ever Flight Was Over 64 Days In A Cessna 172

Often, when we think of long-endurance flights, our first thoughts jump to military operations. Big planes with highly-trained crew will fly for long periods, using air-to-air refuelling to stay aloft for extended periods.

However, many of the longest duration flights have been undertaken as entirely civilian operations. The longest of all happened to be undertaken by that most humble of aircraft, the Cessna 172. From December 1958 to February 1959, Bob Timm and John Cook set out to make history. The duo remained aloft for a full 64 days, 22 hours and 19 minutes, setting a record that stands to this day.

A Test of Endurance

One might expect that such an effort was undertaken to push the envelope or to strike new ground in the world of aerospace engineering. However, the real truth is that Bob Timm was a slot machine mechanic and former bomber pilot who worked at the Hacienda casino in Las Vegas. Proprietor Doc Bailey was always on the hunt for promotional ideas, and Timm pitched his boss that a record attempt in a plane bearing the casino’s branding would be a good way to go. Bailey agreed, and committed $100,000 to the effort. 

Modifications to prepare the aircraft for the stunt took the best part of a year. The pint-sized Cessna was fitted with a 95-gallon belly tank, paired with a electric pump that could transfer fuel to the main wing tanks as needed. Special plumbing was also added that would allow the engine oil and filters to be changed while the engine was still running.

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Fidget Spinner Gigantor

Had enough of fidget spinners yet? If you haven’t heard, a toy that consists of a bearing in the center of a multi-lobed flat structure that’s designed to spin around the bearing’s axis with little force has taken the world by storm. Usually, these devices are about 10cm in diameter or less. But, everything is bigger in Texas. So, naturally, students from the University of Texas at Dallas got to work making the largest fidget spinner in the world.

Clocking in at 150 pounds and 45 inches in diameter, this thing is undeniably huge. The structure is made out of what looks to be veneered plywood glued together to make a ~2.5in thick structure to put their bearings in. And, after washing their bearings with soapy water, the students get to work press fitting their 2.2in by 10.5in ball bearings into their painted wooden structure. Their video embedded below is an entertaining watch, it starts with a gag, but moves on the project afterwards.

Haven’t gotten enough fidget spinner news? Fear not, we’ve got you. [MakerStorage] has a fidget spinner designed to teach STEAM. Just in case manually spinning a fidget spinner is above you, we’ve got robots on the job. Want to see something more vibrant? How about POV on a fidget spinner?And if you’ll never get tired of fidget spinners, we’ve got a fidget spinner for that too.

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Electric Skateboard Reaches Neck-Breaking Speeds

[Mischo Erban], a Canadian speed-freak, just broke a world record on an electric skateboard. 59.55mph! That’s almost 100km/h.

We’ve covered a lot of electric skateboards over the years, as well as some commercial versions — like the Boosted Board, one of the few actual Kickstarter success stories — and of course, people have hacked them as well. But this board from Next Generation Vehicles (NGV), seems to have taken speed to the next level.

Made by a Slovenian tech startup, the board features direct drive motors built into custom wheels. The article is a bit light on details, but we imagine they must be a few kW each in order to reach those speeds. No mention of a range (we can’t imagine it’d be very far at those speeds), but it is just a prototype.

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University Attempts To Break 3D Printing World Record

lulz

LeTourneau University attempted to set a 3D printing Guinness World Record yesterday. They had 50 3D printers print the same thing at the same time. Impressive? Kind of, but not really.

LulzBot — our favorite 3D printer company — saw this and thought “that’s cute — we run over 50 printers a day on a normal basis!”. So just for lulz, they decided to film a little counter-record video featuring 109 LulzBot 3D printers running simultaneously.

To be honest, we kinda feel sorry for LeTourneau University — but it looks like LulzBot really takes the cake here. The university has a really cool policy for their engineering students though — all incoming freshmen students are required to build their own 3D printer for school. Whoa! To be honest it is a really cool way to force you to get out of your comfort zone and learn a bit about several different engineering disciplines.

To follow along the discussion and status of the record, a thread is going on over at 3Dprintboard.com. Stick around to see the video of LulzBot’s drool worthy server racks filled with identical printers.

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Land Speed Baby Carriage Record Set At 53 Mpg

53-mpg-baby-carriage

Let’s face it, you’ll never break the motorcycle land speed record without a stellar engineering team and some serious corporate sponsorship. But this build proves that individuals can still set other speed records. [Colin Furze] rode his motorized baby carriage over the 53 mile per hour mark to set a the world’s record. We were surprised to learn it only took him about one month and $750 to build the infant death machine.

The design appears to take a page from the commercial lawnmower industry. We say that because the driver rides along on a little tow dolly behind the carriage itself. All of the controls are mounted within easy reach of the T-bar steering mechanism. There are a couple of rockers for his thumbs which actuate the gas and brakes. Red push buttons just below the handlebars are used for up and down shifting with a third button used as a kill switch. The only thing missing from the write up is video footage of the actual 53mph run. We guess you’ll just have to take his word for it.

[via Dvice]

Wooden Bike Hopes To Set World Record, Not Catch Fire

splinterbike

[Michael Thompson] has been hard at work for well over six months building a bicycle made entirely of wood. The project started as a bet between two friends, and has become much more over the last few months. The SplinterBike, as it is being called, has been constructed solely from wooden parts, as well as glue and paint – but not much else.

The bike uses many different woods in its construction, each chosen to fulfill a particular purpose. The axles are made from hardwood ekki, while all of the gears, wheels, and frame parts were constructed from birch plywood. Oiled ironwood was chosen to serve as a replacement for metal bearings wherever moving parts came together due to its durability. Other parts were constructed with random scraps that [Michael] had sitting around in the shop, such as the handlebars which were cut from an old broomstick.

Now that the bike is complete, [Michael] and his friend [James] are gearing up to set a wooden bike land speed world record. It should be doable, as they have calculated that the bike should hit about 31 miles per hour provided [James] can pedal fast enough. A date for the record attempt has yet to be set, but keep an eye out – it’s likely to be an entertaining show.

[via Gizmodo]