Flying in the Face of Lord Kelvin

Back in 1895, there was a cranky, old Scottish physicist named Lord Kelvin (AKA William Thomson), who proclaimed, “Heavier-than-air flying machines are impossible.” Needless to say, he was monumentally wrong. Within a decade, the Wright brothers were zipping around Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, in a fixed-wing aircraft. And 66 years later, NASA blasted Neil Armstrong and crew to the moon. Now it’s Miami’s turn to make the lord feel like a fool.

This Saturday at 11 a.m., the Red Bull Flugtag will land at Bayfront Park for an afternoon of human-powered flight. Fueled by nothing more than a bong full of bad ideas and a bellyful of energy drink, 30 amateur aerospace engineers will send their homemade flying machines — think pizza-pie spaceships and unicycles with wings — speeding off a 30-foot flight deck. Some will soar, but most will nosedive ignobly into Biscayne Bay. Really, though, who cares? Failure is funnier, and Lord Kelvin is still wrong.
Sat., July 10, 11 a.m., 2010

 
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