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back to article Supersonic fighters could snuff out hurricanes

A Russian professor at an Ohio university has applied to patent a method for snuffing out hurricanes by flying jet fighters around the eye of the storm at supersonic speeds. Professor Arkadii Leonov and his collaborator Atanas Gagov, both of Akron Uni, actually filed their patent application "Hurricane Suppression by Supersonic …

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Coat

I'm So Dizzy,

My head is spinning!!

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Anonymous Coward

As good a reason as any

to bring concorde out of retirement

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Now if only...

...someone had built a supersonic airliner that could supercruise for hours on end without needing an afterburner...

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Happy

RE: ‘Circling supersonic fighters could snuff out hurricanes’

"This does seem likely to mean that fuel endurance would be an issue."

A suitable job for Concord perhaps? Time to take them out of mothballs and sell them to the septics...

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Boffin

Why not write a paper?

Answer: Because no scientific journal would ever print such a daft idea.

So writing a patent not only publicises thier storm-busting idea, but also legally protects it as well. Clever boffins.

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Boffin

Fuel problem

Couldn't they attach extra tanks to the wings where the (presumably unused) missiles would be sat normally?

Alternatively, couldn't they fire a barrage of explosives into the hurricane, detonating them throughout its volume, disrupting its flow of air and doing the same sort of thing?

Or construct a supersonic jet / UAV designed to do this? Given the cost of hurricane damage somewhere like the Gulf of Mexico this could actually be financially viable in some locations.

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Anonymous Coward

wot no darpa

are they looking for some funding from darpa? looks like something that clearly goes under jurisdiction of the chief boffinry labs.

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Stop

But it's not even new...

The USPTO have searched it already (see the ISR) and identified some very relevant prior art:

http://web.archive.org/web/20060619094457/http://www.mb-soft.com/public/hurrican.html

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Er..

Phantom IIs are pretty old.. would one stand up to a hurricane? Let alone the Eye/Tempset interface. Wouldn't all the water in the air mess up the engines?

Forget bird-strikes.

FISH-STRIKES.

Or TRAWLER-STRIKES if an unfortunate boat got caught up in it all..

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Paris Hilton

Would a big fast bomber do?

I'll assume that a large aircraft capable of the necessary fuel loads and speeds would do.

Rockwell B1?

F-111?

Time to de-mothball those Concordes, just so long as they don't make a habit of spectacularly burning fuel. And then crashing. Or perhaps we could ask the Russians to dust off some TSR-2 plan copies for us. We won't have any.

Paris? Her legs operate on the swing wing model.

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K
Bronze badge
IT Angle

well

Time to bring Concorde out of retirement?

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Boffin

constant acceleration

given my limited understanding of angular momentum, the fact the jets would need to fly in a circle would mean they need to be undergoing constant acceleration - thus burning even more fuel than standard supersonic "cruise", ie, in a straight line.

I'm skeptical though as I'm pretty sure this would already have been thought of, it's not rocket science ;)

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Unhappy

Will he pilot it?

I know I wouldn't!!!

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Coat

But what about Spitfires then?

Boom boom...

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while not wishing to be bound to any one theory

I guess that means that they don't really know whether or how it'd work, or even if it's a totally stupid idea - but on the off chance it works, give us money. Patent trolling at its finest.

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Unhappy

After the Sandys 57's white paper ...

This sounds like a job for missiles!

Or a TRS2, if we had any :-(

off to sulk..

ttfn

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er

at what point does it say that they need to circle.

it sounds to me like the sonic boom is use to dissipate the tornado, not some crazy superman-turning-back-time fiasco

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Anonymous Coward

patent?

I'm not sure how you can patent flying in a circle.....

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Boffin

another flaw?

turning such a tight circle at supersonic speeds? what about stress on the airframe and pilot?!

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Stop

Tampering with nature?

Can any El Reg readers out there confirm whether nor not hurricanes are part of the natural cycle of things, and therefore, despite carnage on the ground, are a force for good? If so, then surely we should leave them alone. If American houses were constructed to the same level of the bricks and mortar buildings here in the rugged UK, perhaps they would suffer less damage? Most of the buildings damaged beyond repair in the States when hurricanes hit appear to be wooden, metal paneled or mobile homes. Brick / concrete buildings appear to remain standing - even in the strongest hurricanes. Modern day early warning systems appear to work wonders too. I vote, leave nature alone and apply some human common sense instead.

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Where would the energy that the tornado would have used go?

That's it really...

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Jim
Silver badge

energy

And all the energy in the hurricane, where does that go then ? That wind has gotta blow somewhere. Even if it works, this plan will just disperse the storm, not snuff it out. Destruction to life and property might not be lessened.

Bring it on, though, if it gets Concordski whirling around.

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Stop

Patent Trolls?

Another case of patenting an idea, but nothing to back it up.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Fuel problem

I do think that there is a fighter which can do this at present even for the few that can go supersonic without jetisonning the extra fuel tanks.

There is however a number of bombers (old and new) that can perform this task with flying colours: the now retired everywhere but RAAF F111, the old Tu-22, Tu-22M should all be able to do this. They have both the endurance and the turn radius to remain within the storm eye and follow the suggested trajectory.

So if the idea has some merit, the kit to test it probably be made available. Now that is one form of Russian-Venezuelan and Russian-Cuban military cooperation that will be entertaining to watch (and the Americans pulling their hair for retiring all F111 prematurely).

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Joke

hmm...

Typhoons Vs. typhoon - sounds like a blue-on-blue scenario. And engineered by boffins of the Red Menace no less... Cold wars back on chaps! Back to the bunker!

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Stop

Huh?

"It's all very odd"

You ain't just whistlin' Dixie there Bubba !

So the US patent office may possibly grant a patent, not for a device, not even for a set of software instructions but..... an aircraft navigational route ?

Also, why did they give a 1950's aircraft as an example?

I can see a boom snuffing out a candle, but a hurricane?

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Boffin

Post-Perestroikal genius

How many white Russians does it take to switch off a tornado?

- About five glasses.

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Anonymous Coward

Nuke 'em

Better just to 'nuke the hurrican. That'll learn it.

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Anonymous Coward

hmm.

Surely, even if this does disrupt the hurricane, the underlying weather conditions will remain -- thus I might be tempted to hazard a guess that a new hurricane would form shortly thereafter.

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Tom
Silver badge

I nominate Arkadii Leonov and Atanas Gagov

to be on the first plane used to test the theory.

Better still if they are the only ones on the plane.

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Anonymous Coward

Possible side effects...

From the paper mentioned in an earlier comment here,

"All that energy that is in the warm ocean waters that dynamically needs to be released (by a hurricane) would still be there in the ocean, so eliminating most of the larger hurricanes might result in hordes of "little" cyclones/hurricanes/waterspouts, or it might result in the occasional one that escaped "treatment" becoming a humdinger!"

Admittedly, report credibility was rather shaken by the term "humdinger" but nothing a supersonic fly-by couldn't straighten out ;o)

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Anonymous Coward

Errrm ?

What about the energy in the storm.

What will happen to it. i wont just go away.

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Bronze badge
Paris Hilton

Question from the ignorant

I know nothing about planes and flying really but I can't help but wonder if it wouldn't be a tiny bit risky flying into a hurricane in a fighter jet? Is that much weather likely to be a risk for a regular plane or are they stronger than that?

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Anonymous Coward

All this discussion is pretty pointless

Until somebody runs a test it's all just pissing in the wind.

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MJL

enormous hurricane energy

I would have thought that the kinetic energy in a hurricane, which the jets would have to nullify , is astronomical. It would probably require thousands of jet fighters in a synchronised fomation, unless a couple of planes could somehow create some kind of 'stalling' effect that is self-sustaining. Difficult to imagine how that would work, but then fluid mechanics is not my strong point ...

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Black Helicopters

meh!

Storm busting...meh!

What they should do is fly in a direction opposite to the Earth's rotation. That way they will travel back in time.

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Refuelling plane

Well, they could post refuelling planes around the area.

And if the idea is sound, perhaps building some specialized UAV tailored to the task would be a good idea.

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Black Helicopters

@Yorkshirepudding

Such a tight circle? 400-600 km diameter?

But RE DARPA-money.. couldn't this be used in reverse to _create_ or strengthen a hurricane if you fly the other way? I'm assuming the jets will fly retrograde to the hurricanes rotation to snuff it out.

Supersonic black helicopter...

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Silver badge
Coat

WW2?

The Hurricane and Typhoon were pretty good fighters in their time but I suspect a Phantom could easily run (fly?) rings around them.

Mine's the leather jacket with the goggles in the pocket.

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Go

Simple test

Actually this idea can be tried out very easily! The USAF has Tyndell air force base in Florida that operates retired F-4 Phantoms (the same aircraft mentioned in the patent) as QF-4 unmanned target drones. I'm no meteorologist but doesn't Florida get a few squalls every now and then? Perhaps the unmanned QF-4s can be used to test the supersonic anti-storm theory, they are only going to get shot down anyway and there are no pilots onboard...

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Bronze badge
Happy

Wellesbourne (Warwickshire, UK) has a Vulcan...

Forget Concorde. Vulcan's are more suited (and booted!)

Ever been behind one of them on the ground when it accelerated?

The noise'd scare the shi*t out of titchy little storms like Katrina. Almost knocked me off my feet. I was practically deaf for ½ a day. 'Course, it's a "Cold War plane" so I dunno if the Ruskies could use it to test their theory.

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Bronze badge

Hasn't this been done before

Superman used the same technique to turn back time, I recall.

(Superman, The Movie. Still the best version, despite the 'flight poem')

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Thumb Up

Perfect angular movement

Exhaustive tests in the bathroom suggest the whole thing works best when two fighter planes are connected with a long shoelace and hunt each others backsides much like the neighbour's dogs.

Follow-on patent in the works.

3. Profit!

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IR
Stop

Waiting for

Superman did this years ago!

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Boffin

They are Russian academics

For anyone (like myself) who has collaborated with Russian academics, you'll find the lessor capable ones all think their ideas, no matter how good or bad, are of huge value and need protection because everyone wants to steal their ideas. The top notch Russian academics also have huge egos, but tend to be vastly more open.

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Anonymous Coward

Shurely shome mishtake

"Of course, larger or smaller hurricanes/typhoons may necessitate the need for more or less supersonic capable aircraft."

So something subsonic would do for the small storms?

They probably meant "more or fewer supersonic capable aircraft."

Mine's the one with the "P" on the back.

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Anonymous Coward

Too bad...

...it's probably bunk. If there's one job that would make you even more of a macho hardass than being a fighter pilot, it would be flying a fighter plane at mach one, in circles, at low altitude, in a hurricane. Smoke me a kipper; I'll be back for breakfast!

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Anonymous Coward

How would they snuff out...

... anticyclones? By flying backwards?

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Stop

Two jets vs. Average Hurricane

Your average hurricane generates vast amounts of energy, the wind energy alone could be as much as half of the electrical generating capacity of the planet (http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/D7.html).

Even if this system is in some kind of dynamic equilibrium it seems inconcievable that the energy generated by two supersonic jets could destabilise it to the point that it dissipates. A useful analogy might be a 1000 ton boulder sitting at the top of a hill that would need to rocked by a few degrees to make it roll down the hill and then suggesting that one person (sans lever, bulldozer, explosives, etc.) could achieve this. Total bollocks!

As said above: cod science for a bit of cheap publicity and possibly a night on whatever the local moonshine is in Ohio.

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Alert

Typical...

I warned them not to spark up that doobie whilst watching Superman 2.

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