Comic 393 - The Graceful Waterfowl
4th Feb 2019, 12:00 AM in Raiders of the Lost Apple
The Graceful Waterfowl
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Author Notes:
Microraptor edit delete
Microraptor
Seems there was still some leftover DARPA money...

I got the idea of Bettina Timmy loving yachts from lirvilas' art (slightly NSFW)...
User comments:
lirvilas edit delete reply
lirvilas
I am appalled at the sheer amount of Bettina art that I produced.

Also:

Sea serpent off the starboard bow! Ready harpoons!
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
I even came up with an idea what I could do with all the other as of yet unpublished Bettina pictures you created, just that no opportunity has arisen yet to weave it into the plot:
Namely that one character googles her and finds out to his/her astonishment that the image search shows far more pin-ups of her than you would expect from a large company's CEO...

And unfortunately, this sea serpent has a metal hide. Some puny little harpoons probably won't suffice to penetrate it...
lirvilas edit delete reply
lirvilas
I got your harpoon right here...
image
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
OK, that... would probably work.
(If it weren't for the pesky detail that you'd have to actually have those things on board in the first place...)

But alas, mechanical sea serpents are not the only danger lurking around the vicinity...
lirvilas edit delete reply
lirvilas
You don't say...
image
(drawn in low light, hence the B&W)
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Sam Christianos, "quality journalist", strikes again! :-D
(Anyway, thanks!)

Yeah, sunbathing on the beach would usually be the most likely thing for Lena to do while visiting the Aegean Sea. This time though, she has work to do.
No, wait... She explicitly hired the Cryptida team to do all the work for her!
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
BTW, I the notion of Lena just chilling while the others have to do all the work may have given me an idea for a later point in this chapter that I didn't flesh out that well yet...
ProfEtheric edit delete reply
ProfEtheric
Ah... recurring nemeses ahoy! XD
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
For now they are just observing our heroes.

For now... ;-)
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
One thing of the design is peculiar compared to other flying boats like the Dornier Wal, etc. The turbines are below the wings - it might get very unpleasant if they start to suck water during landing.
(I suddenly see the characters floating in lifebelts, with one saying: "Well back to that old drawing board!")
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
I, uh... sort of imagined this vessel's turbines having the secondary function of acting as ship's propeller...
No idea if that would actually be technically possible though. Perhaps it would need it to be a hybrid device that can switch between turbine and ship's propeller mode. (Maybe from one point on during the landing, you can switch modes while you are still in the air, to make sure that the ship's propeller mode is ready when you touch the water surface...)
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
A two minute pencil sketch for a comic idea. (I don't think I really will draw it, but nevertheless.) I think I am with Babette here. image

But, seriously, there was indeed a flying submarine (or diving plane) tested successfully in the early 1960ies, which used two separate engines for air and water. It never went into production, though.
And it wasn't exactly the Skydiver we know from UFO, too.
Microraptor edit delete reply
Microraptor
Sketch or not, it's awesome at this stage already! :-D
(Especially since it is very in character for Babette to do the nitpicking of the technical issues!)

I'd guess the main technical challenges for a hybrid jet engine/ship's propeller propulsion unit would be (warning, engineering layman speaking!):
- Gas and water are obviously very different fluids. The unit should be able to handle the very different viscosities (or whatever properties are relevant here) of those two.
- A jet engine (to my understanding) works by sucking in the air, compressing it, using the heat resulting from the compression to ignite the fuel so that it gets even hotter, and lastly using the resulting pressure for the forward propulsion.
A ship's propeller on the other hand, is simply... a propeller, only doing the first of all these steps.
So either you have, for the water mode, to shut down the combustion (and building the fuel intakes so that they can be closed off watertight!), and maybe build the compressor so that it can go into a "let everything more easily flow through" mode.
Or you try out to indeed make the whole jet engine principle workable with water instead of air. (I have no idea if something like that actually exists or not...)

Lastly, even if you do somehow manage construct a workable hybrid engine, it may turn out to not be very efficient for either function. Which means that all the effort may ultimately not worth it, and building two separate engines (like in your flying sub example) indeed be the better call.
Stilldown edit delete reply
Stilldown
Besides, a water jet needs an extra engine to drive the turbine. And a combustion chamber wont work with water, no way. So, we could power the underwater plane with rockets, like the Skydiver interceptor jet (still not easy, but there are working submarine launched rockets) or we would have different engines. Maybe a water jet turbine could be powered by a high mounted jetengine (working for boats, not submarines), but on the other hand, it might be easier to use the propulsion of a conventional jet engine... I must take care not to get carried away by technical speculations.