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Peter's Pinwheel Principle
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Happy 23rd!

As many of you remember, Brother Peter and I, once a month, used to wish each other a "Happy 23rd (of the month)".

But what I really wanted to discuss today is one idea Peter had many years ago, which, like most of his inventive ideas, was never acted upon.

(Eventually, I would like to publish a list of Peter's inventive ideas, so if you remember any that he shared with you, please leave a comment here or email me and I'll publish a list at a later date.)

The idea that Peter had, was that when a large jet airplane lands, it's tires often smoke and squeal and need to be replaced after ? number of landings. To reduce this wear and tear on the tires, Peter reasoned, simply put a designed hubcap on the wheels which would be similar to a child's toy: a "pinwheel".

These hubcaps could be experimentally designed in a wind tunnel and tested for exactly matching the typically required landing rotation of the tires by modifying the curved blades slightly to optimize the benefits and minimize any wear of the tire!

I actually submitted this idea to a "large aircraft manufacturing company" in the 1980's and after waiting for almost a year, finally got an answer back that this idea had been attempted long ago, in Flight Test (during the post-WWII era). They claimed that the experimental pilots who had attempted a flight in such a configuration actually felt that it induced a gyroscopic effect, which made controlling the aircraft difficult or dangerous.

I do not believe this. While it may be true for a small aircraft, such as a small prop or a jet fighter, the size of a jumbo jet would, in my opinion, ameliorate such a gyroscoptic effect, and would have enormous financial returns.

As I said, after just a few landings, these enormous tires must be replaced. Think of the savings the entire world fleet would see! Not just the refurbishment or replacement of the tires, but the time and wages of trained aircraft mechanics!

If this idea is ever successfully implemented, I would like to see Peter's name attached to the invention.

He said the idea came to him in a dream, as many of his greatest ideas did.

Addendum: I talked with someone at work about this today, and he did a little research. It turns out that the first patent for this idea was issued on Sep 12, 1950, a generation before Peter's dream idea, and there was a second patent issued on Apr 14, 1992, well after his dream and my (refused) suggestion.

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