Second draft

I was at a science convention in the states bouncing from one exciting new invention to the next when I heard the loudest screams of excitement I have ever heard in my life. I ran to see what I thought would be a horrific site of a mangled man whose machine malfunctioned and tore off an arm or something, to my disappointment, I instead found a large group of the nerdiest people you could find gathered around a tall strong looking man with a helmet on. I began to turn and walk away thinking it was just some new car that I could see when the crowd has passed when I heard what I could only imagine was a jet engine that must have somehow gotten into the building. I quickly turned to see the strong man from the crowd buzzing over my head with an honest to god jet pack strapped to his back! I stood there like the kid from free Willy watching as he passed over me in slow motion with my eyes glistening with pure excitement. It was in those few seconds that I fell head over heels in love with flying. I knew right then and there that I was going to do everything in my power to build my very own jet pack.

Today I am a mechanical engineering student at Dawson who has recently been accepted to Concordia University to further study engineering. For the past 3 years I have been building and competing in robotics competitions throughout Canada, partnering that with the research I have been doing on personal flight, I believe that humans will be taking to the sky sooner than you might think. The only real questions you might be having now are, how soon? And why should I care?

For those who are wondering why they should care about personal flight, the simple answer is that it is extremely cool. What kid has never thought of being able to fly? Being able to buzz around with your own personal flight pack will probably be the closest to being iron man as you will probably get. Even if you look at it in a purely functional light it can easily be a great asset to the world. Imagine a scenario where a child gets lost in the woods and the search and rescue team and all the volunteer searchers were flying over the forest in their flight packs instead of walking through the forest calling her name. With a simple loud speaker or heat sensor attachment to the craft they would be able to find the little girl in no time. Or what if a tall building is on fire and there is just no ladder high enough to reach the people in the building. Instead of risking the lives of our brave fire men who would do all they can to fight their way up to the people we could simply have them fly up and bring them down a few at a time. Doesn’t that sound like a fantastic resource to have in an emergency?

 

Some of you might be thinking what about the environment? Won’t it be harmful to have thousands of little jets polluting the skies? Well actually they would be better for the environment as a hole. In the presentation given by Jaakko Rahja, Managing Director at MSC, we are shown how the cost of building and maintaining roads alone amount to nearly 35% of a city’s annual budget. Not to mention the major impact on vegetation and ecosystems when roads are built. With the population flying overhead instead of rolling through the woods in toxic buckets we could lessen the effect on environments between cities and reduce the cost of maintaining a city by millions. This would lead to lower taxes in the long run and no back breaking pot holes.

There is also the benefit that all the air crafts being used would have to be electric. According to the document released from NASA in 2013,(sub link 2 air navigation) “standard forms of fuel based flight do not have enough upward lift for long enough a time to be considered a plausible means of fueling any small “Jet Pack””. What this means is that all future forms of personal flight will most likely be electric. This will not only cut our emissions as a people but truly open the door for clean energy research. Some inventors are already developing this new clean way to get around. In fact many developers predict that the technology put into batteries will surpass the energy output of a traditional gas engine in as little as 4 years, and be small enough to be used for long periods of time in jet packs in as little as 10. That’s a pretty thought isn’t it!

In my interview with Bombardier engine designer Vincent Dipetro I found some very interesting information that may further advance the idea that even big companies are beginning to take interest in personal flight. I asked him about some of the things he and his team of developers are working on and though he was reluctant to tell me specifically what they were working on for confidentiality reasons he did say some enlightening things. He spoke of maybe “one day within one or two years having a new type of electric motor to fly small planes”. This led me to ask him his opinion of the possibility of personal flight to which he answered with,” I wouldn’t be surprised if I was even able to take one for a spin before I retired”. After a bit more pestering I got him to indirectly mention how what he is working on could potentially be used to create personal flight, though he strongly avoided that particular question. I might not be able to directly say that these large companies think it could be a profitable area to expand, but I’m sure they will find a way if there is enough of a demand for it.

If you live in a big city then traffic is a major problem for you. The old road ways just can’t keep up to the growing population and that means you have to wake up 2 hours to early just to get to work. Then when your busy day is finally over and you just want to get home so you can relax you’re once again stuck for hours fighting to get home. What if I told you that all these traffic problems could be relieved by having the road ways in the air? Paths to get to places could be enlarged or made smaller depending on the time of day simply by allocating another “safe to fly zone” right next to a lane that is already there. The new “Air Roads” of the future could adapt easily to the change in traffic and population. You might be wondering how hard flying all these new crafts would be for all the already horrid drivers in the world. Well you can rest at ease knowing that even the primitive versions of these crafts found today are much safer than your average car. The Martin Jet pack company is one of the few in the world currently selling actual working “Jet Packs”. Their systems have taken almost every precaution in order to make their crafts ultra-safe. They not only link into the air traffic control system so that there is no risk of mid-air collisions with low flying planes but also have an astonishing amount of stabilizing technology so that even the worst driver could piolet their crafts. Not to mention the on board navigation systems would prevent you from smashing into another craft, ultimately saving hundreds of lives that would be lost in car accidents every year.

Sources/Links:

(Jaakko, Jaakko. “Road Safety – Road Maintenance Strategies.” MSC, 1 Jan. 2008. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.)

(“NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS).” – The Personal Aircraft: Status and Issues. Web. 14 Apr. 2015.)

(The Martin Jetpack – Fly the Dream.” The Martin Jetpack. Web. 15 Apr. 2015)

http://www.popularmechanics.com/flight/g484/six-wild-new-personal-aircraft/?slide=1

2 thoughts on “Second draft

  1. Michael.
    So, let me start by stating that you did a good job in capturing my attention. Other than the fact I was “forced” to read your article, you have good qualities of getting your readers engaged. I personally care very little when it comes to science and it was a heard read for me, personally. However, posing questions that anyone might ask, like: “Wasn’t it every kids dream to fly?” got my attention because I, along with other, relate to that!
    Another element I enjoyed was the integration of Pop-culture into your writing; use of Iron Man. However, at times I was lost and confused…
    In terms of structure, I think it is very important to grasp! With my article I remember structure being my biggest challenge and I think that is what your article needs the most work on. It feels to me that your final paragraph should be much earlier, because it reads as an intro and you lack a proper conclusion. I also felt that your paragraphs have a hard time blending into each other, which is something that is easily a work around when focusing on structure. If you know what you’re talking about (which I know you have a good sense of your topic) then fixing your structure should be easy!
    Your broader theme seems lost. I got your topic: personal flight, will it be possible…etc… but that topic can only be argued for so long. Tiring back with STRUCTURE, I felt like you were repeating a lot that was already stated in one sentence before.
    I can’t recall what you mentioned your broader theme was going to be in your oral, but maybe something like: freedom, discovery, adventure, exploring the unknown.
    I’m not a science major so these broader themes don’t come easy but it is something to consider that will attract different readers that don’t care all about the science and “fun” about the Jet Pack.
    Lastly, going back to your ties with Iron Man, this article gave me a good feeling and i think you should expand on that. Why do humans want jet packs? Well I can tell you, as I was reading I thought of movies like Iron Man and Star Wars that gave the modification of wanting a Jet Pack. What I’m saying is: using more reliable comparisons to why someone might want or use personal flight other than for factual reason is a possible way of attracting readers.
    Your personal antidote is good, filled with emotions, and good analogies; however the placement of that paragraph in your article seems it could use some work. As I said, think of STRUCTURE! :D!

    Tiny note, something to consider while editing for final: Pay attention to small grammar errors with your use of commas and sentence fragments. I don’t want to go into detail to change your tone, but some of your phrases are incomplete fragments or run on sentences that need a period. Also words like “God” and “Iron Man” are capitalized.

    Good work! I think you got your idea across clearly, but things to consider: structure, broader theme!

    Nice.

    ~ Kirk Elsmore

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  2. Michael, this is, by far the best work you’ve handed in the semester. Night and day, head and shoulders ahead of your previous work (I haven’t looked at your revised research report yet). The first thing that strikes me is that you’ve put a much more serious and conscientious effort into this. That can make all the difference.

    This is a very good draft. I like a lot of what you have here. Your writing is very strong. I see a lot of the imagination and energy that is present when you speak present in the writing here. Your voice is really coming across, and it’s a pleasure to read. I was easily able to follow you from the beginning of this article. There are some really great and funny lines in here. I feel like you’re really speaking to me here, and it’s refreshing to read.

    A lot of what you have here works. I like the opening a lot. I like the reasons you give for why a jet pack would be useful. The emergency point is a really good one. The environment one is also really good. But, here’s were you could organize your paper a bit more efficiently. I’m not sure the maintaining roads argument belongs with the environmental one. These seem like two different ideas. I think the traffic one later on belongs more with the point about roads. Perhaps your interview could come after this. Anyway, you’ll want go through it and make sure everything is organized as logically as possible.

    Also a note about your stats about road work: it seems like you got this from a source about Finland. I’m sure you can find information about road work in Montreal. And I’m sure it takes up more than 35% of our municipal budget. See if you can find some more local info.

    My other important note is that this isn’t finished. This must be continued. I would say there are still a couple of pages or so left to write. The place you left off at would be a good moment to open this up to some broader themes. Perhaps something about progress, and how people are always reluctant to embrace new technologies. You could certainly incorporate some analogies: technologies in the past that were seen as crazy at first, but which are now commonplace. You could talk about concepts of skepticism in relation to this. You could also talk about human being’s fascination with flight. Or how science fiction often anticipates new technologies. Or emphasize the environmental need for this new technology. There are a lot of options, but broadening this out to more general themes could be really satisfying. Then, of course, you’ll need an ending.

    I really want to stress that this is a very strong draft. It’s really interesting, well-written, and informative. You’re hitting a lot of the right notes here. It needs to be reshuffled a bit, and continued. But, you’re certainly on the right track. You should be quite happy with what you have here so far. Great work.

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