Title of Paper: The Role of Lift Demons and Thrust Pixies in Heavier Than Air Flight

Publication Date: 2004

Abstract: The role of Lift Demons in aeronautics was first explained in 1994 by Mary Shafer (NASA). Since then, Shafer's work has been explored and revised. This paper summarises advances in Lift Demon technology over the last decade.

Keywords: Lift Demons, Thrust Pixies, lemon fondant

Authors: Sarah Hartwell, DEF Smith, Peter Rieden, Gavin Bull

Question: How did the secret information on Lift Demons make it into the public domain? I've been a practising Aircraft Performance Engineer for the past 26 years and have always tried to explain how aeroplanes fly by using the official public explanations regarding Bernoulli, airfoils and other such rot. Civilians just weren't ready for the truth. In fact, we generally don't speak about the magic directly. Most of our plans and estimates usually end with the phrase "and then a miracle happens". 

Answer: The science of Lift Demons was declassified in 1994, throwing this topic wide open for discussion and research.

According to Shafer "Lift is caused by Lift Demons. These little, invisible demons hold on to the leading and trailing edges of the aircraft and lift it into the air by flapping their wings (so, in a reductionist sense, lift is actually caused by feathers). Some of the demons are a little confused and they hold on backwards, causing drag. The reason that planes stall at high alpha is that the leading edge demons get scared and let go when they can't see the ground anymore. Lift demons have good taste and don't like to look at ugly aircraft, so they hold on backwards on ugly planes. That's why gliders have so much lift and so little drag and why F-4s have lots of drag." This, however, did not address what gives lift to the Lift Demons' wings. Again, according to Shafer "Feathers. The multiple filaments on feathers trap the air molecules and they struggle to escape, which causes the action-reaction that we call lift. Bat wings don't have feathers but they're hairy and that works just about as well (air molecules are a little claustrophobic)."

Because Lift demons hold on backwards on ugly planes to avoid looking at the planes, drag can be calculated using CDU (Coefficient of Drag due to Ugliness) used in correlating aircraft ugliness against Lift Demons' unwillingness to hold on forwards and provide lift.

It was originally believed that Lift Demons got their lift from smaller Lift Demons whose lift was, in turn, produced by even smaller Lift Demons leading to the "Infinite Demons Theory" as proposed by the great Greek philosopher-scientist Miasma. However, with the revival of scientific knowledge that eventually ended the Dark Ages, it was realised that this situation unresolvable according to Zeno's paradox. The "Infinite Demons Theory" works in many problems of engineering significance, however, real understanding requires that the ether be introduced into the analysis at some point. The "Ether Concept" explains why planes fly more efficiently at higher altitudes. This is an absolute necessity when studying orbital and interplanetary travel where, it is believed, many of the Lift Demons are unable to breathe.

As always the Chinese seem to have been there first. "The Genius of China", tells of one Ko Hung. "Someone asked the Master (Ko Hung) about the principles of mounting to dangerous heights and travelling into the vast inane. The Master said "[...] some have made flying cars with wood from the inner part of the jujube tree, using ox leather straps fastened to returning blades so as to set the machine in motion. Others have the idea of making five snakes, six dragons and three oxen to meet the 'hard wind' and ride on it, not stopping until they have risen to a height of 40 li (about 65,000 feet). The the ch'i [emanation of the sky or perhaps wind] is extremely hard, so much so that it can overcome the strength of human beings. [...] Take dragons, for example; when they first rise they go up using the clouds as steps, and after they attained a height of forty li then they rush forward effortlessly gliding." The jujube tree device sounds like the Osprey. Scholars believe that the term "dragon" referred to the Lift Demon and that the Chinese had harnessed their power before the Western world had even discovered the Lift Demons' existence.

Lift Demons operate differently on different aircraft types. They get dizzy holding onto a spinning prop and become disorientated, thus more of them face the wrong direction which increases the drag. Lift Demons have to be magically bound to jet engines and an Airbus propulsion engineer explained "It takes an average of three day's solid chanting and ritual to get one of those 'engine' things to work. If us witches stopped our hard work, there'd be planes dropping out of the sky all over the place. We should never have let you lot find out about being able to fly, it's been nothing but trouble ever since."

Recognition of Lift Demons has also solved one of aviation's oldest puzzles: Gremlins. There appears to be a connection between Gremlins and Lift Demons. Gremlins may be Lift Demons that have, in some way, turned against the pilot. Instead of assisting him in his task of keeping the machine in the air, they do the opposite. The reason may be that, after reading about the Bernoulli/Newton dichotomy, they have become confused. Much has been written about Gremlins, dating back to WWII. Gremlins have been known to run towards the nose of an aircraft, causing it to dive into the sea, showing that they have at least some knowledge of the principles of flight. These days, most planes carry a full complement of In-Flight Gremlins; although they must be carefully managed, their presence generally inhibits the transformation of rogue Lift Demons into Gremlins.

Further study of Lift Demons was carried out by an aero-industry weights engineer who submitted the following scientific paper in 2004 to celebrate the anniversary of Shafer's ground-breaking article:

"There are still people in this company who think we weigh aircraft to find out how much they weigh, not to calculate stresses. Of course we need to know how much the thing weighs. How are we ever going to know how many Thrust Pixies we need to get the thing off the ground if we don't know the weight? Or should that be "Lift Demons"? Pixies have largely fallen into disrepute - something about Bernoulli not being representative in unbounded conditions and cause and effect being transposed in the Newtonian model.

In fact the use of Lift Demons on civil aircraft programmes is generally not that good an idea. The Demon binding contract tends to specify payment in blood or souls. This is readily achievable with aircraft of military function, but frowned upon in civilian circles as they may attempt to acquire payment outside of the terms of their binding contract. Lift Demons are not used on Elf bombers. We don't talk about Lift [Thrust] Pixies too often as it seems to upset the self-loading cargo [passengers]. Pixies require payment in cakes, flowers or nice thoughts. These are readily sourced either from the in-flight catering, or provided cost-free by the passengers. Clearly this would not work well within an operational military environment. Air force cooking is not renowned for the "light and fluffy texture" that Thrust Pixies demand, the availability of flowers might be problematic in desert operations, and nice thoughts may also be hard to find during times of active operations.

There is also a scalability issue. While one rampant Lift Demon would have few problems supporting a fighter aircraft (particularly if there is an immediate prospect of blood), it'll struggle to achieve level controlled flight of a 560 tonne Airbus A380. Use of more than one Lift Demon on the same flight vehicle is contra-indicated (they squabble and eat each other). Communities of Thrust Pixies can be encouraged to work together on the same aircraft by the provision of advanced technologies such as Lemon fondant icing, variegated tulips or in-flight romantic comedies. Ryanair once requested Leprachauns be installed in place of Lift [Thrust] Pixies, but Leprechauns have a mission statement which indicates their desire for monetary gain, and their willingness to search all over the world for it. This makes Lift Leprechauns expensive to keep (gold vs. lemon fondant icing), and makes it difficult to establish a regular route network as the Lift Leprechauns don't like to continuously visit the same locations. By law, aircraft also have to have a full complement of In-Flight Gremlins, but these are generally not a problem unless you feed the Wingtip Vortex Faeries after midnight."

His article shows that we've moved on a great deal since 1994. It has been known for some time that Lift Demons are best suited to military uses. In spite of suggestions that Pixies have fallen into disrepute, outside of military aviation it is Lift Demons that are considered passé - they have notoriously short attention spans and the ones used on Harriers have problems discriminating between air and water. Inbreeding in pursuit of the ultimate high performance Lift Demon may have been the cause. In civil aviation, the way ahead still lies with Thrust Pixies, large amounts of lemon fondant icing and in-flight Hugh Grant movies. Many instances of civil planes mysteriously falling out of the sky can be traced to (a) cessation of happy thoughts/lack of lemon fondant for the pixies (resulting in "Pixie Fatigue" or even "catastrophic pixie failure") or to (b) a large amount of happy thoughts/gateau mountain at ground level distracting the pixies from their task.  Thrust Pixies dislike Marmite/Vegemite (yeast extract) and since such spreads can cause unhappy thoughts in some passengers, airline caterers are careful to avoid these.

A note on Catastrophic Pixie Failure: Temporary pixie problems resulting in turbulence or sudden loss of altitude causes unhappy thoughts in the passengers (which is why cabin staff and pilots always play down such occurrences). The resulting loss of happy thoughts causes further Pixie failure, worsening the situation. This makes passengers have even more unhappy thoughts and the Pixies become more fatigued; some may even leave the aircraft. Unless counter-acted by large lemon fondant reserves, Pixie Failure reaches catastrophic proportions and the aircraft is doomed.

Modern aircraft designers use Lift Fairies and avoid the whole controversy regarding the used of Lift Demons on civil aircraft programmes. Coming from a less benevolent cast, Lift Fairies are less dependent on nice thoughts or cakes. Fairies tend to less concerned with good and evil and hence make better dual use aircraft. Another major headache today is how to get 707 Lift Fairies at a reasonable price. Many of the older aircraft-specific fairies have become rare, if not unavailable. Aircraft numbering relates to the type and quantity of Lift Demons or Lift Fairies needed. For example a C-130 requires 130 "C class" Lift Demons while an Airbus A380 uses 380 "A" class Thrust Pixies. Aero engineers have a scale of values (proprietary information, not available in the public domain) allowing them to substitute different numbers of Pixies and Demons with different lifting abilities, thus making best use of the available surfaces.

There was short-lived interest in breeding a generic, or at least dual-use, "Thrust Demon" but the blood-loving Lift Demons ate the gateau-loving Thrust Pixies. In vitro techniques failed because their genietic [sic] material is incompatible so there are no hybrid Thrust Demons. DNA sequencing has allowed us to distinguish between many castes of Lift Demon, Thrust Fairy etc. For example due credit should be given to the inelegantly named Fart Fairies without whose bean eating and gas production, no machine could power itself from the earth's surface. The shy Turbine Winder-Rounder Gnomes hide inside those so-called engine nacelles from the public and indulge their serious kerosene drinking problems. Why else would the engines be called Gnome engines? Leading-Edge Leeries give the extra little push that keeps the nose up. The unfortunate tendency for RAF Harriers to crash into the sea has led to speculation that Harriers are equipped with Sirens or that the crashes resulted from an ill-advised experiment in using Water Nymphs (these are better suited to submarine propulsion). In any case, only export versions of the Harrier are likely to use Sirens, while those for the British domestic market use Banshees leased from the Irish.

Thrust Pixies are adequate for civil aircraft, while Lift Demons were good in military applications in years past, but modern Naval Aviation is currently all Angel-powered. The very best ones are, of course, Blue Angels. This is why they report their altitude as "angels twenty" or such. In addition, many Navy pilots claim that black air has no lift, which means they can get all night in to supplement their daytime naps between meals. This shows that Angels and Naval Lift Demons are strictly diurnal. Genetically engineered, military-tolerant Thrust Pixies may be what is needed. Thrust Demons might also have applications in getting Air Force maritime patrol aircraft to stop reaching "prudent limit of endurance" by 2 p.m. (local time) every Friday just after reporting a "possible intruder" submarine in the exercise area, and not be restored to flying status until 9 a.m. Monday, thus leaving the ships to stay out over the weekend looking for the "intruder".

There are no Anti-Gravity Demons so a different approach has to be taken in this field of research. Current research into inertia-free propulsion has shown great promise through the use of properly modified felines. Butter is spread evenly over the felines back. When the creature is tossed lightly into the air, the third law of universal fate dictates that it must land butter side down. However this does not occur due to the intervention of the feline landing axiom (feet first). The above conflicting forces result in a stable hover. The subject felines have demonstrated the ability to control their own velocity at will. The only loose ends delaying the full commercialisation of this process is the matter of persuading the felines to (a) work in teams; (b) not lick off the butter and (c) follow a flight plan. As there seems to be a deficiency in feline herding instincts, any suggestions would be appreciated by the researchers involved.


Title of Paper: A Brief Sumary of Past Research

Lift Demons were originally discovered and bred in captivity by Bernoulli. He did not properly understand Lift Demon management, which explains why early attempts at manned flight were often so unsuccessful. Many early planes had double or triple wings (sometimes even more) to provide more places for the Lift Demons to cling. However, the design of many of these did not permit Lift Demons to perform to the best of their abilities.

Being air breathing creatures, they are not found at very high altitudes and dislike getting their wings are icy or dirty.

Other researchers note that Lift Demons and Thrust Pixies congregate unseen near the downwind end of the runway and hop on for the ride, dismounting again on landing ready for the next plane. This is why taking off from the other end (looking into the big end of the windsock) can be tricky. Air Traffic Control regulates arrivals and departures especially in areas where there is a lack of Lift Demons and Thrust Pixies and they must make smooth changeovers from one plane to the next. At large international airports, the supply of Lift Demons, Thrust Pixies and baggage carts are all limited.

Lift Demons and Thrust Pixies are very sensitive to poor pilotage and can easily fall off the wing if a pilot lifts the nose too much whilst going slowly or banks steeply at slow speed. A slightly roughened surfaces helps them to stay on longer. Research into the behaviour and IQs of Lift Demons and Thrust Pixies shows that they lack comprehension of what a downwind turn is. Domesticating and training a flock of Lift Demons is the secret to truly great aerobatics and some practitioners have attempted to breed specialised strains of Demon, tentatively named Aerobatic Imps. These breeds do not entirely abandon an aircraft when it inverts or stalls; instead they remain close and catch it once it reverts to a Demon-friendly attitude. They are also far more resistant to the dizziness that rolls and dives cause in wild-type Lift Demons.

Male demons outnumber females by a ratio of approximately 3:1 and are predominantly found on the mainwing topsides. The females, which can apparently only push (though this view is being challenged by current research), are found on the underside of wings and tailplanes. The males find it fairly easy to "pull" the females due to the imbalance in numbers. A favourite area for congregating males is near the wing's hump where the view is often better. This activity is known scientifically as humping. Humping can be controlled by the pilot by raising and lowering flags at the wing ends to signify the end he would like them to pull hardest. The female of the species being on the undersides are often kept in the dark especially about the cost impact of aviation. Lift Demons are sexually active and highly promiscuous; sexual activity frequently occurs near the wing tips resulting in Demon Spawn which can sometimes be seen streaming off the tips in a conical cocoon. It is widely, but erroneously, believed that neutered Lift Demons are called Vacuum Demons and that an excess of neutered Demons causes breathing difficulties and should have a government health warning attached. No-one has yet managed to neuter a Lift Demon.

In the days of airships and hot air balloons, Lift Demons were often trapped in bags, but would escape given any opportunity. Such captivity was actually unnecessary on airships as there were ample places for Lift Demons to hold on. These days, instead of trying to contain captive Demons inside the structure, winged aircraft are designed to entice the Demons to visit and to hold on to the outside. This is not easy since Lift Demons abandon common aircraft on very weak pretexts. For example, Lift Demons enjoy engine roar and go elsewhere when this noise stops. The best engine roar is found on military jets. Thrust Pixies are more commonly used on civil aircraft.

Builders of kit aircraft generally find enough in the box for the first flight. Once in flight, more Lift Demons are attracted to the plane and subsequent flights become easier and usually more stable. Even if a home enthusiast is improvising, his/her efforts will usually attract curious Lift Demons and/or Thrust Pixies, though not always enough for the craft to become airborne.

Bird feathers are merely ornaments evolved to attract Lift Demons. These are species of Demon that have evolved symbiotically with different bird species. Birds merely have to waggle their wings to signal a desire to fly and their Demons eagerly comply. Flightlessness in Penguins is due to the Demons' dislike of ice. Flightlessness in other birds is due to the Demons' sense of aesthetics. Moas, ostriches and great auks are (or were) simply too ugly to fly. On the other hand, all types of Lift Demon and their kin have a playful side and this can often be seen in the way they keep kites aloft. Unfortunately, the Lift Demon sense of humour has brought many hang-gliders down to earth with a bump.


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