Science: Nature's Gyroscopes

Entomologists and mechanical engineers ordinarily have little to do with one another. The first study bugs; the second design machinery. But last week the Sperry Gyroscope Co., designers of highbrow airplane instruments, told of a fruitful side trip into entomology.

The flight instruments which Sperry produces contain small, rapidly spinning flywheels called gyroscopes. Their useful characteristic is the obstinate way they keep steady while the airplane twists and turns around them. Most valuable service: they provide an artificial horizon; when a pilot cannot see the real horizon, he looks at the gyroscopic one, to see if he is on an even keel.


Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!