For those that aren't aware, the "ballooning" effect that spiders use to glide (not necessarily fly) explaining in a simple way, some small invertebrates throw a bunch of long strings (in the case of spiders, spider silk) in the wind, and because of a mix of static electricity and hot air streams, it allows them to take off.

Of course, this method normally works for just a few meters, but if the spider is lucky enough to catch a wind stream, they can glide for miles.

Anyway, is there any aircraft that uses a similar method to fly?

Assuming that ion propelled aircrafts that uses ionisation of air aren't considered ballooning effect aircrafts.

  • $\begingroup$ Do balloons count? $\endgroup$ Dec 31, 2022 at 16:21
  • $\begingroup$ @MichaelHall if they use static electricity to float, then yes. $\endgroup$
    – Fulano
    Dec 31, 2022 at 17:13

1 Answer 1



Phenomena that we observe of objects in the miniature realm do not scale up to our size. Small insects are capable of many things that humans are not, as in this example: Water Strider

Asking if you could build a plane that mimics the behavior of an infant spider would be like asking why you cannot walk on water.

(... or noting the dome-like shape of a small bead of water on your car, and asking if you could take your garden hose and spray up a pile of water to form a swimming pool without sides.)

There simply isn't enough energy in static electricity to levitate something with any significant weight.


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