Feb 202018
 

From Those Were The Days… currently on eBay is a truly impressive piece:

Douglas Aircraft Co 1960’s Skeletal Wood Model of the C-5 Cargo Proposal LARGE

The Buy-It-Now price is a substantial fifteen grand. It shows the internal structure of the Douglas proposal of the CX-HLS, what became the C-5, at fairly large scale. More pics after the break.

Computer graphics are great. But they would not compare to seeing something like this set up as part of a sales display. Of course, you can’t exactly email this thing as a PDF…

Continue reading »

 Posted by at 4:38 pm
Feb 182018
 

A few decades before the “X-Wing” configuration gained a measure of popularity, Hughes Tool Company made a detailed study of a somewhat similar concept, the “rotor/wing.” This was a three-bladed helicopter rotor attached to a large central lifting surface, either a circular disk or a triangular structure. The rotor was not turned the conventional way with a turbine engine turning a drive shaft, but instead the engine exhaust was ducted through the center and then out to nozzles at the tips of the rotors. Jet thrust would spin the rotors without transmitting torque to the rest of the vehicles; as a consequence only a small tail rotor would be needed, just powerful enough to orient the craft at low airspeeds.

A few configurations were produced, most of which looking much the same. Probably the most well known configuration was shown in US VTOL Projects 01. Shown below is a lesser-known configuration designed for anti-submarine use. Normally the configurations included the turbojet engines within the upper fuselage, close to the hub of the rotor, but this one rather bizarrely put the engines on the tail. No obvious means of ducting the exhaust to the rotor is evident, so presumably a third (or even fourth) engine was tucked into the fuselage somewhere.

 

 Posted by at 1:24 am
Feb 152018
 

The “expert” suggests books, snacks and Ipads as a way of appeasing the little monster. Seems to me there are more effective solutions.

Passengers Recall ‘Flight From Hell’ After 3-Year-Old Screamed for 8 Hours Straight

There is an auto-play bit of video with nice, loud audio of screeching. Must’ve been a heck of a fun time.

The obvious solution is to duct tape the little monster, both into his seat and his mouth shut. Another solution would be to drug him. Back when I used to fly I saw lots of smaller pets brought on board; and a *lot* of them were brought on board sedated. If it’s good enough for a cat, it’s good enough for a little monster. Another solution: cargo hold.

 Posted by at 9:53 am
Feb 132018
 

Now available: two new US Aerospace Projects issues. Cover art was provided by Rob Parthoens, www.baroba.be

US VTOL Projects #2

US VTOL Projects #2 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #2 includes:

  • SOS Interceptor: A US Navy Mach 3 aircraft with jettisonable wings
  • Lockheed GL-224-3: A small battlefield surveillance and ground attack plane
  • Phalanx Dragon MP-18: An unconventional small civilian transport
  • Lockheed L-161-1: An early concept for a variable geometry roadable helicopter
  • GE Supersonic V/STOL: A supersonic strike fighter with flip-out lift fans
  • Convair ANP-VTOL: A nuclear-powered ground-effect craft of the Navy of unusual configuration
  • Piasecki 16H-3: A compound helicopter for high speed passenger transport
  • Boeing Vertol Model 147: A tilt-wing close support fire support design for the US Army

USVP #2 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:

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US Research & Recon Projects #2

US Research & Recon Projects #2 is now available (see HERE for the entire series). Issue #2 includes:

  • Lockheed A-1: The first true design leading to the SR-71
  • Bell MX-2147 Model 105: The high altitude “X-16”
  • Boeing/CRC/AMROC X-34 Reference Configuration: A reusable launcher test vehicle
  • Martin Model 159: A scout/observation float plane
  • NASA-Langley Low-Boom Demonstrator: a recent design to demonstrate quiet SST tech
  • McDonnell-Douglas DC-9 Super 80 Propfan Configuration 1: A fuel efficient transport demo
  • Convair “HAZEL” MC-10: An inflatable Mach 3 plane for the Navy
  • Republic Manned Hypersonic Reconnaissance Vehicle: an early scramjet concept

 

USRP #2 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:

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 Posted by at 11:57 am
Feb 082018
 

Not the Heavy launched a few days ago, but the previous Falcon 9, launched a week ago and soft-landed in the water.

Air Force Strike Takes Out SpaceX’s Floating GovSat Booster

The booster tested high retrothrust landing. Like a lot of SpaceX’s successful tests, they didn’t expect the booster to survive virtually intact, so they didn’t have a plan in place to recover the thing. Officially that made it a hazard to navigation; boosters like this have carbon over-wrapped high pressure helium tanks and other splodey bits. Unofficially, I wonder if the real reason was a desire to keep the booster from falling into nefarious hands… not so much the likes of United Launch Alliance, but more like Bond villains or the Chinese government (but I repeat myself).

Exactly how the Chinese or SPECTRE would go about snagging a floatign rocket booster is anyone guess. The rational approach would be to pre-position a modified cargo vessel equipped with cranes and such… hardly likely to go un-noticed. Less likely would be to modify a submarine to rise up underneath it, latch on, poke some holes in it, sink and be on its way. Less likely still would be a giant dirigible or seaplane.

These are of course all silly. But then, the CIA paying Howard Hughes to scoop a Soviet ballistic missile sub off the ocean floor was a silly notion as well.

But to the specific topic at hand, I wonder if the strike operation was carried out with laser guided bombs or with gunfire. I suspect the former… a B-1 or B-52 laying waste seems like the sort of excessive drama the situation calls for.

 Posted by at 6:39 pm
Feb 062018
 

Here’s a shorter video, cropped for your booster-landing pleasure:

And because why not, here’s some recent test flight footage of the Bell V-280 Valor tilt-rotor, complete with some curious blurring of the nacelles for some mysterious reason:

And lest y’all think I’m unfairly focusing too much attention on American achievements today… here’s a map of Europe.

 Posted by at 5:07 pm
Jan 312018
 

Recently sold on ebay was an apparently old display model. It came without markings, stand or engine nacelles, which were obviously formerly pinned to the rear fuselage in the usual bizjet position. So just what it is is unknown, but it looks too good to be Just Some Guys kitbash. But what it *is* is a headscratcher. It’s clearly a B-1 bomber forward fuselage grafted to a bizjet fuselage, but for what purpose I can’t guess. It doesn’t make sense to use a supersonic bombers cockpit as the cockpit of a small corporate jet, even as a way to utilize existing manufacturing infrastructure. Might it have been meant as a training plane, to teach future B-1 pilots the fine art of flying a Bone? A flying laboratory for the B-1 cockpit to make sure it was set up right?

Or did someone down at the model shop just get a little likkered up?

It appears t be a B-1A cockpit, dating it to the mid/late 70’s.

 Posted by at 10:24 pm
Jan 292018
 

Putin proposes supersonic civilian aircraft based on its Tu-160 bomber

The business case for supersonic transports is rather tenuous. But an SST made from a relatively ancient military aircraft? Errrmmm… no. Can such an aircraft work? Sure, you betcha. Can such an aircraft work economically? Very unlikely. Now, this is Putin; his SST could very well be aimed to not be a truly affordable aircraft, but a prestige project to be paid for by flying his oligarch buddies hither and yon.

 Posted by at 9:46 pm
Jan 232018
 

Currently winging their way from Ukraine to yours truly are two vintage brochures on the Antonov 225. These were picked up on ebay, purchases made possible by patrons of the APR Patreon. These brochures will in due course end up on the APR Patreon catalog, to be voted for as possible monthly rewards for the patrons.

If you’re interested in helping to preserve this sort of aerospace artifact, and also interested in getting high-rez scans of them, consider signing on to the APR Patreon.

 

 Posted by at 6:40 pm
Jan 092018
 

Bell Helicopter has just released their concept for the cabin of an “air taxi.” From the looks of it, it is a sci-fi vehicle on par with the flying cars from “Blade Runner,” seemingly relying on anti-grav units for lift and magic for forward propulsion. However, I suspect the idea is that this is just a people-pod that would be either integrated into or picked up by a VTOL aircraft of some kind, probably a supersized quad-, hex- or octo-copter, like a giant Toys R Us drone. Oddly enough, the report makes no mention of that part of it whatsoever. It seems an odd oversight. But then the more dedicated webpage on the concept also seems to leave out that kinda important bit as well, so I guess Bell is sitting on it for the moment.

Bell Helicopter Makes Debut as First Major Helicopter Manufacturer to Exhibit at CES

 

 Posted by at 5:48 pm