Mar 262015

Germanwings Co-Pilot Deliberately Crashed Airbus Jet, French Prosecutor Says

After a review of the cockpit voice recorder:

1) The pilot and copilot conversed normally until the plane reached cruising altitude and the pilot left

2) The copilot (one Andreas Lubitz, German 28 years old) was heard breathing normally from then on, but remains otherwise silent

3) When the pilot tries to get back into the cockpit, he has been locked out. The door is normally locked, but the crew have keypads to get in… but the pilot had been *intentionally*

4) Passengers can be heard screaming just before the crash

There are no indications that this was religious terrorism. The copilot remained silent during the 8 minutes he was alone; if it was terrorism, you’d expect the pilot to be babbling something akin to “Surt if Awesome” before murdering the plane. Additionally, you’d kinda wonder, if it was terrorism, why the pilot aimed for a mountain rather than, say, a city. But if it wasn’t terrorism… just what was it?

 Posted by at 8:59 am
Mar 162015

Another ebay auction presents a display model of a transport version of the McD Model 260 VTOL from the 1970’s:

s-l1600a s-l1600b s-l1600c s-l1600d s-l1600e s-l1600f s-l1600g s-l1600h s-l1600i s-l1600j

A great many Model 260 variants were designed, all based on the same basic concept: an aircraft shaped much like a corporate jet, featuring a pair of turbofan engines of very high bypass ratio located in shrouds which could unfold to direct the thrust downward for vertical lift and hover. Unlike the Rockwell XFV-12, the Model 260 could probably have worked, but it was never built.

 Posted by at 1:42 pm
Mar 162015

The rules of flying on a jetliner are generally pretty simple. You’re stuck in a small space with a bunch of other people, with minimal room to move around for *hours.* So what should you do? Be quiet, try not to stink, behave yourself. Just spend a few hours trying to get along with the strangers stuck there with you.

Or… screw it. Do like this woman:

Go on a bizarre loud political rant and light up a cigarette. That’ll win you friends among those seated near you. Even  better… when the flight attendants come along to tell you to stop smoking, blame it on the poor schmoe sitting next to you:

According to this purported eye witness, the rant went on for half an hour or so. And, shockingly, there was booze involved. This was even *before* the plane took off, so the police had the opportunity to come aboard and hustler her off.

And finally a mugshot:


She is *reportedly* a sociology professor at a Pennsylvania university.

UPDATE: She is Dr. Karen Bettez Halnon, Associate Professor of Sociology, Penn State, Abington. You want some irony? Well, I got ya covered:

Halnon, K. B. (1995). Women’s agency in Hysteria and its Treatment. Boston College Dissertations and Theses, AAI9613827.

And here is the entirely unsurprising areas of her expertise:

Research and Teaching Areas: racial and ethnic inequality; capitalism and class; White and Black poverty; empire and imperialism; Central or Latin American studies; consumption; music scenes and subcultures; liberation theology; revolution; stigma; symbolic interaction; women and madness; marijuana; sociology of deviance; Marxist theory; postmodernist criticism; ideology

This is why a STEM education is important:

1) If a math or engineering professor gets likkered up before a flight, he/she is very unlikely to go on a rant on the plane about the importance of Poisson’s Ratio or the transcendental nature of Pi.

2) If a physics or electronics professor holds whackadoodle leftist garbage beliefs like this sociology professor… they are unlikely to form a major portion of the classroom curriculum.

It seems to be the libarts where exterior crazy becomes syllabus-mandatory.

Additionally: this is one of those cases where a little bit of room to stretch out might have been handy. When you add booze, cramped conditions and progressive professorial privilege to the reduced oxygen environment of an aircraft, wacky things like this are not unlikely. Perhaps the problem would be lessened by using aircraft with a lower passenger density. For US Transport Projects #3, one of the aircraft described would have been somewhat slower than a standard jetliner, but it would also have provided several square meters of floorspace per passenger. (It was also wholly insane as an operational concept…) With room to stretch out or even sack out, perhaps Crazy Lady here could have simply slept off her issues.

 Posted by at 9:51 am
Mar 132015

A recent ebay auction was for a display model of the early 1970’s McDonnell-Douglas Incremental Growth Vehicle. This was a proposed manned hypersonic “X-Plane,” designed from the ground up to be capable of having major components replaced. This would allow a simple rocket vehicle to be tested first, and then the fuselage could stretch, or new rocket engines tested, or new wings, or new wings, a fuselage stretch and airbreathing engines, whatever the experiment called for.

s-l1600-4 s-l1600-2 s-l1600-3 s-l1600


 Posted by at 10:28 pm
Mar 122015

I have a batch of new large format cyanotype blueprints coming along (the files for the transparencies are at the print shop now). Weather permitting, I should start producing these in a week or so… but the question is: how many to print up? I’m not yet taking orders, but I am trying to gauge interest. So if you see something here you think you’ll want, please let me know via either comment or email. Remember that as well as the cost of the prints there will also be postage… $10 in the US, $18 elsewhere, regardless of how many prints are ordered.

2707-200 Supersonic Transport, 48 inches by 22: $50

2707-200 cutaway 48x22


B-36D, 61 inches by 22: $60

B-36d 61x11


Shuttle diagrams, set A: 41 inches by 11 (two sheets): $50

shuttle setA 41x11


Shuttle diagrams, set B: 41 inches by 11 (five sheets): $125

shuttle setB 41x11


Trident SLBM: 49X11, $25

trident 49x11

 Posted by at 9:34 pm
Mar 042015

While the overall configuration of the Dyna Soar was set (and is well known) well before the program ended, the pilots instrument panel seemed to be in a constant state of flux. A number of mockup photos and diagrams of generally low resolution and/or poor reproduction quality. But a decade ago what appears to have been a decent-quality instrument panel layout was auctioned off:

858: DynaSoar Blueprints Diagrams Photos


So… is there any chance that anyone reading along knows the buyer, or has access to this or a similar instrument panel layout diagram?

PS: if you are interested in the final Model 2050E Dyna Soar design, you could not do much better than to check this out.

 Posted by at 11:05 am
Mar 042015

I happened to notice that the last diagram in US Bomber Projects #13, showing that issues various designs all together at the same scale, was not the actual finalized diagram. So I’ve corrected it. At the same time, I added an equivalent diagram to US Launch Vehicles Projects #01, showing all the boosters to the same scale. If you have previously purchased one or both of these, the info in the email your received with the download instructions will still work if you’d like to download the revised versions.

And if you haven’t purchased these… well, here’s another chance!

 Posted by at 2:00 am
Mar 022015

Two new publications in the US Aerospace Projects series are now available.

Now available: US Bomber Projects #13. This issue includes:

  • Ryan Model 162: A VTOL strike/recon plane
  • Boeing Orbital Bomb: a nuclear-tipped re-entry glider
  • Northrop Atomic Wing: an asymetric nuclear powered design
  • Consolidated Vultee High Speed Flying Boat: an early post-war Skate design
  • Martin Model 189: a canard version of the B-26 Marauder
  • Boeing Model 464-046: A six-engined B-52 predecessor
  • Curtis F-87C: a night fighter with bomber abilities
  • Boeing Model 701-247: a supersonic antecedent of the B-59



USBP #13 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:



Also available: US Launch Vehicle Projects #01. The premiere issue of this new series includes:

  • Pre-Saturn Phase III Vehicles: 1958 concpet for clustered Atlas boosters
  • Boeing “Big Onion”: an SSTO to launch SPS
  • Northrop TAV: an in-flight propellant transfer spaceplane
  • Martin Orbit Project: A 1946 concept for a hydrogen fueled SSTO
  • Saturn V derived HLLV for FLO: A brief Saturn V revival in the early 1990s
  • MSC Orbiter 020: An early Shuttle with straight wings and a single SRB
  • Hammerhead ET: a way for the Shuttle to transport outsized payloads
  • Loral Aquarius: A way to make space launch cheap


uslp 01ad


USLP #01 can be downloaded as a PDF file for only $4:


 Posted by at 3:37 am
Feb 262015

A PDF pieced together from scans found on the Secret Projects forum of Senate testimony on the AIM-95 Agile air-to-air missile. Agile was, as the name might suggest, a close-in “dogfighting” missile, an attempt to incorporate the hard lessons learned by the USAF and USN getting their tails kicked in the skies over Viet Nam by scrappy Russian dogfighters pilots by scrappy Vietnamese pilots. The main advantage that the Agile provided over the Sidewinder was that the infra-red seeker was capable of looking further off boresight… in other words, you didn’t need to point the plane at the enemy before the missile could get a lock-on. While the AIM-95 Agile apparently worked just fine, it was simply cheaper to upgrade the Sidewinder.

The AIM-95 would be steered via vectoring the nozzle rather than aerodynamic control fins. Initial targeting was planned to be done by having a sight integrated into the pilots helmet.. where he looked, the missile looked. The AIM-95 was intended for use by the F-14 and then the F-15 as well, but it never entered service.

The PDF file is HERE.


Much more aerospace stuff is available via the APR Patreon.


 Posted by at 2:06 am