May 202015

So I decided to check in on the Amazon Kindle versions of the US Bomber Projects (available HERE) to see how they’re doing, after I recently uploaded a bunch of new ones. As it turns out: wow. Bad. So, that’s that, I guess.

I also decided to check on the reviews, of which there are very few. Now, checking reviews of stuff you’ve worked hard on is always asking for trouble; *maybe* someone will say something complementary; *maybe* someone will give a negative feedback that provides useful information. But as this is the internet, you’re like as not going to get a response like this:


Huh. Not a fan, I guess.

Interestingly, the same reviewer posted an equally negative (though grammatically confounding) review of another issue of the Kindle USBP back in February. One wonders why he would buy a second issue if the first was so bad, but he has posted 140 separate reviews of items, indicating he likes to review stuff, I guess.

Just in case, here’s the recent issue in question:

 Posted by at 10:10 pm
May 192015

Photos of some of the aerospace history I’ve been able to purchase lately thanks to the APR Patreon. If you’d like to help out and get in on this action, please check out the APR Patreon page.

WP_20150519_009 WP_20150519_010 WP_20150519_011 WP_20150519_004 WP_20150519_005 WP_20150519_006 WP_20150519_007 WP_20150519_008 WP_20150519_012 WP_20150519_013

And then there’s this. While I haven’t managed to get hold of the actual item, I have gotten full-color scans of this, in chunks. I am now piecing it together into one gigantic whole.


 Posted by at 10:09 pm
May 142015

GE went and built themselves a tiny little turbojet using a Direct Metal Laser Melting process. Not *quite* and simple as hitting “print” and then popping the engine into the test stand; very brief mention is made of some necessary  post-processing including machining and polishing. Still, these little hobby-size turbojets are, as I understand it, machining nightmares; if the pricing is competitive (something I rather doubt at the moment), then perhaps we can *all* have little RC cruise missiles. Just the thing to give the FAA fits.

These Engineers 3D Printed a Mini Jet Engine, Then Took it to 33,000 RPM

 Posted by at 8:24 pm
May 142015

A brief article on a Japanese mini-shuttle, photographed from an issue of “Space World” magazine a few months back (sadly, I didn’t catch the date of the article, but it would have been sometime in the early/mid 1980’s). This is, I believe, an early design of the “HOPE” spaceplane which was more or less Japans answer to the French Hermes spaceplane. This mini-shuttle would have been a little bigger than the Dyna Soar from twenty years earlier, but equipped not only with its own onboard rocket propulsion system but also a pair of turbojets of atmospheric propulsion.



 Posted by at 10:22 am
May 102015

This photo was passed to me to identify. Much of it looks like the Grumman G-623 VTOL fighter concept from the mid 1970s (illustrated below), but the tail is obviously entirely different and the nose is much pointier. It’s my guess that the model might represent an early version of the G-623 design. Can anyone confirm/deny?


The Grumman G-623:


 Posted by at 10:10 pm
May 042015

As a “2001” nut, it was my goal to incorporate as much of the relevant technological backstory into my history of how to get from 1968 to 2001 as was available. A new bit of “2001” data has come to my attention… and, wow, I’m having a hard time rationalizing it.

In the scene where astronaut Frank Poole is shown blandly eating his meal on the Discovery’s centrifuge, you can see him reading something on his paper-thin tablet device. There is of course zero possibility of making out just what he’s reading. You’d expect it to be just a page of random text… but no, this was a Stanley Kubrick film, and the whole page was fiction created just for this. And apparently that page of text was preserved and published in the “Stanley Kubrick Catalog,” which I’ve not seen. But a small scan of the “newspaper article” was posted HERE, and is just barely legible. I’ve blown it up and cleaned it a bit, and the whole thing tells a rather remarkable tale.

It seems Atlantic Airlines flight  423 was presumed lost somewhere between New York and London. That’s not terribly interesting in and of itself. But AA flight 423  was a Mach 3-capable HEP/COMM 11-Z4 airliner with 12 engines, 2,109 passengers and 199 crew (including 11 pilots). Why the hell an aircraft capable of Mach 3 flying from New York to London would need *eleven* pilots is anybodies guess.

In the world of “2001,” I can easily assume the existence of Mach 3, 70,000 ft-altitude jetliners. I can grimace and kinda accept Mach 3 airliners with more than 2,000 passengers. But 200 crew? Nope. Sorry. Willing suspension of disbelief system failure.

2001 NYT article

Note that supersonic aircraft are described as “Mark 2″ and “Mark 3″ capable, which I’m guessing means an editing failure, as it would’ve made more sense for them to be “Mach 2″ and “Mach 3″ capable. I know, shocking… the press making dumb errors about techmologicamal stuff, even in the far distant era of 2001.

 Posted by at 11:04 pm
May 042015

A piece of artwork from General Dynamics, circa 1963, illustrating their AMPSS (Advanced Manned Precision Strike System) design. This was a predecessor program to the AMSA (Advanced Manned Strategic Aircraft – a.k.a. Americas Most Studied Aircraft) that was a predecessor to the B-1 program. The General Dynamics design shown here is very similar to (possibly the same as, though the engine arrangement and canopy frames look a little different) the design presented in US Bomber Projects issue #6, available here and here. This was much like a scaled-up F-111 in terms of overall configuration, especially visible around the cockpit. However, few if any actual components would carry over. GD AMSA

I have made the full-rez version of this scan available at the APR Patreon for $4-and-up patrons. It is in the APR Patreon “Extras” Dropbox, in the 2015-05 folder.

 Posted by at 11:23 am