A photo of another Vought ADAM concept model, this being a subsonic VTOL airliner. It is here shown in USAF markings.

A photo from a  NASA report showing the tail end of a B-70, with engine #3 removed. The B-70 was a carefully shaped vehicle, every line and curve designed to let the beast of a bomber cruise at Mach 3+. But the engine bay was basically just six square holes in the back that the engines were stuffed into.

At Mach 3, fairing in those gaps just wouldn’t have been worth the bother.

While this almost looks like the final Space Shuttle system, the boosters here are pressure fed liquid rockets rather than solids. Note that the boosters required a very wide base… the lower density propellants require larger cross-section engines for the same thrust levels.

I missed this one in the news, back in early October:

NASA Awards $1.35 Million For Efficient Flight

A Slovenian company, Pipistrel, designed,  built and flew an electric aircraft and won a bucket of money from NASA. The Taurus G4 is a Rutan-esque double-fuselage design modeled on sailplanes, featuring a two-prop engine pod on the centerline. It was able to fly 200 miles at 107 MPH, and achieve the equivalent of 403 “passenger miles per gallon.”

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Getting this sort of performance out of an electric *car* would be one hell of an achievement. If this sort of aircraft could be made commercially available at a reasonable price, it could revolutionize air travel by making the operational cost of private aviation almost trivially cheap (at six bucks per av-gas gallon, the Taurus G4  could  carry a passenger 2,000 miles for about thirty bucks. Sure, it’d take 20 hours to go that 2,000 miles, but it’s faster than a train or a car by a wide margin. Range seems to be about 300 miles, by which point it would have to land and recharge. That is of course the weak point… recharging could take hours, unless the battery pack can be simply and quickly swapped out.

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Of course, if this or a similarly-performing aircraft *can* be made safely and cost effectively… expect the FAA to do whatever it can to prevent wide adoption. The last the the FAA wants is for private air travel to become more popular in the US…

A Vought photo showing a range of display models of single seat fighter/ground attack types. While the designs are roughly similar, subtle changes can be seen from iteration to iteration. Note, for example, how the distinct separate inlets gradually transform into integrated inlets.

An “F-1 Glideback” booster… basically a winged Saturn V S-Ic first stage. Every major American aerospace corporation studied variants of this basic idea. Most used delta wings and a single vertical stabilizer, but a wide range of configurations was put forward. This particular design does not seem to have turbojet engines, which would make it very difficult for the booster to make it back to the launch site.

More on F-1 Flyback boosters can be found in issue V1N2 of Aerospace Project Review.

Below is concept art from North American Aviation depicting a manned hypersonic airbreathing vehicle… presumably using scramjets (not a certainty, however). It was clearly painted by the same artist, using the same technique, as this rendering of the Manned Hypersonic Test Vehicle-3 (MHTV-3). Date is uncertain, but is from the latter portion of the 1960′s. This design might be the MHTV-1, -2, or something completely other. As with a lot of concept art from decades ago, it was found without context… in this case, a transparency found at a yard sale.

The aircraft features six engines, three on either side of a semi-conical fuselage. A ventral ridge runs from the nose past the engine exhausts;panel lines indicate that the landing gear was contained within this ridge. Another line behind the cockpit indicates that the forward fuselage could pop off in the event of an emergency. Downward angled wingtips indicate B-70-like compression lift; a large expansion ramp  forms the aft end of the rather tubby fuselage.

You can download a 5.7 megabyte JPG file of the artwork; the link  is HERE.

Gah.

Lights Out For The Airborne Laser

It’s apparently not *all* bad news. While the ABL has been making progress, it’s far over budget, and thus an obvious target for budget cuts. But the USAF claims to have entirely new laser technology coming down the pike which will allow similar laser capability to be put on unmanned aircraft (type undescribed) within a few years. If this means something akin to Global Hawk, then that would mean a rather staggering decrease in system mass, and presumably cost. Which would, at least in principle, allow the skies to be filled with laser-armed aircraft.

The F-35 would be an obvious platform… the bay for the forward lift-jet would make a dandy location for a laser. Without a major sensor upgrade, an F-35 based anti-missile system seems unlikely, but an F-35 based laser-ground-attack system seems possible. Such a laser system would also be an obvious addition to the weapons complement of the AC-130.

APR issues used to be published with a mishmash of of 8.5X11 and 11X17 pages. When I started releasing issues on MagCloud, APR became an all-8.5X11 publication.

However, there are oftentimes illustrations that would benefit from being on 11X17, such as many in issue V3N2. Additionally, there are often more illustrations than can be conveniently added to a coherent article. So I have put together an addendum for V3N2, including a number of larger-format illustrations and some new ones that didn’t make it into V3N2. This includes:

  • 1/72 scale CAD drawings from the F-23 derivatives article (they were 1/144 scale in V3N2)
  • 1/96 scale CAD drawings of the FB-23 (formerly 1/144 scale)
  • Larger-size and additional color renderings of the F-23A and NATF-23 by artist Ken Scott
  • Larger-size versions of the “Christmas Fighter,” YF-23, F-23A and NATF-23 diagrams
  • Larger-size and additional diagrams covering the STAR Clipper and derivatives

The V3N2 Addendum can be picked up HERE.

A three-view drawing of the North American Rockwell FX, dated June 1969, with a good deal of dimensional and other data. Note the large ventral fins which fold out of the way for takeoff and landing.

A kinda-high resolution version of the diagram can be downloaded HERE.

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