A continuation of a continuation of photos of the USAFM’s YF120 engine.

A continuation of photos of the USAFM’s YF120 engine.

From a 1968 LTV report on a hypersonic test vehicle: a projection of the speeds of aircraft in the future. At the time, it was thought that by the late 1980′s passenger transports would be cruising along at Mach 3 to Mach 4; fighters and bomber would cruise at Mach 5 to Mach 8; and research aircraft would get to Mach 12 to Mach 16.

And it turned out, all three categories of aircraft actually slowed down.

Today , before things went to hell when I got home, I was looking around an office supply store for… ummm… office supplies. Specifically, inkjet business cards. I’m making a few desultory attempts to sell a few of my photo prints, and I’ve printed out a number of business cards using some of my photos as backgrounds. Yay.

I noticed that along with 2X3.5 business cards, also available are postcards, 4.25X5.5, and plain cardstock. And for no readily apparent reason I flashed back to when I was a kid, lo these many long years ago. In those days long before the interweb tubes, I had a few collections of  “trading card” type informational… things. Not really sure what to call ‘em. One was a box of cards each showing a photo and providing info on one of a vast number of animals (dinosaurs included), and another that had cards on various airplanes, tanks, etc.

It dawned on me that the same desktop publishing that lets me crank out my own business cards would allow me to produce “trading cards” of, say, aerospace projects. Art/photo on one side, a small 3-view & data on the other side.

I have little doubt that such a thing – especially with the data available to me today – would have sold well back when I was a kid. But sadly, I suspect that the market for them *today* would be minimal at best.

Irony. Now that I have the technical capability of doing something, the reason for doing so has evaporated.

It looks like Purdue University in Indiana has the canopy from a McDonnell-Douglas A-12 Avenger II, and they’ve put it up for auction. Only a few hours left, so if this is what you’ve been needing to finish that A-12 in the garage… here ya go.

Jet Fighter Canopy

Thought to be from the canceled McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II project, this canopy was obtained through the acquisition of a trailer to which the canopy was mounted. This is a wiki link to the failed A-12 II project: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/McDonnell_Douglas_A-12_Avenger_II.

Included is the canopy as pictured and a small box of miscellaneous parts. The large plastic wrapped item visible in some of the pictures is not part of the canopy and is not included with this auction.

Bidders may inspect the property prior to bidding.


A North American Rockwell design from March of 1971 for a Phase B Shuttle design. The Orbiter and the External Tank are certainly recognizable, but the solid rocket boosters are here replaced with a single liquid propellant booster located underneath the external tank. Equipped with four uprated F-1 rockets engines, it had the same tank diameter as the S-IC stage from the Saturn V. The Orbiters engines would ignite after first stage separation.  With a gross liftoff weight of 5,274,000 pounds, payload was 40,000 pounds into polar orbit. Splashdown weight of the booster was 460,000 pounds.

A piece of concept art from McDonnell-Douglas showing an early design for the F-15.

The most obvious difference from the final design is the wholly different main wing planform. Almost as obvious is the pointier nose. Less obvious, at this stage the design had two fairly substantial ventral fins directly under the dorsal vertical stabilizers… and the engine nozzles were 2-dimensional vectoring nozzles much like those in use on the F-22.

Sitting next to the YF-23 at the US Air Force Museum in Dayton, OH (or at least it was a few years ago) is an example of the General Electric YF120. The YF120 was in competition with the Pratt & Whitney YF119; both the YF-23 and the YF120 lost their respective competitions. The YF120 was an advanced engine, capable of efficient operation at low speed as well as supersonic. As shown here, it was equipped with a vectoring nozzle providing pitch axis control. Thrust was around 35,000 pounds.

A photo of a display model of a Vought transport aircraft using the ADAM (Air Deflection And Modulation) system for vertical thrust. Note six small turbojets – two in the forward fuselage, four in wingtip pods – drive four large fans embedded in the wings. Process essentially the same as the V-460 design.

Thanks to Mark Nankivil.

Lockheed F-35B takeoff/landing tests on board the USS Wasp. Some pretty spiffy footage of vertical landings and short takeoffs… pay special attention to the effect of the jet blast on the water.

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