Apr 032012

In 1960, Bell Aircraft released several paintings depicting a two-stage hypersonic passenger transport. The first stage was a multi-engined supersonic jet of fairly conventional configuration (though with very large 50,000 lb-thrust turboramjet engines), carrying on its back a rocket-powered second stage. The second stage was clearly influenced by Bell work on the Dyna Soar program.

The carrier would transport the second stage to an altitude of 20 miles and 5,300 mph. After release, the second stage would boost to 40 miles and speeds up to 15,000 miles per hour, permitting travel times from Los Angeles to Paris of one hour and four minutes for the thirty passengers on board. The vehicle was intended to enter service in the 1980-1990 timeframe.

Weight for the combined vehicle at takeoff would be 750,000 pounds. Span of the booster was 150 feet, length 200 feet. It’s unclear if this was a serious engineering design or purely speculative. Paintings and a display model show some notable differences.

A high-rez of this can be downloaded HERE.

 Posted by at 9:33 am
Mar 272012

A Lockheed artists impression of the L-1011 jetliner. Notice something a little amiss?


Interesting set of errors that commenters compiled. But what originally jumped out at me was the incredibly small cockpit canopy. I don’t know if this was an error on the artists part (if so, rather a big and blatant one), or if this was some sort of editorial choice. By making the cockpit look small, the aircraft looks large. To me, the aircraft shown in the painting looks to be the size of the A380, if not larger.

 Posted by at 6:32 pm
Mar 272012

While roaming the Mall on Sunday, I saw a number of planes fly behind the Washington Monument. They were banking hard… I guess the flightpath out of Reagan National would naturally cause jetliners to fly too close to downtown D.C., and they have to bank in a hurry so’s Homeland Security doesn’t shoot ‘em down. Or something like that…

Anyway, all the way from the NASM to the Monument, the sky was overcast. That made some of the jetliners pretty spectral, and put a gray cast over everything. It’s interesting to see how the colors in the stone pop out when a little bit of Fade Correction is added to the photos.

Perhaps interestingly, the skies opened up and the sun came out right as I was passing the monument.

 Posted by at 6:22 pm
Mar 242012

Today has been all manner of awesome:

1) A few days ago I traded my 6-yea-old cel phone for a new model. Which was good… the old one was buggy, and the battery was bubbling outwards, I had every expectation of it bursting into flames one me. But this morning I discovered that the alarm on the phone does not go off every day, only Monday through Friday. I of course discovered this an hour after I was supposed to wake up.

2) The effort to install cats into boxes for transport to their boarding location resulted in bloodshed. Fingers knew something was up right off, and put up a valiant struggle.

3) ULTIMATE BETRAYAL: That, I believe, was the look I got from Fingers and Raedthinn as I left them in their temporary steel cage accommodations. Fluffy was just a terrified black dot in the back of the cage; Buttons, as always, was excited for a new grand adventure.

4) Checked in and got through security no problem. My flight was to stop in Houston before transferring to another flight to Reagan Intl near DC. There was only a 35 minute layover between flights; I was assured that this would be time enough. However: the flight to Houston has been delayed by forty minutes. Do the math. So, I had to get another flight. A grand total of *one* seat was available, on a different airline going to a different airport (Dulles). I’ll get to Dulles at 11 PM, then have to take a shuttlebus to the motel. I expect, if *nothing* *else* goes wrong (I’m fully expecting that my checked bag will go to Sydney, Australia), that I won’t actually get to the motel until well into Sunday.

I’m glad I thought ahead far enough to put some buffer here. Losing part of Sunday doesn’t cost the expedition too much, but losing part of Monday would be biting into the point of the exercise.

At least this terminal has free WiFi and numerous power plugs.

 Posted by at 1:47 pm
Mar 212012

The AH-64 Apache is a tough bird. But it’s not tougher than the entire *Earth.* Consequently, you should avoid ramming the Earth with your AH-64…

[youtube kfFnNfszY9M]

 Posted by at 5:32 pm