One of WW2′s most impressive technological leaps, the Me 163 Komet, actually proved to be one of its least effective. The Me 163, with its Walter HWK 109-509A-2 liquid-fuel rocket, had a top speed of nearly 1,000 km/h and a range of only 40 km. The two Mk 108 30mm cannons on the [...]
You’ve no doubt seen how the X-15 got up into the air and then dropped off for some sweet rocket flight, but have you ever wondered how it got from rocketing along to what you see above, settling gently back to the earth? Well, wonder no more; instead, hit the jump and check out a handy little diagram outlining a ‘typical’ landing pattern!
Continue reading Learn the Landing Pattern
The idea of building your own, well, anything really, I think, holds some certain appeal. Your hands built the kit car, the dining room table, the circuit boards inside your computer, and I think that gives a greater appreciation when you use the thing you built. A fellow by the name of Jack Bally has taken the idea of a home-built aircraft to a whole different level, with a quite exacting 1/3 scale replica of a B-17 bomber, made to be a flyable manned aircraft. Not quite completed yet, you can see it above parked next to a 2 passenger Cessna 140, which gives you a sense of the size of this plane. The wingspan is 34ft 7in, and the four engines are Hirth 3002 4-cylinder 2-strokes that will make around 60 horsepower apiece. The air frame for the mini-17 is all handmade out of aluminum, and the landing gear is retractable, just like the real deal. Continue reading Built to Scale
The early 20th century was a time of rapidly expanding technology, and one of the side effects of this technology growth was a rapid shrinking of the size of the world, figuratively speaking. The frontiers of the world were all being explored, and the idea of global travel was becoming increasingly popular. From Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days to contests with a Earth-spanning adventure as a prize, the sort of globetrotting we take for granted had captured much of the world’s imagination.
Continue reading Spiro-Graf
Designing any sort of, well, anything really, usually ends up being a trade off of form versus function versus limitations, and aircraft are certainly no different. The fact that they are machines that have to fly might even highlight the trade-offs even more in some instances. Engineers may be smart folk, but it seems they are not without humor, and rummaging around through the random stuff I have on my computer, I came across this little dream sheet. It is the ideal aircraft, as perceived by the different engineering groups on a project. This little bit of humorous history was saved by my grandfather, and was published in Lockheed Vega Magazine back in 1943 (as noted by said grandfather at the bottom of the page.) Hit the jump and see the full image!
Continue reading Design Priority
In 1948, the US Air Force looked into its crystal ball (located deep in the Pentagon’s F ring) and saw the future. A jet-powered future sans pilot. Within days they had called Ryan Aeronautical Company and ordered them to begin building the future. The Firebee made its first prototype flight in 1951, over 60 years ago, and went into full production in 1955. It is still in service.
Continue reading Drone Wars: 58 Years Young
I love pizza. Mrs. engineerd™ and I have pizza at least once a week. We have a fantastic neighborhood pizza place which, despite being about a 10 minute walk away, delivers hot pies to our doorstep. Domino’s Pizza’s UK and Ireland franchisee is looking to revolutionize the art of pizza delivery. OK, not really. It was a promotional stunt that is working because everyone (including us) is talking about it. What if your pizza was delivered by drone? Hit the jump for a look at the future of pizza delivery.
Continue reading Drone Wars: Pizza’s Future
There’s a lot of hulubaloo being made over drones these days. Particularly the type that spy on people. Nations are flying them as part of their armed forces, cities are flying them as part of their police services, and private citizens are flying them to see that hottie down the street sunbathe in her back yard. Nearly all of these systems can trace their lineage through the Canadair CL-89. “Midge”, as it was known by the British troops that flew her, did exactly what these modern drones do, but started doing it in 1964.
Continue reading Drone Wars: Blame Canada
Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin was a man obsessed. He was obsessed with creating an air ship that could transport people and materials around the globe. In 1884 the idea of manned flight was primarily driven by hot air balloons. The problem with hot air balloons is they can only carry a few people at a time. And they catch fire. Herr Zeppelin attended a speech by Heinrich von Stephan regarding world postal services and air travel using a lighter-than-air craft constructed of a rigid outer frame and large bladders filled with some sort of gas.
Continue reading Steerable Air Train
Canada, for those of you unaware, is a very large country by landmass. Since most of that land is constantly frozen by Old Man Winter, vast portions of the country are uninhabited. In the mid-1920s, the RCAF put out a spec for a flying boat that they could use to photograph and map out these portions of the country. Somehow, they decided that “beware of Samsquamches“, “ice weasel breeding zone”, and “ogres be here” were no longer appropriate for the official government maps.
Continue reading Canadian Vickers Vedette: Mapping Canada