Airborne Awesomosity

On a Float!

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In the late 1940s, one of many US Air Force research projects was being conducted by the EDO company, attempting to modify an aircraft such that it could be operated from ice and snow as well as from water. The testbed was a Grumman OA-9 Goose, modified with a hydro-ski configuration consisting of 4 parts, a main ski, tail ski, and two wing float skis. The concept worked, but was only beachable with the use of a bulky cradle. The flight tests also demonstrated that the primary hydro-ski was the only component required for a successful aquatic takeoff, and this fact attracted US Navy interest in further research and development, to explore the hydro-ski as a means to improve the rough water handling of seaplanes.

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Airborne Awesomosity, Military-Grade Awesome

Flying Boats – How The Mighty Have Fallen

Martin_P6M-2_Seamaster_taking_off

Something Looks a Bit Off But You Can’t Quite Figure It Out

image source – Wikipedia.org

So the end of the line was rapidly approaching for the flying boat but it wasn’t going to go out quietly. The sounds of jets on the water could be heard for miles.

 

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Airborne Awesomosity

Flying Boats – When Mars Doesn’t Involve NASA

Martin Mars Flying Boat

Martin Mars Flying Boat

 

The Mars may have been built in small numbers but it was a success on several levels.

 

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Airborne Awesomosity

Flying Boats – The Princess Is At The Other Castle

Saro_Princess_launch BBCIMG dot co dot uk

No Really Bigger Is Better

[image credit – bbcimg.co.uk]

In postwar Britain there was considerable money, time, and effort spent on trying to keep the colonies nearby. The Brits went to some absurd lengths to create non-stop flights to her farthest territories  utilizing aircraft such as this one.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Of Flying Boats and Fighter Planes

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Top Gun Would Have Been Much Different This Way.

[image source wikipedia.org]

The British were looking for ways to modernize their fighter force and, being from an island, were sure that the water was the key.

 

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space Archives: Two If By Sea

In our continuing look at the Air & Space Museum’s Fly Now! poster collection, I present to you some more fine flying boat and floatplane posters from the early days of air travel. Once, the seaplane was seen as the natural way for air travel to work. People were already used to traveling to seaports, and little infrastructure had to be built to support them. The planes just needed a nice calm stretch of water. Once the modern airliners like the DC-2 came into existence, and opened up air travel across the country, the passenger seaplane began its slow decline. No longer did people have to take a long train ride to get to the seaport/airport, the land based airport could be right in their hometown. These posters date from the good old days, so let’s take a look!

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Airborne Awesomosity

Air & Space Archives: Imperial Flying Boats

In order to break up the Fly Now! poster collection of the Smithsonian Air & Space museum into manageable sections, I tried to find some general categories which I could group the images into. One such category is a type of plane that has always tickled my fancy–the flying boat. Starting today, and over the next few Sundays, we’ll be focusing on these gentle giants. The first group up highlights Imperial Airways, an early British commercial long range air transport company, operating from 1924 to 1939. This airline serviced not only much of Europe, but also the Empire routes to South Africa, India and the Far East.

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Airborne Awesomosity

Ekoreanoplan

The mostly-Russian concept of the ekranoplan is something we tend to discuss around here with a wistful tone of what-might-have-been. It’s a highly-specialized conveyance that likely makes sense on the vastness of the Black Sea or some beautiful frozen lake in the Urals but maybe not so much here in arid Alberta or ironing-board Kansas or wherever else our esteemed readership may reside. So imagine this Toasterfile’s surprise when I stumbled across ekranoplan action going on in South Korea, a land that does not have a single natural lake. Continue reading Ekoreanoplan

Giant F*ck-Off Aircraft, Military-Grade Awesome, Pushing Boundaries

Black Sea Beast

On Tuesday engineerd presented us with the incredible LCAC hovercraft. And while it is a mind-blowing piece of hardware, it’s not the mind-blowingest hovercraft in the world. Yes, leave it to the Russians to always build something bigger.

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Spaceheads

Watch Discovery Fly Overhead, for the very last time – Tonight!

Around the world in HOW many days?

Those Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines

Yesterday on 7 March 2011, the Space Shuttle Discovery departed from the International Space Station to begin her last de-orbit from space, and is scheduled to land in Florida on Wednesday afternoon, March 9 at 11:57 a.m. EST. That’s 8:57am for you west coasters. Her next flight will be atop the special 747 Jumbo-Jet Shuttle Carrier while being delivered to a lucky and yet to be announced museum, where she will be enshrined to be admired for generations to come.

However, some of you in the northern states and Europe still have one last chance to see her in her natural environment, as she de-orbits overhead on the way home. It is quite easy to pick out even with the bare eyes, even in brightly lit cities. All you need to know is where and when to look. Continue reading Watch Discovery Fly Overhead, for the very last time – Tonight!

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