Airborne Awesomosity

Dassault’s Canarded Killer


In the mid-1970s, France’s air force and navy both wanted to upgrade their fighter jets. Instead of developing their own, they decided to team up with several other European countries to help share costs. Nobody could agree on requirements, how much of the plane would be built in what country, and what color the needles on the gages should be. So, France wound up going it alone. The result is the Dassault Rafale, which has the distinction of being one of the few European aircraft developed and built almost completely in a single country. It’s decidedly French, and quite beautiful.

Hit the jump to watch a video.

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Genius Innovators

The Gift of France

First photograph of a person. Watch your souls.

First photograph of a person. Watch your souls.

Following the progress of technology can be pretty interesting. The camera obscura we looked at yesterday played a huge role in the development of the first camera photography. Up until the 1820s, the camera obscura would allow artists to project and image and paint it. However, our modern idea of photography is a photochemical process. That process did come along until Nicéphore Niépce created the first photograph in 1822 when he used a camera obscura to project an image on a plate with bitumen. The bitumen would harden as it was exposed to light and then the soft bitumen could be washed away. Exposure times were measured in hours and possibly days.

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Startup: Slick Inventions

This is thread seal tape – created as a replacement for pipe dope to help seal and lubricate threaded pipes in plumbing. Keeps ’em water tight, but still easy to open. How? Because it’s coated (like so many things) in Teflon. Polytetrafloroethylene (PTFE), like many great inventions, was accidentally created. In 1938 DuPont was […]

Prototypes and Experiments, Startup

Startup: VTOL, or “What Goes Up…”

As a pilot, I'd insist that the control tower refer to me as "Buck Rogers".

This stunning piece of engineering is the SNECMA Coleoptere. It was designed by the French in the 1950’s as a Vertical Takeoff and Landing (VTOL) craft that would have the ability to launch from quite literally anywhere in […]