Shutdown

Shutdown: Boom

It’s time to buzz the tower.

Image via highpowerrocketry.

Shutdown

Shutdown: Cluster-something

I rather not stand outside for this one.

Image via highpowerrocketry.

Shutdown

Shutdown: APC vs. Tank

Although the after picture of the tank might just look identical to the before.

Image via highpowerrocketry.

Shutdown

Shutdown: Gif Week

Welcome to Gif Week, an unofficial celebration that is simply the week where I happened upon five military weapon related gifs. Since there happen to be five Shutdowns in the week, what could we do but end with one a day?!

Gif via highpowerrocketry.

Moments in History

Big Bad Blackbirds

P1050476

The alternate title for this post should probably be Bill Weaver: The Biggest Badass You Might Not Know. What most of you likely do know is that the SR-71 was a) awesome, and b) developed after/with the single-seat A-12. Mr. Weaver’s tale harkens back to the early days of testing and wringing out the kinks of the SR-71. I don’t want to retell the entire tale, just wet your whistle and send you over to read for yourself, but let me assure you, the whole story is definitely worth reading!

The flight in question, which Weaver calls his “most memorable”, occurred on Jan. 25, 1966, and along with him was Jim Zwayer, who was a Lockheed flight test reconnaissance and navigation systems specialist. Those recon and nav systems were one test focus, and the other bits of beta testing were “procedures designed to reduce trim drag and improve high-Mach cruise performance. The latter involved flying with the center-of-gravity (CG) located further aft than normal, which reduced the Blackbird’s longitudinal stability.” Reducing stability usually doesn’t sound like a good idea, but it can offer performance enhancements in certain flight regimes, much like having a racecar drive “loose” can make a car a faster on a given track.

After in-flight refuelling for the second leg of their flight, and accelerating to Mach 3.18, they initiated a 35 degree banked right turn. It was at this point they experienced a benign sounding “inlet unstart”. That unstart was actually a bit of a big deal. In Weaver’s words, “the right engine inlet’s automatic control system malfunctioned, requiring a switch to manual control. The SR-71′s inlet configuration was automatically adjusted during supersonic flight to decelerate air flow in the duct, slowing it to subsonic speed before reaching the engine’s face. This was accomplished by the inlet’s center-body spike translating aft, and by modulating the inlet’s forward bypass doors. Normally, these actions were scheduled automatically as a function of Mach number, positioning the normal shock wave (where air flow becomes subsonic) inside the inlet to ensure optimum engine performance.

Without proper scheduling, disturbances inside the inlet could result in the shock wave being expelled forward–a phenomenon known as an “inlet unstart.” That causes an instantaneous loss of engine thrust, explosive banging noises and violent yawing of the aircraft–like being in a train wreck. Unstarts were not uncommon at that time in the SR-71′s development, but a properly functioning system would recapture the shock wave and restore normal operation.”

What if the aircraft was in a relatively hard right turn and the right engine unstart did not clear? Here is your teaser: “AS FULL AWARENESS took hold, I realized I was not dead, but had somehow separated from the airplane.” Got you curious to read the rest? Hit the jump and follow the link, plus bonus SR-71 links!!

Continue reading Big Bad Blackbirds

Startup

Startup: Early Skill Development

“Hang on a sec. I can see my school from here.”

 

Airborne Awesomosity

Built to Scale

Scale B-17_Bally-B-17-Engine-Next-To-Cessna-140-Outside

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

Startup

Startup: Russian Ingenuity

Not to be outdone by the Swiss army knife, the Soviets came up with their own multitool. Perfect for when you’re looking for a single implement to kill someone, hack up the body, then bury it. I think I know what I’m getting The Professor for Christmas!

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Moments in History, Uncategorized

“LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Carrier donuts

Carrier donuts

U-turn!

USS Coral Sea (CV-43) – the 3rd and final ship of the WWII era Midway class Aircraft Carriers, shows off with a demonstration of just how incredibly maneuverable these ships were, 1953.

Along with her older sisters USS Midway (CV-41) and USS Franklin D Rosevelt (CV-42), these triplets were the US Navy’s first “Super-carriers” as they were then known, a superlative that would eventually come to describe the much larger Forrestal design, and even more so those that followed. But for nearly a decade, these three remained the largest and most capable warships in the world.

They had some inherent sea-keeping issues such as a low freeboard – the flightdeck wasn’t very high so bluewater (unbroken waves) would regularly crash over the bow in high seas. And they tended to bob like corks… especially the Midway which had its hull widened to address the freeboard issue, only to create an even bigger monster with a fast roll center, which also caused the ship to corkscrew in rough weather.  It was such a wild ride our system’s gyros would regularly go on the fritz during storms, necessitating a trip up the aft radar tower to fix them, in the rain, in the dark, with only a red penlight to see with, trying not to short anything out or electrocute yourself while planes tried in vain to land down below you. Good times!

These 3 sisters were known to cause the sea-legs of even the saltiest sailors to wobble as they chewed on crackers, even more so than the smaller escort ships that accompanied her (which we joked went over one wave, then under two). They certainly put hair on the chest of all who sailed upon her decks.

BUT, they could also turn on Neptune’s dime.

Nearly 40 years after the lead photo was taken, in February 1991 we would have some fun with that maneuverability Continue reading “LEFT FULL RUDDER!”

Genius Innovators

The Other Tucker

med_tucker_tank

The film about Mr. Preston Tucker always intrigued me as a kid.  Perhaps it speaks to the quality raising that I got that it was a movie we owned and watched frequently, but even today when I think of Tuckers I think about that stylized version of his life, and how The Man kept trying to keep him down.  One thing from the movie that I thought was awesome was the armored car he develops first, which really has only a bit part in the movie.  I think, though, that I wanted one of those about as much as I wanted a Tucker car, because it was faster than anything else on the battlefield!  Too fast for the government to buy!  Nothing is cooler to a 10 year old, well, very little anyhow, than a fighting machine that doesn’t get built because it is too fast.

I recently came across the lead image you see on the Modern Mechanix website, and it jogged my memory on this machine, and I decided to find out more.  Hit the jump, and let’s discover the other Tucker!

Continue reading The Other Tucker

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