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


What Ever Became of…K.I.S.S. Design?

When I go to shave, my razor has somewhere in the neighborhood of 18 blades. I drove a rental van this week, and it has alerts on the mirrors for the blind spot, a back up camera,and automatic lights and wipers. The coffee maker in my hotel room requires 7 carefully choreographed steps in order to properly brew one tiny cup of coffee, and then I have to start all over. At what point did the designers of the things we use everyday completely lose sight of the K.I.S.S. principle–Keep It Simple, Stupid. Are we, the consumer, so fascinated by gadgets and gizmos that we cannot accept that one nicely sharpened razor blade might actually work as well as 5 in a row?

Continue reading What Ever Became of…K.I.S.S. Design?