Airborne Awesomosity

Japan’s Suicidal Rocket Plane


Japan, not wanting to be outdone by their German ally, also wanted in on the rocket plane frenzy. However, due to cultural differences at the time, their rocketplane would be less fighter and more cruise missile…with a pilot.

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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

Great Scams in History

That’s No Ordinary House

The Allies seem to have been pretty obsessed with diversion and camouflage during WW2. The house you see above is part of that obsession. It is part of the Green Street Bunker built in West End (Townsville), Queensland by the Royal Australian Air Force. Construction of the bunker, located on the outskirts of […]

Military-Grade Awesome

M3A1 Scout Car

M3A1 Scout Car

One of my IT guys recently told me that one of the things that makes me more likable than most engineers is I’m willing to admit when I don’t know something. Let’s face it, us engineers tend to be the classical “know it all”. Well, when I came across this beast at the Motor Muster (read about it on our sister site Hooniverse) I had to admit I didn’t know much. I knew that’s a 50-cal BMG up top and two 30-cal BMGs on either side, but that was the extent of it.

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Military-Grade Awesome

Sub-Sonic: Britain’s Hedgehog


Yesterday we looked at a less than successful weapon developed by the awesomely named Directorate of Miscellaneous Weapons Development. Today, we look at one that was much more successful. Not to be confused with the Soviet Fire Hedgehog, the British Hedgehog was an anti-submarine weapon that actually proved more deadly than depth charges.

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Idiotic or Inspired?

Panjandrums and Other Nonsense


So she went into the garden to cut a cabbage-leaf to make an apple-pie; and at the same time a great she-bear, coming up the street, pops its head into the shop. “What! No soap?” So he died, and she very imprudently married the barber; and there were present the Picninnies, and the Joblillies, and the Garyulies, and the grand Panjandrum himself, with the little round button at top, and they all fell to playing the game of catch-as-catch-can till the gunpowder ran out at the heels of their boots.

That quote from Samuel Foote was a test of his rival Charles Macklin’s assertion that he could memorize any text after hearing it only once. It also was the inspiration for the naming of a two-ton spinning wheel of Nazi death during WWII.

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Genius Innovators

The Other Tucker


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!

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Military-Grade Awesome

Solothurn S-18/1000: Swiss-Built German Design Considered By USA


After the first World War, Germany was banned from producing weapons of war. However, they were not the type to just sit back and let the world tell them what they can and can’t do. No sirree, Ralf. Instead, they bought or started companies in countries not affected by these rules. Such is the case of the Solothurn firearms company. Technically a Swiss company, it was wholly owned by Rheinmetall, a Germany company. With this arrangement, Rheinmetall could design firearms and Solothurn could manufacture them.

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Startup: Mobile Paradise

This is the USS Shangri-La, an aircraft carrier whose naming marked a radical departure from convention, and which was the end result of a cheeky off-handed remark from US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt. Shangri-La was, of course, the fictional far-off paradise from James Hilton’s novel “Lost Horizon”. When Jimmy Doolittle — the same […]

Moments in History

Blitz Bombing

On my honeymoon, Mrs. engineerd™ and I had the fortune to visit two very historic cities — London and Paris. My wife, hardly a nostalgic person, noted that her favorite of the two was London. Part of this was a language thing, but the other part was, and I quote, “Paris is so old.” I pointed out to her that if Britain had capitulated, they would have kept most of their old buildings as well.

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