April 16, 2006

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (IL-28 "Beagle")

This week's entry is the first Russian jet bomber, the Ilyushin IL-28 (nicknamed the "Beagle" in NATO jargon):




(Images found here and here).

Posted by JohnL at 10:04 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack
April 02, 2006

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (SAAB 37 Viggen)

Swedish planes are a lot sexier than their cars, if not their women. The Saab 37 Viggen is no exception, although I think it looks better from the top or bottom than in profile:

Saab 37 Takeoff.jpg


Saab AJSH-37 Viggen.jpg

Images found here and here.

(Incidentally, the word viggen means thunderbolt, particularly one issued from Thor's warhammer, Mjölner).

Posted by JohnL at 10:31 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack
March 26, 2006

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F-14 Tomcat)





(Images found here and here).

After more than 30 years of distinguished service to the US Navy, the last two squadrons of F-14 Tomcats ended their final combat deployments about two weeks ago. A couple of nice articles about this milestone event can be found here and here.

Check out this nice tribute video, too:

Q: Why is this awesome war machine being retired without (according to many) an adequate replacement (the Super Hornet lacks the range and power of the F-14)?

A: Maintenance expenses and age (the two are related).

Check out this comment from a former jet mechanic, giving a hint of the issues he (and other mechs) would face. Note also his love for the plane:

Posted Thu 16 March 2006 16:17

Thu 16 March 2006 16:17
As a retired Jet Mech. (AD1), last serving with the Tophatters of VF-14 at NAS Oceana in 1995, I am left with a sentimental lump in my throat as an era of Naval Aviation comes to a close. As labor intensive as they were, it was a proud sight and feeling to witness the awesome vibration and thunder on the TF-30 turbofans as the throttles were advanced to zone five behind the JBD's. Call it a labor of love I supose but intense it was. It was a nightmare for the hazmat P.O. trying to keep up with the constant mess of leaking hydraulic fluid and JP-5 under the engines forward fixed cowlings. As physics would prove, anything that was that fast and could turn on a dime and endured massive G- forces would naturally leak fluid from somewhere. A chapter in Naval Aviation to be admired and cherished for many years to come. Good-bye my friend!!

Posted by JohnL at 09:12 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack
March 19, 2006

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F-22 Raptor)

The F-22 Raptor (all images via FAS):

F-22 Front Angle.jpg



Posted by JohnL at 09:12 PM | Comments (6) | | TrackBack
October 09, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (B-47 Stratojet)

America's first swept-wing multi-engine jet bomber, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet:


Rocket-assisted takeoff:

Posted by JohnL at 11:30 PM | Comments (0) | | TrackBack
October 02, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (XFV-1)

We return, briefly perhaps, after an extended hiatus...

The unconventional, tail-sitting Lockheed XFV-1 was the prototype for a proposed U.S. Navy vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) point-defense interceptor. Designed to take off vertically, transition into conventional wings-level flight and then transition back to the vertical for landing, the airplane was powered by a 5,850 horsepower turboprop engine driving a pair of huge, three-bladed contra-rotating propellers. Fitted with a temporary undercarriage, the XFV-1 was first flown in a conventional mode at Edwards on June 16, 1954. Although, while in flight, it did demonstrate successful transitions from conventional into the vertical mode and back, its engine lacked sufficient power to guarantee safe VTOL operations and the whole concept of tail-sitting aircraft was soon abandoned in favor of designs employing vectored jet thrust.

- Photo and text via Edwards AFB

Posted by JohnL at 11:08 PM | Comments (0) | | TrackBack
September 27, 2005

RIP, Marta Bohn-Meyer


Test pilot Marta Bohn-Meyer died last week in a crash of an aerobatic plane in Oklahoma.

Sadly ironic that she would die in a little single-engine prop plane after a career that included flying one of NASA's SR-71s at three times the speed of sound in high altitude tests at Dryden Flight Research Center in California.


Posted by JohnL at 11:37 PM | Comments (4) | | TrackBack
August 16, 2005

Seventh Moscow International Air Show

I know that I have been remiss in posting the regular Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake around here, and for that I apologize.

I hope to get some decent images from the reports on the just-opened MAKS 2005 (the seventh annual International Aviation and Space Salon in Moscow).

Here are several articles to get up to speed on the events for the coming week.

Just one little pic so far -- the new MiG29OVT, the first twin engine jet fighter to employ multiaxis (versus 2D) thrust vectoring. At least according to this article, from which I grabbed the pic.


Posted by JohnL at 10:52 PM | Comments (0) | | TrackBack
July 10, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (The Red Arrows)

As a tribute to our good friends in the UK who have suffered much this week, this week's cheesecake serving features some images of the Royal Air Force's Red Arrows aerobatic team:

Red Arrows.jpg

Red Arrows 1.jpg

Red Arrows 2.jpg

Posted by JohnL at 09:34 PM | Comments (1) | | TrackBack
July 03, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (B-36 Peacemaker)

Made only in Texas.

Part prop, part jet.

All badass.

The B-36 Peacemaker:


For an idea of just how frickin' big this plane was, check out this side-by-side photo, which makes the B-29 bomber look like a toy:


(Image found here).

Neat story describing the experience of a low flyover.

Loads of interesting history here. (Double-take: Nuclear propulsion testbed?)

Even more history here.

Posted by JohnL at 10:15 PM | Comments (2) | | TrackBack
June 29, 2005

Helicopter Cheesecake

Wow. Jeff at Gravity Lens found a really cool helicopter: the CarterCopter.

So far, it's just a prototype technology demonstrator, but it has already achieved a milestone for rotary-wing craft: a mu of 1 for the first time in history (achieved on June 17, 2005).

Yeah, I didn't have the faintest clue what that meant, either, but read more about it here and keep your eyes peeled for these very attractive rotorcraft.

Posted by JohnL at 11:00 PM | Comments (0) |
June 26, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Ki-61 Tony)

The Kawasaki Ki-61 Tony:


(Image from Stof's "Virtual Flying" Page).

If you read the linked pages above, you'll see why it's no accident that this plane resembles the German Me-109.

Posted by JohnL at 11:23 PM | Comments (0) |
June 19, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Me 262)

The first jet fighter in history to see battle, the Messerschmitt Me-262:


The Me-262 Project is a private effort to create reproductions of this historic and beautiful aircraft. Interesting to me, much of the initial work was done in Fort Worth, Texas, just about an hour and a half southwest of here. Here's a picture of one of their creations in flight:


Update: The Country Pundit wrote a nice piece about this airplane, with more detail and history than I typically use in these kinds of posts.

Posted by JohnL at 09:46 PM | Comments (1) |
May 29, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (De Havilland Buffalo)

I apologize for the approximately month-long hiatus in this feature. Let's kick it off again with a bit of an odd duck suggested by Alan Brain.

We start with the conventional, versatile cargo/transport airplane, the De Havilland DHC5 Buffalo. Here is a typical shot of the aircraft:


(Image from http://www.xdh.ca/DHC_Aircraft/DHC-5/dhc-5.html).

In the 1970s, NASA contracted with Boeing to modify the DHC5 to investigate new technologies for STOL aircraft.

Boeing rebuilt the plane with new avionics, new wings and tail, and a quartet of jet engines mounted above the wing to generate "upper surface blowing" in order to increase lift. The plane made its maiden flight at Boeing's Seattle plant in 1978, then flew to Ames for continued flight tests. The short takeoffs and quiet operations of the aircraft yielded much information for application in both civil and military design. One intriguing series of tests led to a successful landing and takeoff from an aircraft carrier-- the first four-engine jet plane to accomplish this feat.


The result was quite interesting:

TARV02P05_12.jpgC8A Buffalo Augmentor
TARV02P05_09.jpgClose-up of top-mounted jets

Full-sized, restricted, and watermarked photos available here.

Posted by JohnL at 02:19 PM | Comments (0) |
April 24, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (A-10 Thunderbolt a/k/a "Warthog")

This week, we feature the Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt (sometimes known as the "Warthog"). One of my long-time favorites, this craft simultaneously straddles the aesthestics of WWII bombers and modern jets. Though named after the WWII US P-47 fighter, this flying tank-killer is much closer in spirit to the WWII Soviet IL-2/IL-10 Shturmovik.

Here's a nice view of the 30mm gatling gun around which the rest of the plane is built:

And a view of the plane in flight:

Posted by JohnL at 09:44 PM | Comments (5) |
April 17, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Rutan Aircraft ARES)

I just recently discovered that Rutan Aircraft Factory (Burt Rutan's pre-Scaled Composites company) designed, built, and flew a ground attack aircraft similar in mission to the USAF's A-10 Warthog, the ARES (Agile Responsive Effective Support). First designed in 1981 as a turboprop in response to an Army request for a low cost battlefield attack aircraft, the ARES was built in 1986 as a turbojet. Similar to the A-10, the ARES is literally built around a gatling gun, in this case the GAU-12/U 25mm gun. Check out the size of the gun port on the fore starboard side of the plane:



Despite meeting all requirements, the plane never found a purchaser and remains a prototype. Find much more information about it at the Scaled Composites website.

Posted by JohnL at 09:05 PM | Comments (0) |
April 10, 2005

More Aircraft Cheesecake

In case you haven't gotten enough, this page has a great collection of tasty photos from the 2003 Chicago Air and Water Show. My favorites are the B-1 buzzing an apartment building and the "heritage" photo of the P-51 with the A-10. Good stuff.

Posted by JohnL at 09:58 PM | Comments (0) |

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Antonov An-225)

Via a post that referenced my earlier cheesecake entry on the German Arado Ar 232 "Millipede," I present the Antonov An-225:

Note the many wheels along the rear bottom of the plane, much like the Arado Ar 232:


To get an idea of just how big this plane is, take a look at how small the Russian Buran shuttle is in comparison:


The Buran is about the same size as the US Shuttle orbiter, which takes up quite a bit more space on the back of a Boeing 747.

(All images courtesy of Lockett Photography Card Catalog).

Posted by JohnL at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) |
April 05, 2005

Art of Industrial Design

Virginia Postrel points to a fascinating site that mines old patents for examples of striking industrial design. They have a "what's new" blog, too, which I have added to the "Between Planets" section of the blogroll.

I also found a mother lode of incredible early aircraft designs via the site.

Some examples in the extended entry:




Posted by JohnL at 10:53 PM | Comments (0) |
April 03, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F-18 Hornet)

The F-18 Hornet is simply one of the most beautiful airplanes currently flying:




(Images found here and here).

Posted by JohnL at 10:26 PM | Comments (1) |
March 27, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Boeing 377 Stratocruiser)

This week's serving of cheesecake features a bizarre-looking civilian transport/cargo aircraft the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser, which was derived from a military transport, which itself was derived from the B-29 bomber of WWII:


In the 1960s, some of the 377s were modified to carry the third stage of the Saturn V moon rockets (the Saturn IVB) from its assembly plant in California to Florida. These variants were dubbed the Pregnant Guppy and the Super Guppy:



(Much information on these bizarre planes can be found at this great page. And according to this NASA page, Airbus manufactured a Super Guppy recently and traded it to NASA for transport of space station components!)

Posted by JohnL at 10:54 PM | Comments (3) |
March 20, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Kalinin K-7)

This week's serving of cheesecake is the Kalinin K-7. This bomber hails from the early 1930s, and foreshadows the heavy bombers that would play such a large role in WWII less than a decade in the future. Looking at its contemporaries, this plane is really a stunning bit of modernism. Unfortunately there aren't many pictures available since the prototype crashed and no others were ever produced. Enjoy:

Kalinin K-7.jpg
Kalinin K-7(2).jpg

Images found here and here.

Posted by JohnL at 10:41 PM | Comments (1) |
March 13, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F2H Banshee)

Here's a pic I took of the Lady Lex's F2H-2 Banshee last weekend:


Here's an archival photo of the plane in flight (found here):


Posted by JohnL at 09:07 PM | Comments (2) |
March 06, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake

Could there be any doubt this week?

Burt Rutan's Global Flyer, piloted by Steve Fossett in his record-breaking flight this past week:



(Both images from Virgin Atlantic Global Flyer multimedia site).

Also, this little-known plane from very early in Rutan's career (courtesy of a family friend), the Rutan B-17X:


(Note for the clue-impaired: it's a photoshop).

Posted by JohnL at 10:32 PM | Comments (0) |
March 03, 2005

Way to Go (and Go and Go), Fossett!

Steve Fossett successfully circumnavigated the globe in a single-engine jet airplane on a single load of fuel. Solo.

Details here. And here.

Frank Martin blogged a good deal of the flight.

Posted by JohnL at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) |
February 27, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (WF-2/E1-B Tracer)

This week's aircraft cheesecake continues with the flying saucer theme introduced last week. The Grumman WF-2 ("Willy Fudd") (later redesignated the E1-B Tracer) was the US Navy's first carrier-borne early warning aircraft:


E1-B Tracer.jpg

Posted by JohnL at 09:37 PM | Comments (0) |
February 20, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Flying Flapjack)

This week's airplane comes courtesy of Alan Brain's Yamato Sashimi article, which introduced me to the "Flying Flapjack" for the first time. Without further ado, the Chance Vought V-173/XF5U "Flying Flapjack:"



More info here, too.

Posted by JohnL at 10:53 PM | Comments (1) |
February 13, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F-16 Fighting Falcon)

I have long loved the lethal, lovely lines of the F-16 Fighting Falcon:



Fellow Munuvian Random pointed me to this great page about the Israeli F-16I, manufactured here in the DFW Metroplex. It has many more outstanding images of this beautiful fighter.

Posted by JohnL at 11:50 PM | Comments (2) |
February 06, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (MiG 25 Foxbat)

I know it's a stretch, but I'm trying to make tonight's cheesecake relevant to the Super Bowl winner.

It would have been relatively easy if Philadelphia had won, since I could have posted an F-15 Eagle. But no aircraft seems to have been nicknamed the "Patriot" so the link between the plane and team nicknames has to be more tenuous.

Here goes: the Patriots' home field is in Foxboro, Massachusetts. "Foxbat" is vaguely reminiscent of "Foxboro." Thus, as a tribute to an American football team named the Patriots, I give you a Soviet-era fighter, the MiG-25 Foxbat:



Posted by JohnL at 09:40 PM | Comments (2) |
January 30, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Arado Ar 232)

This week's serving is the interesting, but ultimately unsuccessful, German WWII transport aircraft, the Arado Ar 232 Tausendfuessler "Tatzelwurm" (i.e., "Millipede").

It came in two variants, the Ar 232A, which was powered by 2 BMW 801 engines, and the Ar 232 B, powered by 4 BMW-Bramo 323 R-2 engines. The plane had a normal "tricycle" landing gear for landings on well-paved airfields. However, the landing gear could be "broken," to lower the plane onto the 22 belly wheels, from which the plane derived its nickname. This allowed the cargo ramp to be extended at a smaller angle from the rear of the cargo bay. The belly wheels also allowed for additional support when landing on rough surfaces. Amazingly, even when fully loaded with a 16-metric-ton cargo, the plane could take off in 200 meters (shorter with rocket-assisted takeoff).

Here's the "A" in flight:
Ar 232A in Flight.jpg

A nice shot of the "Millipede" landing gear on an "A":

And a different view of the landing gear on a "B":

Posted by JohnL at 10:28 PM | Comments (1) |
January 23, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Harrier)

This week's serving is the V/STOL (vertical/short takeoff and landing) attack aircraft, the Harrier. The aircraft has an interesting developmental history, with inputs from France (original engine design), West Germany, the UK and US (explained in more detail here):



Posted by JohnL at 10:33 PM | Comments (2) |
January 16, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Tu-20 "Bear")

Check out the Tupolev Tu-20 "Bear" strategic bomber (sometimes designated Tu-95). Note the four massive turboprop engines, each driving two counter-rotating propellers.



Posted by JohnL at 10:04 PM | Comments (0) |
January 09, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Blohm und Voss BV 141)

This week's cheesecake is a bit of an ugly duckling. Perhaps one of the most asymmetrical military aircraft ever flown, the Blohm und Voss B.V. 141:



Posted by JohnL at 09:23 PM | Comments (5) |
January 02, 2005

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (P/F-82 Twin Mustang)

This week's entry is the F-82 Twin Mustang, essentially two P-51 bodies sharing a single wing:



Images found here and here.

Posted by JohnL at 11:17 PM | Comments (0) |
December 26, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (M-50 Bounder)

Another Russian plane this week, the Myasischev M-50 Bounder:

M50 at Monino.jpg

M50 in Flight.jpg

According to the FAS link above, little is known about this plane's performance, though one referenced commenter noted that the M-50 was "an outstanding failure which revealed an embarassing lack of understanding of the problems of high-speed flight."

(Be sure to check out the other exhibits at AXLs Plane Gallery, where I found these images).

Posted by JohnL at 09:54 PM | Comments (0) |
December 19, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Su-34)

Behold the Sukhoi Su-34 "Fullback:"



Posted by JohnL at 10:59 PM | Comments (0) |
December 12, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (XB-70)

This week's cheesecake helping is the XB-70 Valkyrie:



Posted by JohnL at 10:31 PM | Comments (6) |
December 05, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (X-5)

This week's serving is yet another X-plane, the Bell X-5. This was the first plane to have a variable-angle wing, making it the forebear of the F-111, F-14, and B-1 aircraft (which will likely make future appearances here):



Posted by JohnL at 10:37 PM | Comments (0) |
November 28, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (X-3)

This week's featured aircraft is the aptly-named Douglas X-3 Stiletto:



Posted by JohnL at 08:12 PM | Comments (1) |
November 21, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (P-61)

This week's cheesecake serving is the Northrop P-61 Black Widow Night Fighter:


Posted by JohnL at 11:50 PM | Comments (2) |
November 14, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (P-38)

One of my favorite aircraft of all time, the P-38 Lightning:



I ran across this neat Japanese site detailing the assembly of a remote-controlled scale P-38 while looking for this week's serving of cheesecake.

Posted by JohnL at 09:51 PM | Comments (0) |
November 07, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (B-58)


This week, we offer up the Convair B-58 "Hustler," a supersonic bomber whose service was restricted primarily to the 1960s. (I linked a fun story involving this plane almost exactly a year ago).

Posted by JohnL at 10:20 PM | Comments (0) |
October 31, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (DH-4)


This week we feature yet another De Havilland aircraft, the DH-4.

I saw a plane very similar to this one, the Boeing 40B-2, at the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry last week. The exhibit was accompanied by the following letter from Leonard B. Hyde-Pearson, an airmail pilot who died in a plane crash in a De Havilland mail plane on March 7, 1924:

"To Be Opened Only After My Death:
Capt. Leonard Brooke Hyde-Pearson, USAMS

"My Beloved Brother Pilots and Pals"

I go west, but with cheerful heart.
I hope whatever small sacrifice I have made
May be of some use to the cause.

When we fly we are fools, they say.
When we are dead, weren't half-bad fellows.
But everyone in this wonderful aviation service
Is doing the world far more good than the public can appreciate.

We risk our necks; we give our lives;
We perfect a service for the benefit of the world at large.
They, mind you, are the ones who call us fools.

But stick to it, boys. I'm still very much with you all.
See you all again.

It's always risky to open a new frontier. The next time you buckle into a commercial jetliner, remember these words of Captain Hyde-Pearson, since you owe safe, routine, air travel in large part to pioneers like him.

Posted by JohnL at 08:15 PM | Comments (0) |
October 17, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Mosquito)

With thanks to Your Maximum Leader for the recommendation, I present another De Havilland airplane this week, the Mosquito:



Quite an incredible aircraft. As a result of its molded plywood and balsa wood construction, this twin-engine plane, which was originally specified as a bomber, became one of the fastest, longest-range multirole fighters of World War II.

It packed quite a punch: in its typical night-fighter package, it carried four 20mm cannon in a belly mount and four .303 machine guns in the nose.

Posted by JohnL at 09:58 PM | Comments (1) |
October 10, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Sea Vixen)

This week's airplane is the De Havilland Sea Vixen:


As will become apparent in future servings of aircraft cheesecake, I find the twin-boom tail an attractive feature on airplanes.

Posted by JohnL at 08:47 PM | Comments (4) |
October 03, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F-89)

This week's entry is much more of an "interesting" than a "beautiful" plane. In fact, the plane is pretty homely but attractive in that odd way that only straight-wing jet fighters can be. The F-89 Scorpion:



This fighter, aside from having an interesting profile and decent performance for a non-swept-wing jet, was the USAF's first interceptor to be armed with air-to-air nuclear rockets.

You heard me right. In the 1950s, the Air Force developed an air-to-air missile (the AIR-2 Genie) with a nuclear warhead designed to take out an entire squadron of Russian bombers at a time.

The F-89 carries the distinction of being the first (and only) plane ever to fire and detonate a nuclear-armed air-to-air missile, on 19 July 1957. I've looked for pictures of the test-firing but can't find any.

Earlier Aircraft Cheesecake entries here, here, and here.

Update: One of Jonah Goldberg's "military guys" is holding an ugly plane contest. Check it out.

Posted by JohnL at 10:57 PM | Comments (3) |
September 28, 2004

Aircraft Cheesecake - Special X-Prize Edition


Posted by JohnL at 11:13 PM | Comments (0) |
September 26, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (F4U Corsair)

This week's entry is the Chance Vought F4U Corsair:


I remember this plane as the "star" of the TV show Baa Baa Black Sheep, which I enjoyed as an eight-year old boy. The show was based on the experiences of American WWII ace, Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, related further in his autobiography.

This page has some links to the F4U Corsair's training films.

Posted by JohnL at 11:17 PM | Comments (2) |
September 19, 2004

Sunday Aircraft Cheesecake (Su-47/S37 Berkut)

I love airplanes. I especially love military aircraft, and even moreso unique-looking military aircraft. For the next couple of weeks, I will try to highlight an aircraft that strikes my fancy. It may or may not become a regular feature.

This week's entry is the Sukhoi Su-47/S37 Berkut:



What I like about this fighter is the forward-swept wing, something I find quite visually appealing in an aircraft. Whether the wing shape confers any performance benefits is open to debate.

Enjoy the pic, and let me know if you have a favorite aircraft you would like to see featured.

Posted by JohnL at 11:31 PM | Comments (6) |
July 19, 2004

Aircraft Aesthetics Revisited

In his comments to this post, Robert the Llamabutcher reveals himself as a P-51 man, over the, to me, far sexier P-38.

But we can find common ground in our admiration of the B-25 Mitchell. I especially like the B-25 "G" and "H" variants, with the nose-mounted 75mm cannon (a predecessor of the AC-47 and AC-130 gunships).

Aviation historian Martin Caidin wrote an entertaining, if fictionalized, history of the B-25 gunship in Whip, which I read many times in my teen years.

Another of my favorites -- developed but not flown in WWII -- is the B-36 Peacemaker.

(For earlier posts on aircraft aesthetics, check here and here).

Posted by JohnL at 10:35 PM | Comments (3) |
April 12, 2004

Air Show Pics

Stephen Green is back and blogging and links to this great set of pictures from a recent airshow at Edwards AFB.

My favorite is the side-by-side flyby photo of the A-10 Warthog and the P-51 Mustang.


Posted by JohnL at 11:45 PM | Comments (0) |
December 17, 2003

100 Years of Flight

Many of the bloggers I follow on a daily basis have appropriate words to commemorate the monumental accomplishment of the Wright brothers. Naturally, Rand Simberg has been busy, with articles up at Tech Central Station and National Review in addition to his own blog entry.

Rocket Man Mark Oakley discusses Rand Simberg’s "Airplane Scientist" article from TCS, and posts an opinion on why we have not advanced as far in space during the 42 years since the first manned spaceflight as we did in aviation during the 42 years
after Kitty Hawk.

Tim Sandefur, who has a sweet picture of an SR-71 and a copy of one of my favorite poems, High Flight, contrasts the triumph of the free, entrepreneurial Wright Brothers with the failure of the government-funded Samuel Pierpont Langley (a point also made by Rand Simberg in his several articles above).

Since Tim got High Flight up first, I'll have to resort to quoting some poetic prose from one of my favorite books:

Throttle forward again and the airplane swings into take-off position on runway two eight. The concrete is wide and long. The painted white stripe along its center is held at one end by my nosewheel, at the invisible other end by the tough nylon webbing of the overrun barrier. A twin row of white edge lights converges in the black distance ahead, pointing the way. The throttle moves now, under my left glove, all the way forward; until the radium-caked tachometer needle covers the line marked 100 percent, until the tailpipe temperature is up by the short red arc on the dial that means 642 degrees centigrade, until each pointer on each dial of the red-soaked instrument panel agrees with what we are to do, until I say to myself, as I say every time, Here we go. I release the brakes.

There is no instant rush of speed, no head forced against the headrest. I feel only a gentle push at my back. The stripe of the runway unrolls, lazily at first, beneath the nosewheel. Crackling thunder twists and blasts and tumbles behind me, and, slowly, I see the runway lights begin to blur at the side of the concrete and the airspeed needle lifts to cover 50 knots, to cover 80 knots, to cover
120 knots (go-no-go speed checks OK) and between the two white rows of blur I see the barrier waiting in the darkness at the end of the runway and the control stick tilts easily back in my right glove and the airspeed needle is covering 160 knots and the nosewheel lifts from the concrete and the main wheels follow a half-second later and there is nothing in the world but me and an airplane alive and together and the cool wind lifts us to its heart and we are one with the wind and one with the dark sky and the stars ahead and the barrier is a forgotten dwindling blur behind and the wheels swing up to tuck themselves away in my seamless aluminum skin and the airspeed is up to one nine zero and flap lever forward and airspeed two two zero and I am in my element and I am flying. I am flying.

Posted by JohnL at 01:08 PM | Comments (0) |
December 15, 2003

Apologies Accepted, Tim

Mr. Sandefur posts his mea culpa and concedes that there are at least two cool-looking propeller-driven planes (personally, I wouldn't use the Gee Bee as the poster child for prop planes).

Posted by JohnL at 10:15 PM | Comments (0) |
December 11, 2003

De Gustibus Non Disputandum Est

Nothing with propellers can qualify as a cool looking plane? I know it's ridiculous to argue matters of taste, but allow me to enter into evidence a few more exhibits of "cool" propeller planes:

Don't get me wrong, I love jet and rocket planes, too, but I hate to see piston-engined, propeller-driven craft unjustly denigrated. (BTW, if you want to learn how to fly any of the old WWII warbirds, watch the training films here).

Posted by JohnL at 12:24 AM | Comments (0) |
December 09, 2003

Ride [Well, Flight] of the Valkyrie

Tim Sandefur thinks this is the sexiest plane ever constructed.

I, personally, am torn between the X-15 and the White Knight/SpaceShipOne.

Not exactly sexy, but one of the coolest-looking planes ever has to be the Peacemaker.

Posted by JohnL at 09:22 PM | Comments (0) |
November 06, 2003

Fun Aviation Story

Via AMCGLTD, I found this seemingly apocryphal story about Air Force bomber pilots teaching some US Marine aviators a little bit of humility.

(Setup: sometime in the 1960s, some Marine F-4 Phantom pilots, to escape a hurricane on the Gulf Coast, are temporarily stationed inland at an Air Force base and proceed to brag about how they are flying the fastest planes in the world and generally ragging on the "low slow" bomber pilots. Hint: the "bombers" these particular Air Force pilots were flying were B-58 Hustlers).

Of course the Marines should have just gone double-or-nothing whether the Hustler pilots could land on a pitching carrier deck in the dark.

Posted by JohnL at 11:25 PM | Comments (0) |