RogerBW's Blog

Farnborough Air Sciences Trust 03 March 2017

On a slightly warm February day, to Farnborough to visit the museum on the former site of the Royal Aeronautical Establishment at Farnborough. Images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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Project Orion, George Dyson 24 November 2016

2002 non-fiction: George Dyson, son of Freeman, recounts what can be told of the history of Project Orion, a plan to propel spacecraft with nuclear explosions.

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Ithacus and SUSTAIN 09 December 2015 - 5 comments

Ithacus was a 1966 study by Douglas, producers of the DC- series transport aircraft and the Thor IRBM, for a sub-orbital troop transport.

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Falling Upwards, Richard Holmes 29 November 2015 - 1 comment

2013 non-fiction, an informal history of the rise and fall (sorry) of the man-carrying balloon.

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de Havilland Museum 25 October 2015 - 2 comments

To the de Havilland museum, on the last weekend before it closed for the winter. Many images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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Automatic Dependent Surveillance – Broadcast 04 August 2015 - 6 comments

I've been playing with software-defined radio and broadcast aviation data.

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Fly Navy: The View from the Cockpit 1945-2000, Charles Manning 02 July 2015

2000 non-fiction, a collection of anecdotes by officers of the Royal Navy's Fleet Air Arm.

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Northolt Centenary Open Day 14 June 2015 - 1 comment

Yesterday RAF Northolt had its Centenary Open day. Yes, it was first used as a flying-field in May 1915. With images; cc-by-sa on everything.

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Theory and History of Multirotor Aircraft 19 November 2014 - 2 comments

I'm trying to learn more about practical multirotor design with a view to designing and building my own. A multirotor flies essentially by replacing mechanical complexity with software complexity, which is lighter. Here's a bit more detail.

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Lockheed D-21 22 October 2014

The D-21 was a supersonic reconnaissance drone used briefly in the 1960s and 1970s.

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Swedish Air Force Museum 29 July 2014 - 3 comments

Earlier this month I visited the Swedish Air Force Museum near Linköping, on the site where Carl Cederström (Sweden's first aviator, like so many early flyers a member of the landed gentry with an interest in machinery and little to do) established the first Swedish flying school. Lots of images follow: cc-by-sa on everything.

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The Unfortunate History of Aircraft-Carrying Submarines 19 July 2014 - 5 comments

Aircraft-carrying submarines seem, superficially, like a really good idea. Unfortunately in practice they haven't really worked.

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Convair F2Y Sea Dart 04 July 2014 - 3 comments

The Sea Dart (try not to associate that in your mind with Lawn Dart) was to be a supersonic flying-boat fighter.

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Saunders-Roe Princess 12 June 2014 - 4 comments

The Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess was the largest all-metal flying-boat ever built. Only three were made, and none was ever sold.

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Northrop YF-23 24 May 2014 - 2 comments

The YF-23 was a prototype that competed against the Lockheed YF-22 to become the USAF's Advanced Tactical Fighter in the 1990s; the Lockheed plane won.

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Yakovlev Yak-38 11 May 2014 - 9 comments

The Yak-38 (NATO reporting name "Forger") was the Soviet carrier-borne fixed-wing aircraft of the Cold War.

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Lockheed XV-4 Hummingbird 03 May 2014 - 2 comments

The XV-4 was a prototype V/STOL aircraft built for the US Army.

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Northrop Flying Wings 27 April 2014

The YB-35 and YB-49 were flying-wing bomber prototypes built during and in the wake of the Second World War.

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Martin P6M SeaMaster 21 April 2014 - 2 comments

The SeaMaster was to be a flying-boat strategic bomber for the U.S. Navy.

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North American XB-70 Valkyrie 15 April 2014 - 2 comments

Yeah, I pretty much have to do this one, don't I? The Valkyrie was to be a Mach 3 high-altitude nuclear bomber.

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North American A-5 Vigilante 07 April 2014

The Vigilante was a carrier-borne supersonic bomber.

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BAC TSR-2 03 April 2014 - 8 comments

The TSR-2 was to be a highly capable low-and-fast bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. It was famously cancelled in 1965.

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McDonnell Douglas A-12 Avenger II 31 March 2014

Not the ancestor of what would become the SR-71, this A-12 was to be the US Navy's very own stealth bomber.

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Tailsitters 28 March 2014 - 2 comments

One of the desiderata of an air defence system is to put defending fighters close to the high-value targets. That way they don't get decoyed away by diversionary attacks, giving the enemy bombers a clear run, because they're dedicated to protecting a specific target; nor do they need massive endurance (adding to weight), if they don't need to make long-distance flights.

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Vought F7U Cutlass 22 March 2014

The Cutlass was a high-subsonic carrier-borne fighter, flying off Essex and Midway-class carriers.

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Piasecki PA-97 Helistat 19 March 2014

The Helistat was a hybrid airship/helicopter combination, designed for heavy vertical lift.

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American Parasite Fighters 14 March 2014 - 2 comments

One of the great scars on the American military-aviation psyche was the unescorted bomber. As the men who'd been on the front lines during the Second World War became the leaders of the Air Force, they tried to do something about it.

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Convair B-58 Hustler 11 March 2014 - 6 comments

The Hustler was not just the first aircraft to be named after a pornographic magazine (this is a lie, it first flew nearly twenty years before that was thought of), it was the world's first operational supersonic bomber.

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Convair B-36 Peacemaker 08 March 2014 - 2 comments

The Peacemaker was the world's first intercontinental bomber, and the largest mass-produced piston-engined aircraft ever built.

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Short Mayo Composite 01 March 2014 - 3 comments

The Short Mayo Composite was a solution to the range problem of fixed-wing aircraft.

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Caproni Ca.60 14 February 2014 - 1 comment

The Caproni Ca.60, called the Noviplano or Capronissimo, was a prototype flying-boat airliner. Built in 1921,

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