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:
Also over Easter, I went to the Museum of Science and Industry in
Manchester. Images follow:
As I was in Manchester over Easter, I visited the IWM North, the only
one of the five IWM sites I hadn't been to. It was a bit of a
disappointment. Images follow:
Shortly after Christmas I went to the
Wallace Collection for the first
time. I could spend days there. Images follow:
More from the Science Museum last Boxing Day Bank Holiday. Images
follow: cc-by-sa on
Since yesterday was the Boxing Day Bank Holiday, I went to the Science
Museum for their Cosmonauts exhibition. Images follow:
everything. (I'd been told photography was prohibited, but there were
no signs and nobody tried to stop me. I didn't use flash, which may
Ithacus was a 1966
study by Douglas, producers of the DC- series transport aircraft and
the Thor IRBM, for a sub-orbital troop transport.
2013 non-fiction, an informal history of the rise and fall (sorry) of
the man-carrying balloon.
2008 non-fiction, an informal history of the shipping container. Until
the Second World War, almost all non-bulk freight was breakbulk,
loaded one piece at a time into a ship's hold. Fifty years later,
pretty much everything long-distance was going in containers. How did
the change come about?
To the de Havilland museum, on
the last weekend before it closed for the winter. Many images follow:
On Sunday I visited the Clapham South deep-level shelter. Images
follow: cc-by-sa on
Strictly speaking, the Ålands Sjöfartsmuseum. Images follow:
1995 non-fiction. In October 1957, the core of Windscale's Pile 1
caught fire, burned
for three days, and spread radioactive contamination across what was
then Cumberland. This is the official history of the incident and its
To Firepower, the Royal Artillery Museum.
I hadn't been for eight years, and things had changed a bit. Many
1978, popular history. Tuchman recounts the history of France and some
nearby countries in the latter part of the Fourteenth Century, with
particular focus on the nobleman Enguerrand de Coucy.
On a chilly December day, I drove to Greenwich (do not do this, by
the way; if you don't have twenty-odd quid in coins or a disposable
credit card, just park in Lewisham, it's less hassle) and visited the
National Maritime Museum. (Many photos follow;
Yesterday I visited the Didcot Railway Centre for the first time in
really quite a few years; probably at least thirty. Lots of images
follow: cc-by-sa on
The D-21 was a supersonic reconnaissance drone used briefly in the
1960s and 1970s.
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:
Aircraft-carrying submarines seem, superficially, like a really good
idea. Unfortunately in practice they haven't really worked.
Homœopathy has some very strange ideas. But where did it actually come
The Sea Dart (try not to associate that in your mind with Lawn Dart)
was to be a supersonic flying-boat fighter.
HMAS Melbourne was the Royal Australian Navy's last aircraft carrier
The Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess was the largest all-metal flying-boat
ever built. Only three were made, and none was ever sold.
Guy Fawkes is often described as "the only man to enter Parliament
with honest intentions". But what did he really aspire to do?
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
The Yak-38 (NATO reporting name "Forger") was the Soviet carrier-borne
fixed-wing aircraft of the Cold War.
was a prototype V/STOL aircraft built for the US Army.
The YB-35 and
YB-49 were flying-wing
bomber prototypes built during and in the wake of the Second World
was to be a flying-boat strategic bomber for the U.S. Navy.
Yeah, I pretty much have to do this one, don't I? The
was to be a Mach 3 high-altitude nuclear bomber.
was a carrier-borne supersonic bomber.
The TSR-2 was to be a
highly capable low-and-fast bomber and reconnaissance aircraft. It was
famously cancelled in 1965.
Not the ancestor of what would become the SR-71, this A-12 was to be
the US Navy's very own stealth bomber.
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.
The Cutlass was a high-subsonic carrier-borne fighter, flying off
Essex and Midway-class carriers.
The Helistat was a hybrid airship/helicopter combination, designed for
heavy vertical lift.
Kershaw examines ten choices made during the years 1940-1941 that, in
his opinion, substantially affected the course of the Second World
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.
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.
The Peacemaker was the
world's first intercontinental bomber, and the largest mass-produced
piston-engined aircraft ever built.
The Short Mayo
Composite was a
solution to the range problem of fixed-wing aircraft.
The Caproni Ca.60,
called the Noviplano or Capronissimo, was a prototype flying-boat
airliner. Built in 1921,