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
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.
To the de Havilland museum, on
the last weekend before it closed for the winter. Many images follow:
I've been playing with software-defined radio and broadcast aviation
2000 non-fiction, a collection of anecdotes by officers of the Royal
Navy's Fleet Air Arm.
Yesterday RAF Northolt had its Centenary Open day. Yes, it was first
used as a flying-field in May 1915. With images;
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.
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.
The Sea Dart (try not to associate that in your mind with Lawn Dart)
was to be a supersonic flying-boat fighter.
The Saunders-Roe SR.45 Princess was the largest all-metal flying-boat
ever built. Only three were made, and none was ever sold.
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.
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,