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Sunday, May 26, 2019

Chuck Yeager – Breaking the Sound Barrier

Aircraft, Technology
Author: Mark Dixon
Wednesday, October 14, 2015
6:53 am

Question: Do you know how many transistors were in the radio Chuck Yeager used in the Glamorous Glennis X-1 rocket plane when he broke the sound barrier 68 years ago today, on October 14, 1947?

Answer: Zero.  His radio had to use vacuum tubes, because the first working transistor wasn’t demonstrated until November 1947, and the first transistor radio was not produced until 1954.

Yeager

Isn’t it amazing what was accomplished with technology that seems so rudimentary by today’s standards?

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Big Day for Lindbergh and Earhart!

Aircraft
Author: Mark Dixon
Thursday, May 21, 2015
4:43 pm

Today is the anniversary of two great events in aviation history.  On May 21, 1927, Charles Lindbergh landed in Paris, successfully completing the first solo, nonstop flight across the Atlantic ocean.  Five years later, on May 21, 1932, Amelia Earhart became the first pilot to repeat the feat, landing her plane in Ireland after flying across the North Atlantic.

Congratulations to these brave pioneers of the air!

LindbergEarhart

Both Lindberg’s Spirit of St. Louis and Earhart’s Lockheed Vega airplanes are now housed in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.

Spirit St Louis 590

Lockheed Vega 5b Smithsonian

 

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Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird

Aircraft
Author: Mark Dixon
Sunday, May 10, 2015
10:24 am

The Lockheed SR-71 Blackbird has to be one of the coolest airplanes ever built. Fast, beautiful, mysterious … this plane is full of intrigue!

Sr71

The National Museum of the US Air Force states:

The SR-71, unofficially known as the “Blackbird,” is a long-range, advanced, strategic reconnaissance aircraft developed from the Lockheed A-12 and YF-12A aircraft. The first flight of an SR-71 took place on Dec. 22, 1964, and the first SR-71 to enter service was delivered to the 4200th (later 9th) Strategic Reconnaissance Wing at Beale Air Force Base, Calif., in January 1966. The U.S. Air Force retired its fleet of SR-71s on Jan. 26, 1990, because of a decreasing defense budget and high costs of operation. 

Throughout its nearly 24-year career, the SR-71 remained the world’s fastest and highest-flying operational aircraft. From 80,000 feet, it could survey 100,000 square miles of Earth’s surface per hour. On July 28, 1976, an SR-71 set two world records for its class — an absolute speed record of 2,193.167 mph and an absolute altitude record of 85,068.997 feet.

The closest I ever got to one of these beauties was at the Hill Aerospace Museum near Ogden, Utah. Quite a sight!

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Mcdonnell XF-85 Goblin

Aircraft
Author: Mark Dixon
Friday, May 8, 2015
9:39 am

I have long been fascinated with airplanes of all kinds. This post is the first of a series of photos of wacky and wonderful aircraft.

We start first with one of the coolest airplanes I have every seen, the Mcdonnell XF-85 Goblin. Only two were built and I saw one of them in the Wright Patterson Air Force Base museum back in the mid 1980’s.

From the Nation Museum of the Airforce site:

The McDonnell Aircraft Corp. developed the XF-85 Goblin “parasite” fighter to protect B-36 bombers flying beyond the range of conventional escort fighters. Planners envisioned a “parent” B-36 carrying the XF-85 in the bomb bay, and if enemy fighters attacked, the Goblin would have been lowered on a trapeze and released to combat the attackers. Once the enemy had been driven away, the Goblin would return to the B-36, hook onto the trapeze, fold its wings and be lifted back into the bomb bay. The Goblin had no landing gear, but it had a steel skid under the fuselage and small runners on the wingtips for emergency landings.

Pretty neat little airplane!

Xf85

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