Monday, 20 July 2015

Planes wot I have flown on

Been travelling quite a bit recently and have decided to try and keep some records on the planes that are ferrying me around and also to do a little digging on their history.

United Boeing 757, code N17128, Jul 2015
Planespotters.net states that it is a 757-200 that first flew in Mar 1998 and was number 795 on the 757 production line with construction number 27560.

Airfleets.net adds that the engines are a fine pair of Rolls Royce RB211-535E4B's It turns out that this was a transformative engine for Rolls. The International Aviation Services Group comments that :

"The longevity of the -535E4 version is well known, with one engine on an America West Airlines’ Boeing 757 accruing 2,047 days on-wing, flying over 12 million miles (the equivalent of 25 return trips to the moon) over 24,100 hours of operation..."


B757 N17128, soon to begin a flight from the US to the UK


Always keen to get this "OMG, you can see right through the wing!" shot on landing


Incidentally, an incredible site called "Planefinder.net" allows you to watch recent flights of any specified plane - together will information on all the other planes that were flying at the same time. Here, for example, is how the skies over Northern Europe look on a typical afternoon.....

That is a LOT of planes.....


Sunday, 19 July 2015

Smithsonian Air and Space Museum - Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center

Recently had the opportunity to visit the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center (one of the two Washington sites of the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum). It was very Wow. Here are some pictures of a few of the exhibits (most images are clickable to get to a higher resolution version).....

First up, and the biggest card in this metaphorical deck, is the Space Shuttle Discovery:

TheSpace Shuttle Discovery, veteran of 39 space missions


Looks like the discussion about the shape of the main wheel door was on a Friday.
NSB imagines an engineer saying  "Look, just make it a rectangle dude" 


Very surprised to see that the surface is not at all smooth....


....as you can clearly see in this close up.


Black heat resistant tiles individually shaped and marked...


....as can be seen in this close up


The business end of Discovery.
Second in line for a mention is the legendary SR-71 Blackbird, one of the fastest planes of all time. You can read a fascinating history of the planes development, written by Peter Merlin, here:

The SR-71 Blackbird


Very 50s look from this angle


The pointiest shock cones in aviation history


Always been intrigued by the downward pointing leading edge 


Rear of the plane makes a big statement


Don't be standing here at engine start time.


Here is a couple of pictures of an Air France Concorde, a plane that is without doubt the most beautiful airliner of all time, and was born from a joint venture between the UK and France.

The very clever and complex inlets on Concorde


Wonder why the edge of the  wing root / fuselage fairing  isn't a smooth line...


Now moving briefly to WW2....

WW2 German Arado Ar234 jet bomber...


...whose small size can be seen when compared to the FW190 next to it


Quick trip to the 1920s...

NSB thought this incredibly stylish 1920s Ballanca CF biplane must
 have been designed by an italian.... and it was! 


And now, rotorcraft:

The Hiller YROE is a very small helicopter indeed.


The reason some early 1950 helicopters have very bulgy noses
 is that this was where the engine was, as in the case of the Sikorsky H-19


Lastly, was very interested in the examples of "general aviation" and homebuilt aircraft that were on display, some of which are shown below:

The Beck Mahoney Sorceress, one of the most successful air racers of all time.


The Rutan Quickie, which has its landing wheels built into its front wings


The Rutan Vari-eze ("very easy" - geddit?) home build plane.
(It does have a nosewheel, which has been  retracted in this display)

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