Contact me at starfightersmodelblog(at)mindspring(dot)com

Airplanes, Rocketry, Missiles, Spacecraft and things that go WHOOSH! in the night.
What's flying around my head at the current time.

Tuesday, March 30, 2004

To Mars and Beyond 

With all the recent attention being focused on Mars, I haven't heard of any other missions. There are, however, missions to Saturn, Mercury and the moon, along with more flights to Mars. It's very exciting. Now if the manned program could get moving again.

Probe Flotilla to Scour Planets

Hat Tip to: Wizbang

Frankly my dear... 

Darling, it seems that you belong in Gone with the
Wind; the proper place for a romantic. You
belong in a tumultous world of changes and
opportunities, where your independence paves
the road for your survival. It is trying being
both a cynic and a dreamer, no?

Which Classic Novel do You Belong In?
brought to you by Quizilla

Stop the Intruder... 

What Video Game Character Are You? I am a Defender-ship.I am a Defender-ship.

I am fiercely protective of my friends and loved ones, and unforgiving of any who would hurt them. Speed and foresight are my strengths, at the cost of a little clumsiness. I'm most comfortable with a few friends, but sometimes particularly enjoy spending time in larger groups. What Video Game Character Are You?

Sunday, March 28, 2004

Can Transparent Aluminum Be Far Behind? 

A cool new idea. I can think of dozens of applications. Although, when I first read this, I thought of Gallegher's comments on how governmant was dumb. He thought it was dumb that the government department in charge of national parks, forests, and dams was called the Department of the Interior. Figured that it should be staffed with decorators. This stuff is just the trick for the interior decorator in charge of Hoover dam. "Masonry! Masonry! Masonry! Windows! Let in some light!" Now the maasonry CAN let in some light.

Transparent Concrete

Mini-RPVs Issued to the Field.  

As I saw on Practical to Tactical a couple of weeks ago, mini-RPVs are now providing a personal 'eye in the sky" to the troops in the field. I'm not surprised that the IDF is leading the way. They can use all the force-multipliers they can get.

Israeli X Prize 

An Interesting concept, though I think Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites team has the lead with Spaceship 1. Thanks to Spiced Sass for the link.


Thursday, March 25, 2004

NASA Budget in Perspective 

Whatta ya mean we can't AFFORD to go to the moon and Mars? After the news that a near-earth asteroid came withing 43000 miles of Earth earlier this year with only two days advance warning, can we afford NOT to? Something about keeping all of one's eggs in one basket?

NASA budget

John R. Lott Jr. on "Assault-Weapons Ban" on National Review Online 

After the fuss about the Assault Weapons Ban extension not passing, I found this article interesting. Maybe now the prices of some replica military style semi-autos will come back down to more reasonable levels. And get some Hi-cap mags for my Glock at an affordable price.

"A Weapon Surrendered"

Lots of Films  

A place to see a lot of obscure short films on a variety of subjects

Internet Archive

More on the Russian Navy 

Seems that there may be more to this than originally thought. Sounding more like a clash of personalities as time goes on:

From the Steelnavy.com message board re "Peter the Great"

Posted by Chris on March 24, 2004, 10:22:56, in reply to "Impending Soviet Naval Disaster!"

Having read more about this, it sounds like much ado about nothing, that the comments made were more political than anything else. "

Now for a Russian view of the incident:


The following information comes from a thread on another messageboard (which I'll provide assuming that it doesn't violate the rules of the board). Please also note that I am not the poster of any of this information, just a reader:

"It's not as simple as it appears. The dire pronouncement about the state of Ptyor Veliky's nuclear reactors was made by Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Admiral Kuroyedov. The captain of the Ptyor Veliky happen to be the newphew of retired Admiral Kasatonov. Retired Admiral Kasatonov happen to sit on a court examing the loss of the K-159, a nuclear submarine that sank with the loss of some lives last year while enroute to scrap yard. This court made some very critical comments about Commander-in-Chief of the Navy Admiral Kuroyedov.

"It is now thought that the dire pronouncement about the Ptyor Veliky's state, and by implication the promotional prospects of her captain, Kasatonov's nephew, is just Admiral Kuroyedov's way of striking back at the family of retired Admiral Kasatonov, who was so critical of Admiral Kuroyedov.

"I am so happy USN Admirals generally don't resort to publically prognosticating the imminent explosion of our nuclear ships as a way to get back at the family of their service rivals."

From further down the thread:

"with the same breath that condamed the Veliky as 'ready to go sky high at any moment', Kuroyedov also gave the captain 2 weeks to fix the problem. I don't think the ship can possibly have any serious reactor problems if what problem she has is fixable in 2 weeks."

And, still further down the thread:

"On the radio this morning, I heard some additional information that the problems on board the ship were mainly superficial ones, such as the portrait of Putin hanging in the wardroom was not properly affixed to the bulkhead, etc. Definitely a political rivalry between two admirals."

While there are definately money/maintenance issues in the Russian Navy, I suspect that PTYOR VELIKY is in better shape than was reported.

Posted by Alex on March 25, 2004, 1:06:01, in reply to "Re: Impending Soviet Naval Disaster!"

You are absolutely right! It's all about politics. Could you imagine that fleet's flagship will be threated in a bad way? It is the very first ship in the whole Russia to show-up, Yeltsin and Putin use to be there, as well as numerous smaller delegations - this ship SIMPLY CANNOT BE OUT OF ORDER. Dot. No comments. Actually, nobody in the entire Russian navy likes Kuroedov, they all waiting for his re-placement - he really sits in a wrong chair. What a stupid comments about the fleet! I feel really shame for such "specialists" in our navy.

A Russian take on the affair:
"Naval Chief Should Shoot Himself":

WW2 Aircraft Trivia 

A whole bunch of Warbird trivia quizzes. Some easy some tough. Enjoy!WW2 Aircraft Trivia


Thursday Threesome:

Onesome: Computer- What was/is your first computer? A clunky old Commodore or something a touch more modern? A Timex/Sinclair ZX-80. Went from there to a Commodore ViC-20 and then to a C-64, from there to a 486SX/25

Twosome: Anti-Virus- Have you ever had a computer virus? How bad was it? Or are you one of the lucky ones who have managed to avoid them?Not, really, but had some trouble with spyware a few months ago

Threesome: Software- What piece of software really made you more productive on your computer. ...or, as in my case, less productive? *g*"More productive-WordPerfect and Photoshop, less Productive-Currently a Pop Cap Game called Rocket Mania

Tuesday, March 23, 2004

More Bad News for NASA 

NASA finds flaw could have jeopardized Discovery
Tue Mar 23 07:58:09 2004

CAPE CANAVERAL, Florida (Reuters) -- NASA has discovered a potentially disastrous mistake made more than 20 years ago on the space shuttle Discovery and plans to replace key parts on all three of its shuttles, the space agency said Monday.

Gears were installed backward on the speed brakes in Discovery's tail section and could have failed under the stress of an emergency landing, said William Parsons, the shuttle program manager.

"The bottom line was, it was not good," said Parsons, who told reporters the Discovery had flown safely 30 times since 1984 without the gears causing a problem.

The most likely scenario for a disaster would have come if the shuttle had needed to make an emergency landing at the Kennedy Space Center in Florida after an aborted launch, when the aerodynamic stress on the gears would have been greatest.

The reversed gears were found in an actuator that works the speed brakes, which are essentially flaps that flare out from the tail section to create aerodynamic drag and slow the shuttle. Small cracks and some corrosion were also found, surprising NASA engineers.

After the original actuators were replaced, NASA also tested extra replacement parts built 17 years ago, and found that one of the spare actuators also had the gears reversed.

Contractor error
Discovery is NASA's oldest remaining shuttle after the loss of the Challenger in 1986 and the Columbia in 2003. It has been chosen as the first craft to resume flying once the post-Columbia suspension of shuttle missions ends.

That Discovery mission is scheduled for March 2005, and Parsons said the added work would not necessarily cause a delay.

Parts are being stripped from the newer shuttle Endeavour to be installed on Discovery, but eventually NASA said it will have new parts on all three remaining shuttles. Atlantis is the third.

Parsons said the fault had been traced to the installation by a contractor, Hamilton Sunstrand of Rockford, Illinois, which had reviewed its procedures and found there was nothing to prevent the gears being installed backward.

"Yes, I'm surprised. It's a process escape that shouldn't have happened," said Parsons, who became the shuttle chief after the Columbia disaster and has overseen the $250 million return-to-flight effort.

"Hamilton Sunstrand has found new ways to do this. This won't happen again," he said.

Increased inspections
The company's program manager for the parts, Rudy Valdez, said the actuators are configured in mirror-image pairs, but the gears themselves are identical and were inserted one of two ways depending on which side of the pair was being built.

Hamilton Sunstrand has changed the fixtures used to assemble the actuators so that now each gear can only be inserted one way, Valdez said.

"We want to make sure it's mechanically impossible for it to happen again," he said.

The company has also increased inspections and implemented digital photographing during assembly to document that the parts are configured correctly, he said.

Hamilton Sunstrand is a unit of United Technologies Corp.

I found this posted on the "Plane Talking" forum @Hyperscale. Makes one wish for the good old days of Apollo. These guys can't seem to do anything right lately

The Future in Styrene 

A really neat site that covers models of speculative, SF, Real Space, and experimental vehicles. A neat way to while away a couple of hours.
Fantastic Plastic

Coming Soon to a Theatre Near You? 

Michelle from A Small Victory Posted this poster for the ultimate cross-over film.

The Passion of the Dead

TV Show Themes 

A list of TV show theme songs in mp3 format. Download your favorites before the RIAA finds out!

Index of /tvshows/mp3

Threadbare Bear 

The Russian Navy's flagship, the nuclear-powered missile cruiser Peter the Great was ordered back to port after failing multiple inspections. There is some controversy as to the safety of the ship's reactors, but the Navy's problems are endemic and seem to be getting worse. The naval budget is so short, the Russians cannot afford to scrap the ships they no longer need, much less properly maintain the ones they still have in commission. I suspect the army and air force are in a similar situation, but they aren't as visible outside Russia.

Russian flagship ordered to port
Russia's rusting navy

Sunday, March 21, 2004


The site is in Japanese, but the CGI films are very impressive. These short airplane films are outstanding. Some even have a musical score and English dialog w/ Japanese subtitles. Can Thud Ridge on film be far behind?
CGI Movies

Don't You Feel Small 

4 gigabytes on a drive about the size of a quarter. In-freaking-credible!
World's smallest disk drive

A Good Sandwich Can Be Sublime. 

Got a favorite sandwich? Looking for something different to slap between two slices of bread? Here's your site. Browse through 1500+ recipes to find a new taste, or add your favorite. Ham and baked beans on whole wheat. Yum!
Sandwich Project | Hello


I always had Legos as a kid (Hell, I STILL have a bunch packed away in a closet), but I never in my wildest dreams tried something this impressive. Apparently a WWI German Battleship as I recall from the discussion at the time.WhatIsIt.jpg (JPEG Image, 713x421 pixels)

Tuesday, March 16, 2004

U.S.S. Midway Museum Appeal 

I spent my time in the military in Naval Aviation. Never went to sea, but have a soft spot for the flattops. Midway spent her entire career in Pacific Fleet, so I never got aboard, but these folks are getting a new museum underway. They have a really interesting idea here:
From the Halls to the Shores

Who Am I? 

Found this while surfing the Blogiverse today:

Firsts, Lasts

First job: Lawn mowing (at 13)
First screen name: SCA Persona: Dragonweyr
First self purchased CD: Vinyl Album here: Seventh Sojourn by the Moody Blues
First piercing/tattoo: None
First true love: Kathy Reumont
First enemy: Punk in the 3rd grade-Name long forgotten-I won the last fight

Last big car ride: Atlanta to Charlotte, NC, 3 years ago to see Rupert Holme's play, Thumbs
Last kiss: About an hour ago
Last library book checked out: Damn, not in ages. Libraries tend not to keep books I read in stock
Last movie seen: Galaxyquest
Last beverage drank: Iced tea w/Sweet-n-Low
Last food consumed: Curried Pork Chops
Last phone call: Wrong number @ work
Last CD played: Been a long time-don't remember-Possibly soundtrack CD to The Battle of Britain
Last annoyance: Wrong number @ work
Last pop drank: Coca-Cola about a week ago for a hypo
Last ice cream eaten: Blue Bunny Sweet Escapes Ice Cream Bar
Last time scolded: Don't remember
Last shirt worn: Blue/white striped Oxford

I AM: not a number, I am a free man!
I WANT: to fly in outer space, or at least in my own plane
I HAVE: 500+ unassembled plastic model kits
I WISH: I had my own personal aerospace craft
I HATE: Stupid and intentionally ignorant people
I FEAR: going blind
I HEAR: Lots of things
I SEARCH: for knowledge,
I WONDER: What the future holds
I REGRET: not trying to make a career in the military or the civil service
I LOVE: Linda and Willow
I ALWAYS: screen my phone calls
I AM NOT: a crook
I DANCE: Badly
I SING: in the shower
I CRY: At the end of the last episoode of From the Earth to the Moon

YES or NO:
YOU KEEP A DIARY: Not really
YOU LIKE TO COOK: All the time.
YOU HAVE A SECRET YOU HAVE NOT SHARED WITH ANYONE: I've kept it from everyone, even myself

DO YOU...?
HAVE A CRUSH: Elizabeth Schue, Allyson Hannigan
WANT TO GET MARRIED: Already there
GET MOTION SICKNESS: No. Upside down at 200 MPH, Baby!
BIRTHPLACE: Tokyo, Japan

COLOR: The colour of the sky after a winter cold front passes- so blue it hurts to look at it
DAY: Sunday
MONTH: October
SONG(S): Question, by the Moody Blues
SEASON: autumn
DRINK: 7&7

CUDDLE OR MAKE OUT: Make out. I'm a guy

HELPED SOMEONE? Yes, its my job
SAID 'i love you'?: yes
WRITTEN IN A JOURNAL?: No. Well, my blog, of course!

Sunday, March 14, 2004

I Gotta Get Me One of These! 

The ultimate tech-head Swiss Army knife. Looks like it will be $60 bucks or so retail. I want one.

The Register

Additions and Construction 

Added a bunch of links to the Blogroll. Go and visit.

Plane Spotting 

Was driving home from work this afternoon, and caught a V-22 Osprey running around the pattern at Dobbins ARB. Major cool. Wish I had the time to park off the end of runway 27, but had to get home. Maybe there'll be one at the next NAS Atlanta Open House in May.

Friday, March 05, 2004

Mr. Dependable 

You're Paul Martin.
You're Paul Martin. You're solid and dependable, but have had some adventures in your past and still greet some aspects of the world with a twinkle in your eye and a quip on your lips. You always try hard to make a go of things even if they don't work out.

Which Lassie Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla

Every Dog Should Have a Boy 

What cartoon dog are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at sacwriters.com

The Smart Guy 

How DUMB are you?

Brought to you by the good folks at sacwriters.com

Wednesday, March 03, 2004

I'm NOT Going Up in One of These 

Some guy in Canada has proposed a scheme to break a commercial airliner into component parts in an emergency. The separate sections would, if the theory holds, then descend to safe landings by way of "shock absorbers, parachutes and reaction jets." While the use of ballistic rocket-launched parachutes has been proven in light GA planes. I don't see this working on any sort of commercial bird. Too heavy and a maintenance nightmare. Just think of the consequences of a partial deployment either by accident or during a real emergency. This will never fly.

Read the whole story below:
Yahoo! News - Patent Issued for Breakable Plane

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