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.

Wednesday, May 26, 2004

The Disposable Car 

No wonder my car insurance is so expensive! As cars become more high-tech and have more safety devices, they are getting more expensive to repair after a wreck.
The Disposable Car

Hat Tip: Sgt Stryker

X-Prize Models On the Market Soon 

Estes will be releasing flying models of eight of the contenders for the X-Prize for the first non-government spaceship to fly people to more than 62 miles altitude, return safely, and then repeat withing two weeks. This report also mentioned die-cast static models, too.

X-Prize Models

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

Still More Quizzes 

I'm sorry, but I'm a sucker for these things:

I am Little Nellie - Which James Bond Vehicle Are You?
Take the James Bond Car Quiz!

Click here to take the M*A*S*H quiz!

"Which American City Are You?"

You are blue collar and Rock n Roll. You Work hard and party harder.

No Bolos Any Time Soon 

It seems that building a fully automated land vehicle is a lot harder than doing the same thing for air or water craft. In the sky, guided missiles and remotely piloted aircraft are becoming very sophisticated, being capable of running for days and ranging thousands of miles. Indeed, a team of amateurs recently flew a aircraft across the Atlantic Ocean, navigating by GPS and monitored via satcom telephone. The USAF's RQ-4 Global Hawks routinely fly for days at a time. Unmanned remote Underwater vehicles and drone boats are becoming more common.

However, the results of a recent DARPA competition to develop an unmanned robotic land vehicle showed that engineers have a long way to go before they can build a robotic vehicle that can handle the challenges of overland travel. The goal was 150 miles, but the farthest any of the 16 competitors got was 7.4 miles before they got stuck or ran so far off the course that it couldn't get back.

The biggest problem is the sensors, data processing and AI needed to handle the myriad different types of terrain found going overland is beyond the level of current technology. That, said, they will come eventually

Robotic Combat Vehicles Just Want to Talk

Saturday, May 22, 2004

Supertanker Redux 

More stuff on the Evergreen's 747 Airtanker. Pictures and video of test drops included. This thing is impressive. That's a LOT of water/suppressant.
Evergreen Supertanker

U. S Highways 

A neat site with history and sites of the US Highway system. And they're NOT talking about the 'super slab" interstates. This site covers the older roads.
U. S Highways: From US 1 to (US 830)

More on the CSXT Rocket Team  

A bit more about The CSXT rocket team's recent sub-orbital launch. The confirmed altitude was 77 miles.
US rocket pioneers hit 100km | The Register

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

Giant Scale models! 

Nothing like going BIG. Thes birds are big enogh to pass as the real thing in pictures.

A Flying scale model of a B-52G with eight miniature turbine engines!
Giant B-52

1/10th scale C-17 under construction. BIG Bird. You can almost sit in it and fly it away!
C-17 'Globemaster' Model

Last, but not least, a 1/10th scale Short Sunderland flying boat thant not only takes off from the water, but also depth charges R/C U-boats!
Big Sunderland

Have Spaceship, Will Travel 

A 21-foot rocket has boosted to more than 100 km (60 miles) altitude carrying the first amateur rocket and payload into space. The GoFast Team's rocket motor burned for 21 seconds and the vehicle spent several minutes in space before returning to Earth on two parachutes 26-30 miles downrange from the launch site in Nevada's Black rock Desert. Coming so soon after the Rutan team's Spaceship One boosted to 41 miles on its third powered flight and the Canadian Arrow team has their first full-power engine test run, it looks like private space exploration is "taking off" in a big way.

Read more here: Rocket Carrying Ham Radio Payload Reaches Space
Hat tip: Dean's World

Sunday, May 16, 2004

Col. Morgan "Goes West" 

Found this reading the rec.models.scale newsgroup today.

Memphis Belle pilot dead at 85

By Asheville Citizen-Times

May 16, 2004 12:25 a.m.

Col. Robert Morgan, an Asheville native and commander of the famed Memphis Belle B-17 bomber that flew combat missions over Europe during World War II, has died in an Asheville hospital, his wife Linda Morgan said. Col. Morgan, 85, fell at the Asheville Regional Airport April 21, after attending an air show recently and had been hospitalized since.

"He fought a hard battle but he just had a lot of things against him," Linda Morgan said.

Col. Morgan came down with pneumonia last Monday and that combined with a massive infection contributed to his passing according to his wife.

"I want to thank each and every one of the people at Mission/St. Joseph's that contributed to his care. They were phenomenal," she said. "He got the best care anyone could get they are incredible, compassionate people."

Col. Morgan’s family was with him when he died.

The Memphis Belle was a World War II B-17 Flying Fortress in which Morgan and his crew flew 25 combat missions in daylight over Nazi-occupied France and Germany.

This occurred when 82 percent of the bombers in their bomb group were shot down in the first three months of combat beginning in November 1942.

Morgan put that into perspective by saying "you have breakfast with 10 guys, then you have dinner with only two. My crew and I aren't heroes, we didn't do anything any better than any other bomber crew. We were just damned lucky."

On Nov. 24, 1944, he made history when his B-29 named "Dauntless Dotty" was chosen to lead the first B-29 raid on Tokyo.

It was the first U.S. raid against Tokyo since Doolittle's in 1942 in B-25s. Morgan went on to command 25 missions over Japan.

Tentative plans are for a memorial service at Trinity Episcopal Church in Asheville on Saturday. The family will release more details later this week.

Saturday, May 15, 2004

What Guns Should You Own?  

An interesting article about what firearms someone should consider after deciding to have one or more firearms for self-defense. Some really-well considered ideas here. I have several pistols and rifles, but no shotguns. I haven't decided to make the purchase yet, and have to consider if Linda can handle it before I get one. I may go for a 20 gauge, instead of a 12 for that reason.

I have a friend who can testify that the sound of a shotgun being racked can cause an intruder to exit post haste. He once heard someone sneaking into his house at night. He quietly retrieved his Mossberg 500 12 gauge and racked the pump to load the first round. The next thing he heard was the front door slamming open and a "WHUMP!-THUD!" as someone ran full-tilt into the pine tree 10 feet from his front door.

What Guns Should You Own?

Thursday, May 13, 2004

Another WWII Ace Goes West 

Spotted this on Hyperscale's "Plane Talking" message forum today:

Lt. Col. J.M. "Willie" Williams passed away May 10, 2004, in Austin, Texas, at the age of 86. Col. Williams scored six confirmed kills serving with 76th Fighter Squadron/23rd Fighter Group in China during 1943. Before he retired from the Air Force in 1969, Col. Williams was a military advisor to the Vietnam Air Force, during which time he flew combat missions in A-1H Skyraiders. Described as a modest man with a great sense of humor, he was one of the good guys.

On Track to the X-Prize 

Spaceship One, the X-Prize contender from Burt Rutan's Scaled Composites, reached a an altitude of 211,400 feet and Mach 2.5 during her third powered test filght today. Flight Data can be seen here, and photos from all flights here.

Space Ship One

It's Not Easy Being Green 

What Color is Your Brain?

brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

Update on Col. Morgan 

Again Via Hyperscale's message board. It does not sound good.

"Bob was taken back to ICU last night at midnight in critical condition - Mission Hospital 828 213 1111. He was in respiratory failure they think due to aspirating stomach contents into his lungs. He's running a fever of 102++ and his blood pressure is down to 83/54.

I spoke to his nurse about 6am and there was not much improvement.

Unless some miracle occurs and I'm praying it will, this may be the end. Please keep the prayers going."

Linda Morgan

NASA Publications Available Online 

An on-line repository of NASA books and monographs. Some are available in hard copy, some online only. Most can be downloaded as PDFs. Historical and technical works are listed. After watching From the Earth to the Moon, I recognise a lot of author's names. Prices and how to info on how to order hard copies for whose titles available in hardcopy are linked.
NASA History Series Publications

Monday, May 10, 2004

Airshow Report 

Went to the "Angels Over Atlanta" airshow at NAS Atlanta this weekend. This was the first time a jet team had flown her in 18 years, so I was pumped. I enjoyed myself, but there were some things I found disappointing.

First, the High Points. Delta did have "Spirit of Delta" in the 75th anniversary scheme. Also present was "Ship 41", Delta's first DC-3 and a restored Travelair. I was able to get good pictures of a grey tiger painted aggressor F-5E, and got to see an F-86 Sabre in flight. The civilian aerobatic performers were excellent and the Air Force F-15 and F-16 Demos were impressive. The Heritage flight with the F-15, F16, & F-86 was major cool. I even enjoyed watching the Jet dragster race the aerobatic plane. (Lets see him try to outdrag the Viper). I do wish I had stayed to see the Army Aviation Heritage folks do their demo, as it looked good from the bus out to the parking lot, but the heat was a bit too much for Linda and myself. I watched the Blues twice this weekend from my office at work.

On the other hand, the static display area was thin, thin, thin. I Counted 19 aircraft in the static park. 2-F-18s, an F-5E, and an F-16C was it for the fast jets. A T-45 and L-39 for Jet trainers, 1- C-130, 1- E-2C, and 1-P-3C along with an AH-1W and UH-1N and a restored UH-1D. There was a T-28C, a T-34C, a T-34B, and that was it along with the three planes Delta brought. The new T-6A Texans were in the flying demo, but not in the static, along with the F-15 and F-14. No warbirds and very slim pickings of current stuff. Granted there was a B-25 over in Kennesaw, and airshows in Hickory, SC, and Vidalia, GA, that weekend that pulled a lot of warbirds away, but there are some local warbirds in this area that could have been talked into coming over, I'm sure. You'd have thought the organizers would have gotten Lockheed to drag an F-22 and C-130J over for the static, since they are being built on the other side of the runway. Also, why no flight demos of those two planes? The latest and greatest being built right here and the local taxpayers don't get to see them in action, or at least up close? And why no participation by the local AFRES unit showing what their C-130s can do? How come the Air Guard couldn't bring one of their planes up from Warner Robins? No Army Guard H-60s from the other side of the runway.

Thinking back, the Navy side has always had smaller shows and they do have a lot less ramp space. But when the Air Force side has an open house, there is a lot more to see. They bring more stuff for the static, more flying demos, and more warbirds. They could try a little harder and have a lot better show. That being said, I will go again the next time they have one. Its an airshow, its free, and its less than 20 minutes from home. It's just that it could be so much better.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

Pete Knight Passes Away. 

William J. 'Pete' Knight died on May 7th from acute myelogenous leukemia. He was known as "The Fastest Man Alive" after flying the X-15A-2 to Mach 6.7 (4,520 mph) on October 3, 1967. He was also the seventh pilot awarded astronaut wings for flying an airplane to 280,500 feet altitude on October 17, 1967. After 10 years of test flying, he then flew 253 combat missions in the F-100 Super Sabre over Vietnam. After Vietnam, Col. Knight was the thenth pilot to fly the F-15 Eagle, and ended his career as vice commander of the Air Force Flight Test Center, where was also active in the F-16 test program. He retired from the air force in 1982 with 32 years of service. He had over 6,000 flying hours in 100 different types of high-performance aircraft. He went into politics as a California State Senator and served in that body until his death.

California State Senate Republican Caucus
X-15 Pilots: Pete Knight

Saturday, May 08, 2004

Airshow Today! 

NAS Atlanta is having an open house today and Sunday. The Blue Angels will be performing. This will be the first time a jet team has performed here in 18 years. The following acts are also on the flying schedule:

F-15 Eagle Demonstration, Careers In Aviation flying the L-39 Albatros, Patti Wagstaff in the Extra 300s, Sean Tucker in the Challenger, T-6A Texan II Demonstration Team, F-14 Tomcat Demonstration, T-6 SNJ, Dan McClung in the Talon Eagle, Sky Soldiers Tribute to Patriots, USAF Heritage Flight with F-86 Sabre, F-16 Falcon Demonstration, Air Force Reserve Jet Car, Eric Beard flying "Russian Thunder" (Yak-54), C-130 Hercules Air Drop Demonstration, Dale Snodgrass flying F-86 Sabre, Military Static Displays

Rumor has it that Delta Airlines will have N102DA "The Spirit of Delta" on static display in her "new" 30's-retro paint scheme. I will be there tomorrow, as I unfortunately have to work Sunday.

On another note, the Blues flew a practice show today, and I swear that the building I work in started to lean noticeably to the west. We could see the show from our 9th floor location, and there were so many folks checking it out, that you might have thought the floor sloped that way! At one point, they flew OVER the building less than 500 feet up!

I will be taking pictures of the static park, and may watch some of the flying, but will most likely leave early. It is going to be very hot out there, and I don't handle heat and blazing sun well. Look for a post pointing to pictures soon.

Seafire Flies! 

Saw this on Wilbur's Blog today. There's a Seafire 47 flying in Texas. AFIK, this is the only example of what arguably was the ultimate piston-engined carrier-based fighter flying anywhere in the world. Even got the contra props working. I may just have to drag out that 1/48th scale Airfix kit out of the stash. Wilbur also has links for some majorly cool videos of the bird in flight .

Lasers for Defense! 

More good news. A joint US/Israeli project to develop a ground-based laser anti-missile system has successfully destroyed a long-range rocket in mid air. Nautilus is a joint project between Northrop-Grumman and several Israeli companies, and show a lot of promise as a potential point-defense against missiles, aircraft and artillery. As a button I bought years ago at an SF convention says, ""Speak softly and carry a megawatt laser."
US/Israeli IBM Laser System

Spitfire Pilot Got Rommel 

Nearly 60 years after the fact, research confirms that a Canadian Spitfire pilot flew the plane that strafed Rommel's staff car, wounding him and putting him out of action during the crucial early phases of the Normandy invasion. Earlier reports have variously given the credit to P-47's or Typhoons, but Charley Fox, 416 Squadron, RCAF was in the right place at the right time as an examination of logbooks and unit records has confirmed. The original report's link has expired from Canada Now's site, but it is archived at the link below. Once again, an interesting bit of history that might have been lost.

Who got Rommel

Friday, May 07, 2004

He Fought in Two Armies 

A fascinating story about an American paratrooper, separated from his unit on D-Day, who is captured by the Germans and sent to a POW camp. He eventually escapes, links up with a Soviet tank unit and fights with them for a month. Then, after being blown off a tank and wounded, he has an encounter with Marshal Zhukov! After making his way to the American Embassy in Moscow, he finds out he has been declared KIA and has to prove his identity. You can't make this stuff up. Truly truth is stranger than fiction.
U.S. Soldier Ended Up in Soviet Army

Thursday Threesome 

"Onesome: Something old- Do you have anything that you've owned simply forever? A cherished childhood toy, an antique handed down through the family... Let's see: A Christmas Ornament I made when I was in Kindergarten, My childhood xmas stocking, an 8x10 colour glossy that was made when I was three (along with school pictures & report cards back to kindergarten), my study desk that my dad cut down from a navy surplus typing desk when I was eight, and a kimono set that I was dressed in when I was a baby.

Twosome: Something new-
Buy anything new lately? 1634-THE GALILEO AFFAIR, two computer games, and THE FINAL COUNTDOWN on DVD

Threesome: Something borrowed- Ever borrowed anything and never returned it? Other than a couple of magazines, no

Bonus: Something blue- See anything blue from where you are? What is it?" I'm wearing a blue T shirt, My default colour scheme on my monitor is blue, and my wife is wearing the blue camisole and short set I bought her a couple of Valentine's Days ago.

Thursday Threesome

Thursday, May 06, 2004

Microsoft Expands Their Product Line 

Apparently a mistake, but a patent on a hybrid apple (the fruit, not the computer) was assigned to Microsoft.

Apple patented by Microsoft

Striking Back at Scammers! 

Ever gotten one of those scam e-mail letters offering to let you collect a "fee" for using your bank account to funnel ill-gotten funds out of Africa? Here's a site made up of guys who got them back. One even got twenty bucks cash out of one of them! Good fun.

419 Eater

Printing in 3-D! 

I want one of these! This is probably very similar to the unit that was used to make the parts for the Best of Show model at the regionals this year. Only $26,000 for the starter unit, 3-D Scanner and CAD-CAM software extra. The higher grade machines also print in RGB colour. Create "pre-painted" model kits with colour that won't peel, crack or chip.

The price now is where laser printers were about 10-15 years ago. Eventually, they'll be giving them away with a new system.

Now, where did I put that Lottery Ticket?

3-D Printer


I'm probably dating myself here, but I remember lusting after these things when I was a kid. I wasn't much of a comic book reader, but these ads were everywhere. My folks never let me get any, though. Looks like they were right about the quality in most cases. Anyway, a real neat site with colour pictures of the things. Major coolness

Saturday, May 01, 2004

Shooting Simulator 

A neat interactive target shooting simulator. Indoor Bullseye shooting. Different Ranges and rifle and pistols. Lost of interesting stuff about firearms and firearms safety. Fun. I wish they had military weapons and such, but not bad.

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