Browsing: Vehicles

A Brief History On December 21, 1988, the giant Soviet cargo jet, the Antonov An-225 Mriya, made its maiden flight.  Heavier than any airplane before or since, and with a wingspan longer than any production aircraft, the An-225 was intended to carry mass quantities of military cargo, outsized items, and to transport the Buran-class orbiter space vehicles. Digging Deeper Built as an enlargement of the already large An-124, only a single flying copy of the An-225 was ever completed.  A second airframe was started, but not finished. The dimensions of the An-225 were 84 meters long, an 88.4 meter wingspan,…

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A Brief History On December 17, 1947, the Boeing B-47 Stratojet made its first flight.  A graceful looking six engine jet bomber, this nuclear “big stick” of the US Air Force was destined to never drop a bomb in anger, although 2,042 Stratojets served from 1951 to 1977.  Other highly capable bombers that never saw combat include: Digging Deeper The Convair B-36 Peacemaker, which entered service in 1948 and retired in 1959, 384 of these gigantic bombers were the largest planes in service while they flew.  Powered by six propeller engines and four jet engines, the B-36 was defended by…

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A Brief History On December 7, 2020, fighter ace and aviation record breaker, Chuck Yeager, Brigadier General US Air Force, died at the age of 97.  Yeager was known to say, “There are old pilots and bold pilots, but no old, bold pilots,” perhaps not an original quotation but generally true, although Yeager was indeed a “Bold Pilot” and died at an old age. Digging Deeper Yeager, a World War II ace, shot down 11.5 enemy planes, one of which was an Me-262 jet.  Yeager was shot down in 1944, but evaded capture in occupied France and even operated with…

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A Brief History On December 2, 1927, Henry Ford revealed the successor to his iconic Model T, the Ford Model A.  While the Ford Model T at one time comprised half or more of all the cars in the world, the Model A was also a success. Digging Deeper After 18 years of production, the Model T had become dated, and sales slowed.  The Model A reached 3 million in sales by March of 1930, and was offered in nine styles, the cheapest of which cost only $385!  A total of 4.8 million were made. The 4-cylinder engine pumped out…

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A Brief History On December 1, 1984, a joint operation between NASA and the FAA conducted a “Controlled Impact Demonstration,’ a fancy way of saying purposely crashing an unoccupied jetliner. Digging Deeper The remotely controlled jet was a Boeing 720, a narrowed down version of the ubiquitous 707.  A 4-engine jetliner that could carry 131 passengers, the 720 was a good representation of the airliners of the time. The doomed jet was loaded with cameras, sensors, and recording equipment, and the data derived from the intentional crash was used to develop new safety standards for airliners.  Conclusions included that airliners…

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