Monday, April 2, 2018
The Yokosuka K5Y was a two-seat unequal-span biplane trainer (Allied reporting name: "Willow") that served in the Imperial Japanese Navy during World War II. Due to its bright orange paint scheme (applied to all Japanese military trainers for visibility), it earned the nickname "aka-tombo", or "red dragonfly", after a type of insect common throughout Japan.
A K5Y of the Kamikaze Special Attack Corps 3rd Ryuko Squadron was credited with sinking the destroyer USS Callaghan on July 29, 1945, the last US warship lost to kamikaze attack during the war.
The aircraft was based on the Yokosuka Navy Type 91 Intermediate Trainer, but stability problems led to a redesign by Kawanishi in 1933. It entered service in 1934 as Navy Type 93 Intermediate Trainer K5Y1 with fixed tail-skid landing gear, and remained in use throughout the war. Floatplane types K5Y2 and K5Y3 were also produced. After the initial 60 examples by Kawanishi, production was continued by Watanabe (556 aircraft built), Mitsubishi (60), Hitachi (1,393), First Naval Air Technical Arsenal (75), Nakajima (24), Nippon (2,733), and Fuji (896), for a total of 5,770. These aircraft were the mainstay of Imperial Japanese Navy Air Service's flight training, and as intermediate trainers, they were capable of performing demanding aerobatic maneuvers. Two further land-based versions, the K5Y4 with a 358 kW (480 hp) Amakaze 21A engine and the K5Y5 with a 384 kW (515 hp) Amakaze 15, were projected but never built.
Indonesian People's Security Force (the precursor of Indonesian Air Force) operated derelict aircraft against Dutch colonial rule. On July 29 1947, Indonesia using 2 units of Yokosuka K5Y (Called "Cureng/Churen" by Indonesian fighters) with one "Guntei Bomber" (Mitsubishi Ki-51 from Maguwo Air Force Base, Yogyakarta for bombing Dutch strategic positions in Ambarawa, Salatiga and Semarang. On its original plan, Nakajima Ki-43 "Hayabusa" also planned to be involved too in this operation, but cancelled as the aircraft suffered technical difficulties. It is currently on display at Jakarta.
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Thursday, March 29, 2018
The one problem I found with the Arsenal kit is that it was more in line with the HAL 9000 face plate from 2010 odyssey 2 including the label. I want the one from 2001.
So using the extensive information provided by AP 333 on the RPF web site I was able to recreate a HAL 9000 more in keeping with 2001. It's not perfect due to the confines of the kit, but it's close.
The stand I got from the Revell Fock Wulf 190 kit. I also installed a cheap sound card as well, but as can be expected if you buy a cheap sound card the sound you get back is not very good.
HAL 9000 is a fictional character and the main antagonist in Arthur C. Clarke's Space Odyssey series. First appearing in 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL (Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer) is a sentient computer (or artificial general intelligence) that controls the systems of the Discovery One spacecraft and interacts with the ship's astronaut crew. Part of HAL's hardware is shown towards the end of the film, but he is mostly depicted as a camera lens containing a red or yellow dot, instances of which are located throughout the ship. HAL 9000 is voiced by Douglas Rain in the two feature film adaptations of the Space Odyssey series. HAL speaks in a soft, calm voice and a conversational manner, in contrast to the crewmen, David Bowman and Frank Poole.
In the film 2001, HAL became operational on 12 January 1992 at the HAL Laboratories in Urbana, Illinois as production number 3. The activation year was 1991 in earlier screenplays and changed to 1997 in Clarke's novel written in conjunction with the movie. In addition to maintaining the Discovery One spacecraft systems during the interplanetary mission to Jupiter (or Saturn in the original novel, published shortly after the release of the film), HAL is capable of speech, speech recognition, facial recognition, natural language processing, lip reading, art appreciation, interpreting emotional behaviours, automated reasoning, and playing chess.
HAL became operational in Urbana, Illinois, at the HAL Plant (the University of Illinois' Coordinated Science Laboratory, where the ILLIAC computers were built). The film says this occurred in 1992, while the book gives 1997 as HAL's birth year.
In 2001: A Space Odyssey, HAL is initially considered a dependable member of the crew, maintaining ship functions and engaging genially with its human crew-mates on an equal footing. As a recreational activity, Frank Poole plays against HAL in a game of chess. In the film the artificial intelligence is shown to triumph easily. However, as time progresses, HAL begins to malfunction in subtle ways and, as a result, the decision is made to shut down HAL in order to prevent more serious malfunctions. The sequence of events and manner in which HAL is shut down differs between the novel and film versions of the story. In the aforementioned game of chess HAL makes minor and undetected mistakes in his analysis, a possible foreshadowing to HAL's malfunctioning.
In the film, astronauts David Bowman and Frank Poole consider disconnecting HAL's cognitive circuits when he appears to be mistaken in reporting the presence of a fault in the spacecraft's communications antenna. They attempt to conceal what they are saying, but are unaware that HAL can read their lips. Faced with the prospect of disconnection, HAL decides to kill the astronauts in order to protect and continue its programmed directives, and to conceal its malfunction from Earth. HAL uses one of the Discovery's EVA pods to kill Poole while he is repairing the ship. When Bowman uses another pod to attempt to rescue Poole, HAL locks him out of the ship, then disconnects the life support systems of the other hibernating crew members. Bowman circumvents HAL's control, entering the ship by manually opening an emergency airlock with his service pod's clamps, detaching the pod door via its explosive bolts. Bowman jumps across empty space, reenters Discovery, and quickly re-pressurizes the airlock.
The novel explains that HAL is unable to resolve a conflict between his general mission to relay information accurately, and orders specific to the mission requiring that he withhold from Bowman and Poole the true purpose of the mission. (This withholding is considered essential after the findings of a psychological experiment, "Project Barsoom", where humans were made to believe that there had been alien contact. In every person tested, a deep-seated xenophobia was revealed, which was unknowingly replicated in HAL's constructed personality. Mission Control did not want the crew of Discovery to have their thinking compromised by the knowledge that alien contact was already real.) With the crew dead, HAL reasons, he would not need to lie to them.
In the novel, the orders to disconnect HAL come from Dave and Frank's superiors on Earth. After Frank is killed while attempting to repair the communications antenna he is pulled away into deep space using the safety tether which is still attached to both the pod and Frank Poole's spacesuit. Dave begins to revive his hibernating crew mates, but is foiled when HAL vents the ship's atmosphere into the vacuum of space, killing the awakening crew members and almost killing Bowman, who is only narrowly saved when he finds his way to an emergency chamber which has its own oxygen supply and a spare space suit inside.
In both versions, Bowman then proceeds to shut down the machine. In the film, HAL's central core is depicted as a crawlspace full of brightly lit computer modules mounted in arrays from which they can be inserted or removed. Bowman shuts down HAL by removing modules from service one by one; as he does so, HAL's consciousness degrades. HAL reverts to material that was programmed into him early in his memory, including announcing the date he became operational as 12 January 1992 (in the novel, 1997). When HAL's logic is completely gone, he begins singing the song "Daisy Bell" (in actuality, the first song sung by a computer). HAL's final act of any significance is to prematurely play a prerecorded message from Mission Control which reveals the true reasons for the mission to Jupiter.
Clarke noted that the film 2001 was criticized for not having any characters, except for HAL and that a great deal of the establishing story on Earth was cut from the film (and even from Clarke's novel). Early drafts of Clarke's story called the computer Socrates (a preferred name to Autonomous Mobile Explorer–5), with another draft giving the computer a female personality called Athena. This name was later used in Clarke and Stephen Baxter's A Time Odyssey novel series.
The earliest draft depicted Socrates as a roughly humanoid robot, and is introduced as overseeing Project Morpheus, which studied prolonged hibernation in preparation for long term space flight. As a demonstration to Senator Floyd, Socrates' designer, Dr. Bruno Forster, asks Socrates to turn off the oxygen to hibernating subjects Kaminski and Whitehead, which Socrates refuses, citing Asimov's First Law of Robotics.
In a later version, in which Bowman and Whitehead are the non-hibernating crew of Discovery, Whitehead dies outside the spacecraft after his pod collides with the main antenna, tearing it free. This triggers the need for Bowman to revive Poole, but the revival does not go according to plan, and after briefly awakening, Poole dies. The computer, now named Athena, announces "All systems of Poole now No–Go. It will be necessary to replace him with a spare unit." After this, Bowman decides to go out in a pod and retrieve the antenna, which is moving away from the ship. Athena refuses to allow him to leave the ship, citing "Directive 15" which prevents it from being left unattended, forcing him to make program modifications during which time the antenna drifts further.
During rehearsals Kubrick asked Stefanie Powers to supply the voice of HAL 9000 while searching for a suitably androgynous voice so the actors had something to react to. On the set, British actor Nigel Davenport played HAL. When it came to dubbing HAL in post-production, Kubrick had originally cast Martin Balsam, but as he felt Balsam "just sounded a little bit too colloquially American", he was replaced with Douglas Rain, who "had the kind of bland mid-Atlantic accent we felt was right for the part." Rain was only handed HAL's lines instead of the full script, and recorded them across a day and a half.
HAL's point of view shots were created with a Cinerama 160-degree Fairchild-Curtis wide-angle lens. This lens is about 8 inches (20 cm) in diameter, while HAL's prop eye lens is about 3 inches (7.6 cm) in diameter. Stanley Kubrick chose to use the large Fairchild-Curtis lens to shoot the HAL 9000 POV shots because he needed a wide-angle fisheye lens that would fit onto his shooting camera, and this was the only lens at the time that would work. The HAL 9000 face plate, without lens, was discovered in a junk shop in Paddington, London, in the early 1970s by Chris Randall. Research revealed that the original lens was a Nikon Nikkor 8mm F8. This was found along with the key to HAL's Brain Room. Both items were purchased for ten shillings (£0.50). The collection was sold at a Christies auction in 2010 for £17,500 to film director Peter Jackson.
HAL's name, according to writer Arthur C. Clarke, is derived from Heuristically programmed ALgorithmic computer. After the film was released fans noticed HAL was a one-letter shift from the name IBM and there has been much speculation since that this was a dig at the large computer company, something that has been denied by both Clarke and 2001 director Stanley Kubrick. Clarke addressed the issue in his book The Lost Worlds of 2001:
...about once a week some character spots the fact that HAL is one letter ahead of IBM, and promptly assumes that Stanley and I were taking a crack at the estimable institution ... As it happened, IBM had given us a good deal of help, so we were quite embarrassed by this, and would have changed the name had we spotted the coincidence.IBM was consulted during the making of the film and their logo can be seen on props in the film including Pan Am Clipper's cockpit instrument panel and on the lower arm keypad on Poole's space suit. During production it was brought to IBM's attention that the film's plot included a homicidal computer but they approved association with the film if it was clear any "equipment failure" was not related to their products.
The scene in which HAL's consciousness degrades was inspired by Clarke's memory of a speech synthesis demonstration by physicist John Larry Kelly, Jr., who used an IBM 704 computer to synthesize speech. Kelly's voice recorder synthesizer vocoder recreated the song "Daisy Bell", with musical accompaniment from Max Mathews.
HAL's capabilities, like all the technology in 2001, were based on the speculation of respected scientists. Marvin Minsky, director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL) and one of the most influential researchers in the field, was an adviser on the film set. In the mid-1960s, many computer scientists in the field of artificial intelligence were optimistic that machines with HAL's capabilities would exist within a few decades. For example, AI pioneer Herbert A. Simon at Carnegie Mellon University, had predicted in 1965 that "machines will be capable, within twenty years, of doing any work a man can do", the overarching premise being that the issue was one of computational speed (which was predicted to increase) rather than principle.
HAL is listed as the 13th-greatest film villain in the AFI's 100 Years...100 Heroes & Villains.
The 9000th of the asteroids in the asteroid belt, 9000 Hal discovered on May 3, 1981 by E. Bowell, at Anderson Mesa Station, is named after HAL 9000.
HAL was featured in a guest role in the game LEGO Dimensions, where he is summoned by the player in the Portal 2 level to distract GLaDOS.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
Just doing some more experiments with dark backgrounds. I find them to be more difficult to work with than white backgrounds but they give a warmer feel to the pictures I think.
The Sopwith Camel was a British First World War single-seat biplane fighter introduced on the Western Front in 1917. Manufactured by Sopwith Aviation Company, it had a short-coupled fuselage, heavy, powerful rotary engine, and concentrated fire from twin synchronized machine guns. Though difficult to handle, to an experienced pilot it provided unmatched manoeuvrability. A superlative fighter, the Camel was credited with shooting down 1,294 enemy aircraft, more than any other Allied fighter of the war. It also served as a ground-attack aircraft, especially near the end of the conflict, when it was outclassed in the air-to-air role by newer fighters.
ntended as a replacement for the Sopwith Pup, the Camel prototype was first flown by Harry Hawker at Brooklands on 22 December 1916, powered by a 110 hp Clerget 9Z. Known as the "Big Pup" early on in its development, the biplane design was structurally conventional for its time, featuring a box-like fuselage structure, an aluminium engine cowling, plywood-covered panels around the cockpit, and fabric-covered fuselage, wings and tail. For the first time on an operational British-designed fighter, two .303 in (7.7 mm) Vickers machine guns were mounted directly in front of the cockpit, firing forward through the propeller disc with synchronisation gear. A metal fairing over the gun breeches, intended to protect the guns from freezing at altitude, created a "hump" that led to the name Camel. The bottom wing was rigged with 3° dihedral but the top wing had no dihedral, so that the gap between the wings was less at the tips than at the roots. This was done at the suggestion of Fred Sigrist, the Sopwith works manager, in order to simplify construction. Approximately 5,490 Camels were built.
Unlike the preceding Pup and Triplane, the Camel was generally considered difficult to fly. The type owed its extreme manoeuvrability and its difficult handling to the close placement of the engine, pilot, guns and fuel tank (some 90% of the weight of the aircraft) within the front seven feet of the aircraft, coupled with the strong gyroscopic effect of the rotary engine. The Camel soon gained an unfortunate reputation with student pilots. The Clerget engine was particularly sensitive to fuel mixture control and incorrect settings often caused the engine to choke and cut out during take-off. Many crashed due to mishandling on take-off when a full fuel tank affected the centre of gravity. In level flight, the Camel was markedly tail-heavy. Unlike the Sopwith Triplane, the Camel lacked a variable incidence tailplane, so that the pilot had to apply constant forward pressure on the control stick to maintain a level attitude at low altitude. The aircraft could also be rigged so that at higher altitudes it was able to be flown "hands off." A stall immediately resulted in a particularly dangerous spin.
The type entered squadron service in June 1917 with No. 4 Squadron of the Royal Naval Air Service, near Dunkirk. The following month, it became operational with No. 70 Squadron of the Royal Flying Corps. By February 1918, 13 squadrons were fully equipped with the Camel.
The Camel proved to have a good margin of superiority over the Albatros D.III and D.V and offered heavier armament and better performance than the Pup and Triplane. In the hands of an experienced pilot, its manoeuvrability was unmatched by any contemporary type. Its controls were light and sensitive. The Camel turned rather slowly to the left, which resulted in a nose up attitude due to the torque of the rotary engine. But the engine torque also resulted in the ability to turn to the right in half the time of other fighters, although that resulted in more of a tendency towards a nose down attitude from the turn. Because of the faster turning capability to the right, to change heading 90° to the left, many pilots preferred to do it by turning 270° to the right.
Agility in combat made the Camel one of the best-remembered Allied aircraft of the First World War. RFC crew used to joke that it offered the choice between "a wooden cross, the Red Cross, or a Victoria Cross" Together with the S.E.5a and the SPAD S.XIII, the Camel helped to establish the Allied aerial superiority that lasted well into 1918.
Major William Barker's Sopwith Camel (serial no. B6313, the aircraft in which he scored the majority of his victories,) became the most successful fighter aircraft in the history of the RAF, shooting down 46 aircraft and balloons from September 1917 to September 1918 in 404 operational hours flying. It was dismantled in October 1918. Barker kept the dashboard watch as a memento, but was asked to return it the following day.
An important role for the Camel was home defence. The RNAS flew a number of Camels from Eastchurch and Manston airfields against daylight raids by German Gotha bombers from July 1917. The public outcry against these raids and the poor response of London's defences resulted in the RFC diverting Camel deliveries from France to home defence, with 44 Squadron RFC reforming on the Camel in the home defence role in July 1917. When the Germans switched to night attacks, the Camel proved capable of being safely flown at night, and the home defence aircraft were modified with navigation lights to serve as night fighters. A number of Camels were more extensively modified as night fighters, with the Vickers machine guns being replaced by overwing Lewis guns, with the cockpit being moved rearwards so the pilot could easily reload the guns. This modification, which became known as the "Sopwith Comic" allowed the guns to be fired without affecting the night vision of the pilots, and allowed the use of new and more effective incendiary ammunition that was considered unsafe to fire from synchronised Vickers guns. By March 1918, the home defence squadrons were equipped with the Camel, with seven home defence squadrons flying Camels by August 1918. Camels were also used as night fighters over the Western Front, with 151 Squadron intercepting German night raids over the front, and carrying out night intruder missions against German airstrips, claiming 26 German aircraft shot down in five months of operations.
By mid-1918, the Camel was becoming limited, especially as a day fighter, by its slow speed and comparatively poor performance at altitudes over 12,000 ft (3,650 m). However, it remained useful as a ground-attack and infantry support aircraft. During the German offensive of March 1918, flights of Camels harassed the advancing German Army, inflicting high losses (and suffering high losses in turn) through the dropping of 25 lb (11 kg) Cooper bombs and ultra-low-level strafing. The protracted development of the Camel's replacement, the Sopwith Snipe, meant that the Camel remained in service until the Armistice.
In summer 1918, a 2F.1 Camel (N6814) was used in trials as a parasite fighter under Airship R23
Wednesday, March 14, 2018
The United States Spacecraft Discovery One was a nuclear-powered interplanetary fictional spaceship controlled by the AI onboard computer HAL 9000 from the first two novels of the Space Odyssey series and the movies 2001: A Space Odyssey and 2010: The Year We Make Contact.
This spaceship is founded on solidly conceived, yet unrealized science. One major concession in its appearance, for the purpose of reducing confusion, was to eliminate the huge cooling "wings" which would be needed to radiate the heat produced by its hypothetical thermonuclear propulsion system. The movie's producer/director Stanley Kubrick thought that the audience might interpret the wings as meaning that the spacecraft was intended to fly through an atmosphere.
The Discovery One was named after Captain Robert Scott's sailing ship RRS Discovery, which was launched in 1901. Writer Arthur C. Clarke used to visit this ship when it was moored in London. It shares its name with a real spacecraft, the Space Shuttle orbiter Discovery (OV-103).
In the novel 2001: A Space Odyssey, the Discovery One is described as being about 460 feet (140 meters) long (the 2010 movie mentions 800 feet) and powered by a nuclear plasma drive, separated by 275 feet (84 m) of tankage and structure, from the spherical part of the spaceship where the crew quarters, the computer, flight controls, small auxiliary craft, and instrumentation are located. In the crew's centrifuge, the crewmen would have enjoyed Moon-like gravitational conditions. This would be where they spend most of their time, and where the three hibernating astronauts rested in their compartments. The piloting, navigation, and other occasional tasks could take place in the zero-gravity command module.
Other sections of the crewmen's sphere would include the pod bay, where three one-man repair and inspection craft would be kept, and the spaceship's primary HAL 9000 mainframe computer with its level-upon-level of memory storage and digital processing units. Because of the lack of aerodynamic design and its immense size, the Discovery One would be assembled in and launched from orbit. As described in the novel, the Discovery One was originally intended to survey the Jovian system, but its mission was changed to go to Saturn and investigate the destination of the signal from the black monolith at the crater Tycho. As a result, the mission became a one-way trip to Saturn and its moon Iapetus. After investigating alien artifacts at Saturn and Iapetus, the preliminary plan is for all five members of the crew to enter suspended animation for an indefinite period of time. Eventually, it was hoped that a much larger and more powerful Discovery Two would be built that could make it to Iapetus and return with everyone in hibernation.
The ship's centrifuge was a spinning band of deck, mounted inside the crew compartment, that used centrifugal force to simulate the effects of gravity. It was the primary living and work area, featuring consoles, panels, screens, and devices. In the movie, there was Earth gravity in the centrifuge. All other points on the ship, including the command bridge, were micro-g environments where the crew members used Velcro shoes to attach themselves to the floor. There was an automated kitchen developed with the assistance of General Mills; a ship-to-Earth communications center; and a complete medical section where the astronauts underwent regular automated checkups with results and any diagnosis of deficiencies dislayed directly on a readout screen.
The Discovery is described as a very large ship that could be handled by only two astronauts (David Bowman and Frank Poole), along with the HAL 9000. In the book IBM predicted that computer development would have advanced to such an extent that the mission could be undertaken with all the astronauts placed in hibernation. It was said to be desired, however, that regular communications be maintained throughout the voyage between the pilot and copilot and mission control back on Earth. During communication, account was taken of the elapsed time for electromagnetic waves crossing space between the spaceship and the Earth. For example, Poole is depicted watching a prerecorded birthday message from his family, rather than interacting with them in real time. Such a conversation is not possible because messages take over 30 minutes to transmit between Jupiter and Earth. Naturally, this time would depend on the relative positions of the bodies in the Solar System at any given moment.
After the malfunction of HAL, Bowman deactivated the computer, thus effectively isolating himself on board the Discovery. In the movie, when the spacecraft arrives at Jupiter, it encounters TMA-1's considerably larger 'Big Brother', 'TMA-2', at the Jupiter/Io L1 point. The novel is basically the same with Discovery in orbit around Saturn's moon Iapetus instead. In both versions Bowman leaves Discovery to examine the monolith and is taken inside it.
The novel and movie 2010: Odyssey Two follows the 2001: A Space Odyssey movie ending rather than the novel.
After finding out that Discovery's orbit is failing, a joint Soviet-US mission (including Heywood Floyd) travels to Jupiter aboard the spacecraft Alexei Leonov to intercept and board Discovery believing that it harbours many of the answers to the mysteries surrounding the 2001 mission. Leonov docks with Discovery, reactivates the on-board systems, and stabilizes its orbit. Hal's creator, Dr. Chandra, is sent to reactivate the HAL 9000 computer and gather any data he can regarding the previous mission.
Later on, an apparition of Dave Bowman appears, warning Floyd that Leonov must leave Jupiter within two days. Floyd asks what will happen at that time, and Bowman replies, 'Something wonderful'. Floyd has difficulty convincing the rest of the crew, at first, but a dark spot on Jupiter begins to form and starts growing. HAL's telescope reveals that the “Great Black Spot” is in fact a vast population of monoliths increasing at a geometric rate. (The film accelerates the pace from the novel, both shortening Bowman's deadline from fifteen days, and making the spot grow faster.)
Initially it was planned to inject Discovery on an Earth-bound trajectory (though it would not arrive for some years); however, when faced with Bowman's warning, the Leonov crew devises a plan to use Discovery as a 'booster rocket', enabling them to return to Earth ahead of schedule, but leaving Discovery in a elliptical orbit of Jupiter. The crew worries that Hal will have the same neuroses on discovering that he will be abandoned, and Chandra convinces HAL that the human crew is in danger and must leave.
After detaching itself from Discovery, Leonov makes a hasty exit from the Jupiter system, just in time to witness the Monoliths engulf Jupiter. Through a mechanism that the novel only partially explains, these monoliths increase Jupiter's density until the planet achieves nuclear fusion, becoming a small star.
As Leonov leaves Jupiter, Bowman instructs HAL to begin repeatedly broadcasting the message:
ALL THESE WORLDS ARE YOURS EXCEPT EUROPA. ATTEMPT NO LANDINGS THERE.The movie version, as part of its heightened Cold War emphasis, adds the words:
USE THEM TOGETHER. USE THEM IN PEACE.The new star, which Earth eventually dubs "Lucifer", destroys Discovery. HAL is transformed into the same kind of entity as David Bowman and becomes Bowman's companion.
Saturday, March 10, 2018
I'm just doing some more experimenting with black backgrounds. I find silver coloured aircraft tends to show up better with a dark background.
The English Electric Lightning is a supersonic jet fighter aircraft of the Cold War era, noted for its great speed. It is the only all-British Mach 2 fighter aircraft and was the first aircraft in the world capable of supercruise. The Lightning was renowned for its capabilities as an interceptor; pilots commonly described it as "being saddled to a skyrocket". Following English Electric's integration into the unified British Aircraft Corporation, the aircraft was marketed as the BAC Lightning.
The Lightning was prominently used by the Royal Air Force RAF and the Royal Saudi Air Force. The aircraft was a regular performer at airshows, it is one of the highest-performance aircraft ever used in formation aerobatics. Following retirement in the late 1980s, many of the remaining aircraft became museum exhibits; until 2010, three examples were kept flying at "Thunder City" in Cape Town, South Africa. In September 2008, the Institution of Mechanical Engineers conferred on the Lightning its "Engineering Heritage Award" at a ceremony at BAE Systems' site at Warton Aerodrome.
The first operational Lightning, designated the F.1, was designed as a point defence interceptor to defend mainland Britain from bomber attack. To best perform this intercept mission, emphasis was placed on rate-of-climb, acceleration, and speed, rather than range and combat endurance. It was equipped with two 30 mm ADEN cannon in front of the cockpit windscreen and an interchangeable fuselage weapon pack containing either an additional two ADEN cannon, 48, two inch air-to-air rockets, or two de Havilland Firestreak air-to-air missiles, a heavy fit optimized for attack of large aircraft. The Ferranti AI.23 radar (immediate predecessor of the AI.24 Foxhunter) supported autonomous search, automatic target tracking, and ranging for all weapons, while the pilot attack sight provided gyroscopically derived lead angle and backup stadiametric ranging for gun firing. The radar and gunsight were collectively designated the AIRPASS: Airborne Interception Radar and Pilot Attack Sight System.
The next two Lightning variants, the F.1A and F.2, saw steady but relatively minor refinement of the basic design, and the next variant, the F.3, was a major departure. The F.3 had higher thrust Avon 301R engines, a larger, squared-off fin and strengthened intake bullet allowing a service clearance to Mach 2.0 (the F.1, F.1A and F.2 were limited to Mach 1.7), the A.I.23B radar and Red Top missile offering a limited forward hemisphere attack capability—and most notoriously—deletion of the nose cannon. The new engines and fin made the F.3 the highest performance Lightning yet, but with an even higher fuel consumption and resulting shorter range. The next variant, the F.6, was already in development, but there was a need for an interim solution to partially address the F.3’s shortcomings. The F.3A was that interim solution.
The F.3A introduced two improvements: a new, non-jettisonable, 610 gal (2,770 l) ventral fuel tank, and a new, kinked, conically cambered wing leading edge, incorporating a slightly larger leading edge fuel tank, raising the total usable internal fuel to 716 gal (3,250 l). The conically cambered wing noticeably improved maneuverability, especially at higher altitudes, and the ventral tank nearly doubled available fuel. The increased fuel was very welcome, but the lack of cannon armament was felt to be a deficiency. It was thought that cannon were desirable to fire warning shots in the intercept mission.
The F.6 was the ultimate Lightning version to see British service. Originally, it was nearly identical to the F.3A with the exception that it had provisions to carry 260 gal (1,180 l) ferry tanks on pylons over the wings. These tanks were jettisonable in an emergency, and gave the F.6 a substantially improved deployment capability. There remained one glaring shortcoming: the lack of cannon. This was finally rectified in the form of a modified ventral tank with two ADEN cannon mounted in the front. The addition of the cannon and their ammunition decreased the tank's fuel capacity from 610 gal to 535 gal (2,430 l), but the cannon made the F.6 a “real fighter” again.
The final British Lightning was the F.2A. This was an F.2 upgraded with the cambered wing, the squared fin, and the 610 gal ventral. The F.2A retained the A.I.23 and Firestreak missile, the nose cannon, and the earlier Avon 211R engines. Although the F.2A lacked the thrust of the later Lightnings, it had the longest tactical range of all Lightning variants, and was used for low-altitude interception over Germany.
There were several unique and distinctive features in the design of the Lightning; principally the use of stacked and staggered engines, a notched delta wing, and a low-mounted tailplane. The vertically stacked, longitudinally staggered engines was the solution devised by Petter to the conflicting requirements of minimizing frontal area, providing undisturbed engine airflow across a wide speed range, and packaging two engines to provide sufficient thrust to meet performance goals. The configuration allowed the twin engines to be fed by a single nose inlet, with the flow split vertically aft of the cockpit, and the nozzles tightly stacked, effectively tucking one engine behind the cockpit. The result was a low frontal area, an efficient inlet, and excellent single-engine handling. Unfortunately, this stacked configuration led to complicated maintenance procedure, and the recurring problem of fluid leakage from the upper engine being a fire hazard.
The fuselage was tightly packed, leaving no room for fuel tankage or main landing gear. While the notched delta wing lacked the volume of a standard delta wing, each wing contained a fairly conventional three-section main fuel tank and leading-edge tank, holding 312 imp gal (1,420 l); the wing flap also contained a 33 imp gal (150 l) fuel tank and an additional 5 imp gal (23 l) was contained in a fuel recuperator, bringing the aircraft's total internal fuel capacity to 700 imp gal (3,200 l). The main landing gear was sandwiched outboard of the main tanks and aft of the leading edge tanks, with the flap fuel tanks behind. The long main gear legs retracted toward the wingtip, necessitating an exceptionally thin main tyre inflated to the high pressure of 330–350 psi (23–24 bar).
A conformal ventral store was added to the design to house, alternatively, a fuel tank or a rocket engine. The rocket engine, a Napier Double Scorpion motor, also contained a reserve of 200 imp gal (910 l) of high-test peroxide (HTP) to drive the rocket’s turbopump and act as an oxidizer. Fuel for the rocket would have been drawn from the Lightning’s internal tankage. The rocket engine was intended to boost the Lightning’s performance against a supersonic, high altitude bomber threat, but this threat never emerged, thus the Lightning’s basic performance was deemed sufficient and the rocket engine option was cancelled in 1958. The ventral store saw wide use as an extra fuel tank, initially this was jettisonable and held 250 gal (247 gal usable, 1,120 l). Later ventral tanks were non-jettisonable.
Despite its acceleration, altitude and top speed, the Lightning found itself outclassed by newer fighters in terms of radar, avionics, weapons load, range, and air-to-air capability. More of a problem was the obsolete avionics and weapons fit. The radar had a short range and no track-while scan capability; it could only detect targets in a fairly narrow (40 degree) arc. While an automatic collision course attack system was developed and successfully demonstrated by English Electric, it was not adopted owing to cost concerns. Plans to supplement or replace the obsolete Red Top and Firestreak missiles with modern AIM-9L Sidewinder missiles never came to fruition because of lack of funding,
Friday, March 9, 2018
I built this model several years ago. Back in the day when I didn't know anything about panel shading. Still looks good despite that.
The Convair B-58 Hustler was the first operational jet bomber capable of Mach 2 flight. The aircraft was designed by Convair engineer Robert H. Widmer and developed for the United States Air Force for service in the Strategic Air Command (SAC) during the 1960s. It used a delta wing, which was also employed by Convair fighters such as the F-102, with four General Electric J79 engines in underwing pods. It carried five nuclear weapons; four on pylons under the wings, and one nuclear weapon and fuel in a combination bomb/fuel pod under the fuselage, rather than in an internal bomb bay.
Replacing the Boeing B-47 Stratojet medium bomber, it was originally intended to fly at high altitudes and supersonic speeds to avoid Soviet fighters. The B-58 was notorious for its sonic boom, which was often heard by the public as it passed overhead in supersonic flight.
The introduction of highly-accurate Soviet surface-to-air missiles forced the B-58 into a low-level-penetration role that severely limited its range and strategic value, and it was never employed to deliver conventional bombs. This resulted in only a brief operational career between 1960 and 1970 when the B-58 was succeeded by the smaller, swing-wing FB-111A.
The genesis of the B-58 program came in February 1949, when a Generalized Bomber Study (GEBO II) had been issued by the Air Research and Development Command (ARDC) at Wright-Patterson AFB, Ohio, for the development of a supersonic, long range, bombardment aviation platform. The proposed bomber's design and development was to begin less than two years after sustained supersonic flight had successfully been achieved. A number of contractors submitted bids to perform the generalized study (that hopefully would lead to a development contract) including Boeing, Convair, Curtiss, Douglas, Martin and North American Aviation.
Convair, building on its experience in earlier delta-wing fighters, beginning with the XF-92A, a series of GEBO II designs were developed, initially studying swept and semi-delta configurations, but settling on the delta wing planform. The delta planform had good internal volume for support systems and fuel. It also had low wing loading (for airframe size), thus permitting supersonic flight in the mid-stratosphere (50 – 70,000 feet). The final Convair proposal, coded FZP-110, was a radical two-place, delta wing bomber design powered by General Electric J53 engines. The performance estimates included a 1,000 mph (1,600 km/h; 870 kt) speed and a 3,000 statute mile (4,800 km; 2,600 nmi) range.
The resulting B-58 design was the first "true" USAF supersonic bomber program. The Convair design was based on a delta wing with a leading-edge sweep of 60° with four General Electric J79-GE-1 turbojet engines, capable of flying at Mach 2. Although its large wing made for relatively low wing loading, it proved to be surprisingly well suited for low-altitude, high-speed flight. It seated three (pilot, bombardier/navigator, and defensive systems operator) in separated tandem cockpits. Later versions gave each crew member a novel ejection capsule that made it possible to eject at an altitude of 70,000 ft (21,000 m) at speeds up to Mach 2 (1,320 mph/2,450 km/h). Unlike standard ejection seats of the period, a protective clamshell would enclose the seat and the control stick with an attached oxygen cylinder, allowing the pilot to continue to fly even "turtled up" and ready for immediate egress. The capsule was buoyant; the crewmember could open the clamshell, and use it as a life raft. In an unusual test program, live bears and chimpanzees were successfully used to test the ejection system. The XB-70 would use a similar system (though using capsules of a different design).