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Boeing A160 Hummingbird—pointing to the future of VTOL UAVs

25 April 2018


Boeing A160 Hummingbird, four rigid unhinged rotor blades—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

This helicopter had the unique ability to change rotor speeds via a two speed transmission mated to either a Subaru 4-cylinder or 6-cylinder engine. The varying stiffness as well as cross-section of the unhinged rotor blades lowered fuel consumption rates which contributed to fantastic performance. Flight endurance was 30–40 hours and flight distance could be up to 2500 miles with a 1000 pound payload. A proposed diesel powered engine variant could have doubled the endurance. The UAV missions with numbers like these were limited only by imagination. Alas, the U.S. Army shelved the program for fixed wing UAVs.

Boeing A160 Hummingbird looking rather more like a shark—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Boeing A160 Hummingbird—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Boeing A160 Hummingbird’s retractable main landing gear—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft


Fire Scout—VTOL UAV—Go Navy!

24 April 2018


Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The U.S. Navy tested RQ-8A and RQ-8B Fire Scouts especially for use aboard the new paradigm littoral combat ships. Being able to stay aloft for 5–8 hours lends the VTOL UAV a great ability for ASW and other patrol duties and its ability to autonomously land aboard ship reduces handling accidents.

Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Northrop Grumman RQ-8A Fire Scout—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Meet Me in the Middle

22 April 2018


Spanish Air Force helicopters (flying the Eurocopter EC 120B Colibri) of the Patrulla ASPA demonstration team performing in an air show at Morón AFB in southern Spain—NATO image

A perfect pairing

21 April 2018


Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire (the more than famous RAF fighters of the Battle of Britain) in a fly-past. Optimally, during the Battle of Britain, Hurricanes were tasked with bomber interception and Spitfires with escort fighter interception. We know how often events work out optimally in combat but overall, with the aid of ground based radar, it worked. Each had Merlin engines but vastly different construction as well as wing profiles. Overall, Hurricanes could be built more quickly though Spitfires were lighter in weight. Both were solid gun platforms—Crown Copyright

Air Force One in Key West

20 April 2018

Key West FL 19 April 19 2018: Air Force One arrives at Naval Air Station Key West’s Boca Chica Field carrying President of the United States Donald J. Trump—U.S. Navy/Jolene Scholl

Refueling Above the Cloud Deck

18 April 2018


A KC-135 Stratotanker refuels a B-1B Lancer high over South Dakota while changing course. A KC-135 can travel up to 1500 miles with 150,000 pounds of transfer fuel—U.S. Air Force photo/Sr Airman Mary O’Dell

Eagle Nightfire

16 April 2018


A pair of U.S. Air Force F-15E Strike Eagle aircraft in afterburner over northern Iraq 23 Sept 2014 while returning from conducting airstrikes in Syria—Dept. of Defense photo/Sr Airman Matthew Bruch (USAF)