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The Underworld: Taking cover in a Tube Station during a London air raid

17 June 2018

 

Richard Maddox of the Imperial War Museum–London was most kind and wrote, correcting my misunderstanding of it in that it is not Londoners seeking protection from the Blitz in World War II but Londoners seeking protection from bombing raids in World War I. It is entitled, The Underworld: Taking cover in a Tube Station during a London air raid and was painted in oils by Walter Bayes.

Richard wrote:

“It shows people from wealthy and working classes seeking shelter (notice the woman in the fur coat with the evening bag sitting next to a baby having its nappy changed and the soldier enjoying a song with the accordion players while others try and sleep) not from WW2 air attacks but from German airships and Gotha bombers in WW1.

It is generally described as his most famous work and was produced in 1918 and shows the See https://www.iwm.org.uk/collections/item/object/1876and http://www.tate.org.uk/art/research-publications/camden-town-group/walter-bayes-r1105357 for more details.”

Thank you Richard!

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The 1910 Beta—one of powered aviation’s early successes

15 June 2018

 

Beta Airship Car in the London Science Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Walking into the top floor of Science Museum, London—and aviation museum in reality—one of the first impressive flying machines to see is suspended directly about the entry passage. Looking more like a canoe or a kayak with its angled sides and sewn fabric structure it is only the two pusher propellers which give insight that this allowed for human flight—but how?

As it turns out this was Beta and Beta was an airship built in 1910 by the Army Balloon Factory of Great Britain. This is the gondola (airship car in the UK’s parlance) for the improved Beta II and was suspended below a nonrigid envelope which was 108 feet in length and possessing a volume of 50,000 cubic feet. The single engine of the Beta II was a 50 hp air-cooled Clerget. The Royal Army and, later, the Royal Navy experimented with Beta II with the promising results regarding artillery spotting and convoy escort.

Beta Airship Car in the London Science Museum—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Vortices Exposed

13 June 2018

An F/A-18F Super Hornet pulling positive G in a starboard turn while vortices (often latent) condense  into visibility off the wing tips and engine air inlets—U.S. NavyMass Comm Spec Seaman Michael Colemanberry

Handley Page’s Revolutionary Gugnunc with Elegant Design by Dame Zaha Hadid

12 June 2018

 

Handley Page Gugnunc—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page designed what became to be known as their Gugnunc (after a popular comic book character’s speaking at the time) for a 1929 aviation competition to make flying safer. Back in the day too many pilots crashed their aircraft after stalling and spinning while low to the ground. Alas, the Gugnunc came in second and by only a single point. Significantly, this aircraft had flaps and wing slats (also called slots)—presaging what became common design components in aeronautics.

Handley Page Gugnunc—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

The Science Museum, London brilliantly combined the Gugnunc in an exhibition of mathematics with the engagement of renowned architect Dame Zaha Hadid (unfortunately deceased a few years now and a great loss to us). Hadid, known for her use of curves, designed the installation inspired by airflow which would come off the wings of the Handley Page in flight by using changing color hues to imply flight’s dynamism. The beauty and elegance of math is both implied by the smoothly curved surfaces as well as intricately by the subtle expression of contour lines (isoline, if preferred). Wonderfully done!

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Handley Page Gugnunc with design by Dame Zaha Hadid—Catherine Dowman/Travel for Aircraft

Science Museum, London–Aviation’s most sublime museum

10 June 2018

51° 29′ 51″ N/0° 10′ 27″ W

One expects an international city to have a world class science museum and London does not disappoint. Science Museum, London most certainly does not. Four floors (zero through three in UK parlance) of invention and comprehension with the natural sciences left to the Natural History Museum in the adjacent building.

What brought me here was a photo I saw years ago of the Me 163 Komet and later also the knowledge of the Supermarine S.6 Schneider Trophy racer piloted by Richard Waghorn—though I was astounded at how complete, bespoke and amazing this collection is.

Science Museum, London has no admission charge, cafés are sprinkled about, there are plenty of active things for children to do and toilets conveniently situated.

Messerschmitt Me 163B-1 Komet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Messerschmitt Me 163B-1 Komet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Most know of the museum’s Messerschmitt Me 163 Komet and even its Supermarine S.6B speed racer but who knew the entire top floor is an aviation museum outright! Aircraft suspended overhead, incredible professional scale models of aircraft which could not ever fly from the earliest of aviation’s days, engines mounted in racks like shoes in a bowling alley for convenient inspection—tantalizing to the senses as well as sparking the mind with so much of aviation’s history laid out for ease of understanding as well as visualization, not to mention Britain’s significant part in it.

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Supermarine S.6B—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Many remarkable aircraft used to accomplish historic feats are here, making this a spectacular museum:

  • A rare Beta 1 airship car
  • Alcock and Brown’s Vickers Vimy which they used to be the first to fly across the Atlantic
  • Amy Johnson’s de Havilland Gipsy Moth which she employed to be the first woman to solo from Great Britain to Australia
  • The UK’s first jet powered aircraft (Gloster E.28/39)—leading the UK into the jet age
  • The Schneider Trophy winning Supermarine S.6B which is proudly displayed on the floor, cannot be missed, for a good walkaround is a central attraction for its elegant and purpose-built appearance
  • Early marks of the Supermarine Spitfire (Mk IA) and Hawker Hurricane (Mk I)—both of these specific aircraft were flown into the fight in the Battle of Britain.
  • A Messerschmitt Me 163B-1 and a partially sectioned Fiesler V-1  (a V-2 is in the basement)
  • The jet age is more than represented by a, scimitar propeller, the Hawker Siddeley P.1127 (which led to the paradigm setting Harrier) and more.

Beta 1 Airship car in the London Science Museum (it was suspended below the envelope)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

J.A.P.-Harding Monoplane, a 1910 design—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Hawker Hurricane Mk I—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Hawker Hurricane Mk I—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The early marks: Hawker Hurricane Mk I and Spitfire Mk IA—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Gloster E.28/39, the UK’s first jet aircraft and but around the Whittle centrifugal turbojet—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Cody Military Biplane—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Cockpit of the Bleriot XI which was first to fly across the Irish Sea—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Alcock and Brown’s Vickers Vimy which they flew as first across the Atlantic Ocean while above is Amy Johnson’s Gipsy Moth which she piloted as first woman to solo from Great Britain to Australia—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

And so much more…

Aircraft engines aplenty at Science Museum, London—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Babbage Difference Engine No. 2 (a mechanical calculator, ancestor to the computer)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Babbage Difference Engine No. 2 detail showing the number wheels and sector gears—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Tide Predicting Machine made in 1872—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Avro 504K biplane (one of the most produced aircraft post World War I) suspended above a Grand Junction Railway No. 49 steam locomotive—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

 

 

Recce

8 June 2018

Pre-flight inspection of an RC-135V/W Rivet Joint—U.S. Navy/Joel Diller

D-Day Recalled in IR

6 June 2018

From the BBC, Linda Laird’s infrared photographs of fortifications of World War II’s Atlantic Wall—which was assaulted in detail on this day in 1944.