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The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST Museum)

27 February 2017

57° 16′ 57″ N / 0° 45′ 13″ W

The Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST Museum) is one of those most special of aviation’s history sites to visit. Just as my visit to Huffman’s Prairie and Cape Kennedy, FAST also has a power-of-place that is equally both invigorating and intimate. Farnborough is not only the site of the UK’s first powered and controlled flight, it is also the site where untold engineers, tradespeople, technicians and pilots developed significant advances in aviation. Soon after Bill Cody’s famous first powered, controlled flight for the UK, Farnborough evolved from balloon development to design of stable aircraft (the first aircraft were not inherently stable). Soon improvements to engines, flight systems, the Harrier, the Concorde and more would all occur here. FAST is now a single historic building (the historic Trenchard House) and pavilion, not Farnborough’s expanse of buildings in former days, making the museum a personal affair as one walks among the aircraft, artifacts and displays. Cheerfully, these are hardly separated from the visitor as one has to do a bit of bobbing and weaving to see them. This is perhaps rare, such an historic place that can be seen with the informality of a local museum though the Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST Museum) is a national treasure.

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The sign for FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Parking is plentiful though not initially appearing so—simply enter and turn right at the Bill Cody Pavilion’s far side to access more than enough parking. There is no entry fee, a cozy café, facilities and plenty of space for children. Aircraft on the outside, a replica of the Cody Flyer in the Bill Cody Pavillion and the Trenchard House is a treasure chest of displays. This museum is unusual in that it can equally serve engineering as well as aviation interests.

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Main entry to FAST at the Trenchard House—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

A pleasing bonus is the expertise of the invigorating docents with many being retired aerospace engineers and technicians. During my visit there was a bit of rain but the docents were more than willing to remove the tarps covering the open cockpits.

Farnborough Air Sciences Trust (FAST Museum) is a world class facility with its individual blending of history, displays and staffing.

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Aérospatiale Puma—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Aérospatiale Puma—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Westland Scout—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Hawker Hunter T.7—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Hawker Hunter T.7—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Hawker Hunter T.7—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Aérospatiale Gazelle—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Aérospatiale Gazelle—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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GAF Jindivick target drone produced in Australia—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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GAF Jindivick target drone produced in Australia (on the original launching trolley)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Folland Gnat—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Folland Gnat—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Folland Gnat—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Looking down the line of a portion of the display aircraft at FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Bristol Beagle—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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The Whittle jet engine from 1943—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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In the Concorde flight simulator Michael Dowman brings the SST into Heathrow—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Wind tunnel model to test M-wings—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Wind tunnel models—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Valves! Electronic tubes used before diodes on display in FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Display and test models both abound at FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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SE 5 diorama displayed at FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Red Baron diorama on exhibit at FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Fokker DR1 airframe model exhibited at FAST—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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FAST Concorde SST model, part of the Concorde exhibit—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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FAST model of the Avro Type D—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Harrier T.4—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Harrier T.4—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Harrier T.4 dorsal view—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Harrier T.4 forward cockpit—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Fuller viewer of the historic Trenchard House where pre-WW I balloons through the Concorde SST were in part developed—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Concorde test airframe member—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Faithful full scale replica of the Cody Flyer within the FAST Bill Cody Pavillion—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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Bill Cody Flyer replica emphasizing the cockpit as well as engine and fuel tank—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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English Electric Lightning (note the over-under engine placement and how the dorsal tunnel widens near the cockpit for extremely close side-by-side seating in this training variant)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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EE Lightning—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

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The English Electric Lightning was one hot interceptor (capable of intercepting an SR-71 under special circumstances)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

 

The Wright Brothers

22 February 2017

The Wright Brothers, David McCullough, 2015, ISBN 978-1-4767-2875-9, 320 pp.

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

The Wright Brothers by David McCullough

McCullough has penned this most wonderful book on the Wright Brothers. No such book could be wonderful regarding the Wright Brothers without accurately describing their achievements (which is done quite correctly). And what achievements they were in pioneering not only manned flight but developing the scientific as well as engineering rigor which became aeronautics. McCullough’s writing has the reader experience, not only noting, the moment when this brother duo realized the data published by the heroic Octave Chanute, as well as Otto Lilienthal, were absurdly incorrect—that now incandescent instance marks the birth of modern aeronautics with techniques used to this day.

Naturally, the author addresses these achievements but this book goes far beyond recitation of history. McCullough’s smooth style and full research has readers magically become aware of how the Wright’s came to be the Wright Brothers, the critical importance of their mother and her genetic traits which allowed them to realize significant mechanical abilities. Quite possibly it was their father who helped forge their minds into a combined as well as superb analyzing talent. McCullough explains all as a wise and unbiased friend.

Various persons and businesses are noted making this story a tapestry. Where did the muslin for the wings originate? Who was the man who developed their engine and what manner of man was he? How was life at Kitty Hawk? Which brother cooked? Which wrote? How close were the Wright’s? Who was Katherine Wright and how much she helped over decades? McCullough has readers understand the answers to these queries and so much more–making the Wright brothers three-dimensional people, not two-dimensional historical facts. This is one of McCullough’s sublime talents as a writer, which has this book as a joy to read. The joy that comes from getting to know good people–one of life’s greatest experiences.

Do not expect this book to explain the increasingly secretive nature of the Wright Brothers, especially after the death of Wilbur Wright or Orville’s estrangement from Katherine after her marriage. Also, McCullough chose to not fully address their lawsuit against Glenn Curtiss which dragged along for a decade before ended by the federal government nor how the Wright’s became millionaires. What and how much did they sell? How were they manufacturing facilities organized? No, this book is about the Wrights, not their business empire, and the obstacles they overcame as pioneers brilliantly blazing a trail toward manned flight. McCullough presents his facts, cites his work, and explains his conclusions so that the reader has confidence in their newly realized knowledge of not only who each Wright brother was but who the Wright Brothers were so that they became giants in aviation.

Strategic Sourcing Management

21 February 2017

Strategic Sourcing Management: Structural and operational decision-making, Olivier Bruel, 2017, ISBN 978 0 7494 7669 1, 693 pp.

Strategic Sourcing Management: Structural and operational decision-making by Olivier Bruel

Strategic Sourcing Management: Structural and operational decision-making by Olivier Bruel

Another business title of the Kogan Page publishing firm, Strategic Sourcing Management is through and modern yet each chapter can be read on its own for understanding specific niches. And author Bruel is thorough using sixteen chapters separated into four parts. The reader is taken from decisions and policies (e.g., international procurement, supplier policy) through operations (e.g., outsourcing and subbing), then organization (e.g., legal, internal and public procurement) and, ending with, performance management (e.g., information systems, procurement positioning).

This book is both for the general manager as well as the logistics specialists. It is equally suitable in the international as well as regional realms. Olivier Bruel is more than capable to write such an impressive and comprehensive title (Professor Emeritus/HEC Paris) but did so with a team of several experts within academia as well as industry. This knowledge in concert with excellent illustrations creates a book which is vital to enhance logistical operations whether large and small.

Kogan Page has Strategic Sourcing Management available with shipping free within the UK and United States.

 

Dale Mabry and the U.S. Army Airship Roma

20 February 2017

Dale Mabry Highway is a vital road in Tampa FL and its southern terminus is a main gate into MacDill Air Force Base. This is how it got its name. Dale Mabry was an aviator in the U.S. Army and in command of the Italian designed and built semi-rigid airship Roma which tragically crashed in 1922 taking 34 souls with her—including Captain Dale Mabry. The Roma was about two years in age at the time and had a large box rudder system designed for maneuvering within restricted confines. It was during flight testing of this ability that the Roma collided with live power lines which led to explosion and fire aboard ship. The Roma was the last U.S. military airship to utilize hydrogen as a result.

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U.S. Army aviator and officer Dale Mabry—FloridaMemory.com image

This page from The Langley Field Times has news about the Roma disaster. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Roma tragedy as reported in The Langley Field Times—U.S. Air Force photo

The Roma makes its first flight in the United States at Langley Field, Va., on Nov. 15, 1921. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Roma making its first flight in the United States at Langley Field VA on 15 Nov 1921—U.S. Air Force photo

A semi-rigid airship, the Roma used hydrogen for lift, and a metal keel supported the bag. This photograph shows the metal keel being assembled. Afterward, the metal framework was covered with cloth, giving the Roma its characteristic fin along the bottom. (U.S. Air Force photo)

A semi-rigid airship, the Roma used hydrogen for lift, and a metal keel supported the bag. This photograph shows the metal keel being assembled. Afterward, the metal framework was covered with cloth, giving the Roma its characteristic fin along the bottom—U.S. Air Force photo

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The U.S. Army Airship Roma showing the characteristic keel and box rudder/elevator (a/k/a steering assembly) though no explanation as to why the flag is upside down (normally a signal of distress)—U.S. Air Force photo

Normally filled with hydrogen gas, the Romaís gas bag was filled with air to allow workmen to repair any leaks. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Normally filled with hydrogen gas, the Roma’s gas bag was filled with air to allow workmen to repair any leaks—U.S. Air Force photo

Spectators watch as a crane removes the twisted metal of the crashed Roma. Note how the steering assembly remained caught in a telephone pole on the right. (U.S. Air Force photo)

Spectators watch as a crane removes the twisted metal of the crashed Roma. Note how the steering assembly remained caught in a telephone pole on the right—U.S. Air Force photo

DAYTON, Ohio -- Roma exhibit on display in the Early Years Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)

The Roma exhibit in the Early Years Gallery of the National Museum of the United States Air Force—U.S. Air Force photo

Texans Now and Texans Then

20 February 2017
160621-N-HV841-002 WHITING FIELD, Fla. (June 21, 2016) Three U.S. Navy T-6B "Texan II" aircraft assigned to Training Air Wing FIVE, fly over Naval Air Station Whiting Field in Milton, Florida. Aircraft 166010 is the first T-6B delivered to the United States Navy on August 25, 2009 and aircraft 166260 is the 148th and final T-6B delivered to TRAWING-5 by Beechcraft Defense Company, a subsidiary of Textron Aviation. Since replacing the venerable Beechcraft T-34C "Turbo Mentor" and achieving initial operating capability in April 2010 at Naval Air Station Whiting Field, the T-6B has proven to be a highly dependable turboprop trainer whose primary mission is to train future Navy, Coast Guard and Marine Corps aviators. The three aircraft performed three flyovers of the base before landing to highlight the milestone. U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Antonio More' / released.

A trio of U.S. Navy Beechcraft T-6B Texan II aircraft—U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Antonio Moré

160621-N-HV841-001 - NAS WHITING FIELD, Fla. - Three T-6B Texan IIs bank toward Naval Air Station Whiting Field to help celebrate the arrival of the 148th and final T-6B aircraft to serve as part of Training Air Wing FIVE's primary training fleet. The first T-6 to arrive to Naval Air Station Whiting Field, the centennial color schemed T-6, and the final Texan II to be sent to Training Air Wing FIVE flew three formation passes over the base before landing at the installation's North Field for a ceremony to mark the occasion. U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Antonio More' / released.

Three Beechcraft T-6B Texan IIs bank into toward Naval Air Station Whiting Field FL—U.S. Navy photo by Ensign Antonio Moré

140924-N-OY799-058 PATUXENT RIVER, Md. (Sept. 24, 2014) A T-6B Texan aircraft is on the flight line at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River. The school provides instruction to experienced pilots, flight officers and engineers in the processes and techniques of aircraft and systems test and evaluation. (U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate/Released)

Beechcraft T-6B Texan aircraft on the flight line at the U.S. Naval Test Pilot School at Naval Air Station Patuxent River—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Kenneth Abbate

030807-N-0000X-002 Naval Air Station Pensacola, Fla. (Aug. 7, 2003) -- The T-6 Texan training aircraft prepares to takes off from the flight line at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola. The Texan well replace the Navy’s T-34C Turbo Mentors and the Air Force T-37B “Tweety Bird” as the primary pilot training aircraft at both NAS Pensacola and NAS Whiting Field. Only one model of aircraft well be used for training Air Force and Navy pilots, as part of the Department of Defense’s effort to streamline military training operations, reduce costs, while increasing efficiency. U.S. Navy photo. (RELEASED)

Beechcraft T-6 Texan  II training aircraft pilots readying for take off—U.S. Navy photo

070620-N-1688B-121 VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (June 20, 2007) - During an air show to commemorate the World War II Battle of Midway, a 1949 North American T-6G aircraft lands on the grass airfield, at the Virginia Beach Airport. The U.S. Naval Institute sponsored an air show and dinner celebration in honor of veterans who served in the Battle of Midway, as well as veterans of that era still living today. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist Seaman Matthew Bookwalter (RELEASED)

North American T-6G aircraft lands on the grass airfield—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Comm Spec Seaman Matthew Bookwalter

061008-N-7286M-060 Coronado, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2006) - Vintage T-6 “Texan” aircraft conduct a formation flyover as part of the SRT Coronado Classic Speed Festival opening ceremonies held on Naval Base Coronado air strip. The SRT Coronado Classic Speed Festival featured over 200 classic racecars from around the world competing on a 1.6-mile course. Speed Fest, held Oct. 7-8, is one of the many events taking place during San Diego Fleet Week. U.S. Navy

Vintage T-6 Texan aircraft—U.S. Navy photo

061008-N-7286M-047 Coronado, Calif. (Oct. 8, 2006) - Vintage T-6 “Texan” aircraft conduct a formation flyover as part of the SRT Coronado Classic Speed Festival opening ceremonies held on Naval Base Coronado air strip. The SRT Coronado Classic Speed Festival featured over 200 classic racecars from around the world competing on a 1.6-mile course. Speed Fest, held Oct. 7-8, is one of the many events taking place during San Diego Fleet Week. U.S. Navy photo by Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Daniel R. Mennuto (RELEASED)

Vintage T-6 Texans in formation flight—U.S. Navy photo by Mass Comm Spec 2nd Class Daniel R. Mennuto

060421-N-0000T-001 Jacksonville, Fla. (April 21, 2006) - Cmdr. Mike Ginter, Operations Officer aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67), raffled off a ride in his World War II T-6 Texan aircraft for every 100 tickets sold in an effort to raise money for the Navy Marine Corps Relief Society. Aviation Electronics Technician Timothy Bostic won the first raffle and is pictured above with Cmdr. Ginter piloting the aircraft over downtown Jacksonville. U.S. Navy photo (RELEASED)

Cmdr. Mike Ginter, Operations Officer aboard USS John F. Kennedy (CV 67) pilots Aviation Electronics Technician Timothy Bostic who won a charity raffle to fly on the aircraft over Jacksonville FL—U.S. Navy photo

Turbo Mentor in Vintage Livery

15 February 2017
110113-N-8891L-002 WHITING FIELD, Fla. (Jan. 13, 2011) A unique T-34 "Turbo Mentor" passes in front of several other T-34s painted in the current orange and white colors. The aircraft's grey and yellow paint scheme, with Marine markings, are a part of the Centennial of Naval Aviation's 2011 celebration. At least one aircraft of each type in the Navy inventory will be painted to replicate a design from aviation history. This version dates back to the 1930s, and is the fourth historically painted aircraft received by Naval Air Station Whiting Field. (U.S. Navy photo by 2nd Lt. Molly LeBlanc/Released)

In the unique livery of vintage USMC this T-34 Turbo Mentor passes in front of several other T-34s painted in the current orange and white colors—U.S. Navy photo by 2nd Lt. Molly LeBlanc

101228-N-2728S-039 CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas (Dec. 28, 2010) A T-34 Turbo with World War II piant, assigned to Training Air Wing 4, is at Training Squadron (VT) 27. As naval aviation prepares for its 100th year anniversary in 2011, more than 20 aircrafts in the fleet will receive the World War II paint to commemorate the Centennial of Naval Aviation including fixed and rotary aircraft. These aircrafts will be statically placed within The Chief of Naval Air Training Command as a reminder of the contributions and sacrifices of Navy Aviators past and present as well as our Marine Corps and Coast Guard Aviators. (U.S. Navy photo by Richard Stewart/Released)

A T-34 Turbo Mentor in World War II USMC paint—U.S. Navy photo by Richard Stewart

NASA’s experimentation with a diesel-electric hybrid drone—the GL-10 Greased Lightning

13 February 2017

 

 

Grease Lightning 10 Operators: Bill Fredericks, David North, Zack Johns, Mark Agate

Operators Bill Fredericks, David North, Zack Johns and Mark Agate positioning the GL-10 Greased Lightning—NASA image

At 100% scale the GL-10 will be power lithium-ion batteries with a pair of 8 hp diesel engines which will drive 10 electric engines—eight on the wing and two on the stabilizer. The tilting nature of the wing and stabilizer gives the capability of not needing either a launch system or a large operation space. Currently, the Greased Lightning has been flown at 50% scale in vertical flight. Low propeller tip speed lends a quite nature to the GL-10 but its chief characteristic is its high cool factor.

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NASA GL-10 Greased Lightning under operation by Bill Fredericks, David North, Zack Johns and Mark Agate (note the tell tale on the nose)—NASA image