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Ultima Thule’s visit to the most distant object so far

21 August 2018

Artist’s impression of NASA’s New Horizons explorer spacecraft (upper right) encountering 2014 MU69 (nicknamed “Ultima Thule”), one of the Kuiper Belt objects which is orbiting one billion miles (1.6 billion kilometers) beyond Pluto’s orbit, on 1 Jan 2019. When that occurs, Ultima Thule will be the most primitive and most distant world ever explored—NASA/JHUAPL/SwRI/Steve Gribben image

What ever is the New Horizons up tp after its spectacular reece of Pluto?

Glad you asked!

After traveling another billion miles it will explore a Kuiper Belt object nicknamed Ultima Thule (officially classified as 2014 MU69). Which means that on New Year’s Day 2019 NASA will have explored not only the most distant object from Earth to date but also the most primitive. Kuiper Belt objects are “ices”—frozen volatiles of methane, ammonia or water from the days of our solar system’s formation. At least that’s what is thought until New Explorer gets a good look and reports back.

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Dehavilland Museum’s Mosquito laden hangar

19 August 2018

DH Aircraft Museum’s Engineering Heritage Award (March 2018) awarded to the DH 98, the world’s first Mosquito aircraft—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

The de Havilland Aircraft Museum has three Mossie examples—the very first Mosquito prototype DH 98, a bomber version Mosquito B Mk VI (angled windscreen and crew entry door in the lower fuselage) and a fighter-bomber variant Mosquito FB Mk 35 (flat windscreen and crew entry door at the fuselage’s left side). Three wooden wonders in a single hangar!

DH Museum’s Mossie hangar with no less than three (the prototype DH 98, a bomber B Mk VI and a fighter-bomber FB Mk 35 and a large amount of a rare Horsa glider)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s DH 98 Mosquito prototype—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s DH 98 Mosquito prototype fuselage markings—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s DH 98 Mosquito prototype (THE 1st Mossie)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B Mk VI—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B Mk VI—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B Mk VI (with 4000 pound “cookie” bomb casing)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito B Mk VI—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito FB Mk 35 (4 x .303 MG set in the nose with 4 x 20mm cannon below)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Mosquito FB Mk 35 (4 x .303 MG set in the nose with 4 x 20mm cannon below)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s diorama of World War II’s Operation Jericho (today’s smart bombs and GPS navigation could have hardly done better)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s model of the Royal Navy version of the Mosquito, the Sea Mosquito TR Mk 33 (note the folding wings and torpedo)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Molins Class M autoloading 6-pounder (57mm) cannon which was fitted to special Mosquito Mk VIII aircraft for anti shipping missions, carrying extra armor and 25 rounds (such aircraft were nicknamed “Tsetse”)—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

DH Aircraft Museum’s Molins 6-pounder’s feed mechanism with 57mm rounds—Joseph May/Travel for Aircraft

Marche Verta (Green March)

19 August 2018

Marche Verta (Green March), the Royal Moroccan Air Force Aerobatic Display Team, demonstrate with their Mudry (now Apex aircraft) CAP-232 aircraft—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

The CAP 232 is an aerobatic aircraft designed primarily for the French Air Force. It is powered by a Lycoming 6-cylinder piston engine can zoom at over 3000 feet/minute while possessing a roll rate maximum of 270 degrees/second.

Green March refers to a Moroccan confrontation in November 1975 against Spain for control of what was then called the Spanish Sahara. Sixteen years later Spain ceded most of the territory to Morocco, with the rest to Mauritania, while keeping certain financial interests in phosphate mining and off-shore fishing.

Falcon Ensconced

17 August 2018

An F-16CM Fighting Falcon in the 20th Maintenance Group (MXG) weapons standardization hangar (with its quaint wooden ceiling) at Shaw Air Force Base SC—U.S. Air Force/Sr Airman Christopher Maldonado

Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team)

16 August 2018

A pilot with Al Fursan (The Knights), the United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team, demonstrating the Aeromacchi MB-399’s flight capabilities during the International Marrakech Airshow 2016 in Morocco—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

A pilot with Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team) demonstrating the Aeromacchi MB-399 flight capabilities during the International Marrakech Airshow 2016 in Morocco—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team)—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team)—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team)—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team)—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball)

Al Fursan (United Arab Emirates Air Force Aerobatic Display Team)—DoD News/TSgt Brian Kimball

Hartmann, the Anarchist: Or the Doom of the Great City

15 August 2018

Hartmann, the Anarchist: Or the Doom of the Great City, E. Douglas Fawcett, 1893 (originally published), PIBN 1000446884, 214 pp.

Hartmann, the Anarchist: or the Doom of the Great City by E. Douglas Fawcett

I learned of this book when reading another about his brother Percy Fawcett who is the greatest explore you may never had heard of. That book is The Lost City of Z: a Tale of Deadly Obsession in the Amazon which is written by David Grann. Grann mentions in his book that Percy’s brother wrote excellently in the science fiction venue and particularly a story which envisioning airships as weapons of strategic destruction.

How right Grann is! Hartmann, the Anarchist: Or the Doom of the Great City  is that book and more. Fawcett knew how to write a story that was imaginative, captivating and bursting with future vision. Fawcetts’s aviation knowledge is up to date as of 1893 and his language is easy to read though sentence phrases often are very different—and pleasantly so. Back in the day, for example, being told off meant being given your orders. Quite different in today’s English.

Fawcett makes good use of Hiram Maxim’s flying developments of the time and probably Alberto Santos-Dumont’s experimentation, as well. Some of the aerodynamics are a bit off but most are spot on. His descriptions of the feeling of flight as well the sights while flying—novel for the time—are inspirational and wonderfully descriptive. Fawcett’s impressions of the horrible destruction that can be wrought by aerial attack are vivid and, unfortunately, as accurate as can be written today with his inclusions of collateral damage and detailed observation of destructive mechanisms. Like Jules Verne describing a powerful but unknown source of power to the outside world in 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, Fawcett also describes a lightweight metal required for the airship of his book, the Attila. Fawcett saw the future of flight in airships, which he almost got right, but absolutely got the need for aluminum spot on though decades ahead of the designers of wood and fabric aircraft.

And the term, aircraft. It is not used in the book but aeronef and aerostat are. Another delightful gem in this book as we learn aeronef is the French term (where it is spelled aéronef) for airship at the time, though aircraft in the present day.

Hartmann, the Anarchist: Or the Doom of the Great City is a delightful and easy read. Airship fans will particularly enjoy Fawcett’s imaginative description of the Attila’s construction and her handling. Story tellers will also enjoy Fawcett’s ability to pen a story using the reader’s imagination to fill in the spaces between the words—just as a trombone player has the ability to play between the notes.

Apache and Fire

15 August 2018

 

An Army Air Corps Apache of the UK taking a dramatic part in the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford 2014—© Crown Copyright 2014/Cpl Neil Bryden RAF