A geologist would do well to have two piece of gear made by the Swiss—the inveterate Swiss Army knife and the preeminent Pilatus Aircraft Ltd. PC-6. With the Porter, plenty of gear can travel a long way and land just about anywhere with its tremendous STOL performance. The main cabin has wide entry doors on each side as are cockpit doors—handy in limited areas. Camera ports and a hatch in the main cabin floor lend themselves to a variety of applications from photography to mapping. Long range, heavy loads, rough strip capable and as rugged as a geologist’s rucksack🙂
Studying geology requires not only books and mentors but travel as well. One has to see the subtlety, the differences, the similarities and out-and-out fascination from outcrop to outcrop. Some places are well within civilization and some are not. Some are well inland in arid regions, some on or near water, some low and some high. Always, there is the need for equipment, food, camping and kitchen gear. Usually, the geologist comes back weighing more than when going in, since rock samples are heavy (these are the times we wish we loved flowers or moss instead of rocks).
For short trips it would be hard to travel better than in a Maule Air M-7/MX-7. Powerful engine and light weight for STOL performance with decent range as well as speed. Able to carry two with gear or four with some gear, amphibious floats or oleo struts (for rough fields) it is a fabric over tube frame construction. When lightly loaded it can begin a climb like a rocket coming out of the hangar. Five position flaps and purpose-built wing tips enable extremely slow speed under control handling characteristics.
Dieter Morszach (President & CEO/RIMOWA GmbH) and engineer Dominik Kaelin (kealin aero technologies GmbH) combined their passions and resources to create a faithful reproduction flying Junkers F.13 aircraft. Junkers and RIMOWA are a natural wedding since RIMOWA is the renowned luggage company specializing in corrugated aircraft aluminum luggage and Hugo Junkers produced post modern aircraft designs using corrugated duralumin (also known as grooved alumin) stressed skin construction. The Hugo Junkers F.13 is more paradigm setting than one might first observe today with its first use of all metal stressed skin structure as well as the heated, as well as enclosed, 4 to 6 passenger cabin (with seat belts no less!)—thus setting the bar for future commercial airline aircraft designs—though the cockpit was open (some say semi enclosed). It was 1919 and Hugo Junkers had shown commercial passenger aviation the way to its future with RIMOWA cases closely behind him. Both Junkers and RIMOWA used corrugated aluminum alloys since they are light in weight yet strong with the corrugations resistant to bending stresses—as we well know, both aircraft and luggage cases experience bending stresses.
The Association of Friends of Historical Aircraft (Vereinigung der Freunde von Historische Flugzeuge in German and VFL as their acronym) instigated the idea which was quickly taken up by Ju-Air and RIMOWA. Seven years of research in the Deutsches Museum archives, including a 3-D laser scan of the Junkers F.13 at the Musée de l’Air et de l’space, and the team was ready to bring the faithful reproduction F.13 to the skies. Additional companies came on board for the manufacturing and the building of the F.13: kealin aero technologies GmbH, MSW Aviation, Naef Flugmotoren AG and AeroFEM GmbH. Original parts were made, people fabricated and fitted, systems were tested—all taking two years on the calendar, 12,000 man-hours in effort, as well as 35,000 rivets.
Dieter Morszach and Dominik Kaelin, together, reached a major goal with the first test flight of the reborn Junkers just last month. What a dedicated effort with original plans studied, parts made, original and modern manufacturing techniques utilized and modern safety improvements made (though one needs to look hard to see them)! The first test flight was made at the home airport for the aircraft within the Black Forest of Germany at Oberndorf, last month. Nicknamed “Annelise 2” she first flew on 15 September 2016 with Oliver Bachmann as pilot and RIMOWA’s Dieter Morszech as copilot. Happily, a handful of additional aircraft are to be built—and one can have a copy for ˜$2.5 million (USD).
What a stylish way to travel that would be!
Introduction at Oshkosh
Many thanks to RIMOWA for providing much of the material as well as the images used in this post.
SR-71 Flight Manual: the Official Pilot’s Handbook Declassified and Expanded with Commentary, new commentary by Col. Richard H. Graham USAF (ret), 2016, ISBN 9780760351741, 1040 pp.
Over a decade after retirement the SR-71 Blackbird inspires like no other aircraft. SR-71 authority Col. Richard Graham (who flew and instructed Blackbirds for 15 years as well as commanded the SR-71 1st Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron) is uniquely qualified to write about this more than remarkable aircraft.
Graham’s writing is as gifted as his depth of knowledge as he can so easily explain the complicated physics, procedures and nuances of the aircraft optimized to fly Mach 3+ over hostile territories on recce missions to gather information to prevent or more successfully prosecute war.
The flight manual itself can be downloaded elsewhere (100Mb+ file size) on the internet but this is the book to get and only for the price of taking a spouse to dinner. SR-71 Flight Manual has two things an internet download cannot give: a flight manual printed on good stock and double sided (as opposed to 2000 pages out of a desktop printer, likely injuring it); and Col. Graham’s insightful 30 pages of commentary. The freedom to leaf through the book is immeasurably better and more efficient than paging through a PDF.
The commentary segues back and forth with the flight manual as Graham references specific pages at the appropriate moments. The illustrations are full-sized, unlike the postage stamp sized versions commonly found in other books and the internet. The book describes the duties of the pilot and how to fly the SR-71 but also, uncommonly, describes the duties of the RSO and how the navigation as well as sensor systems are worked.
Tidbits are also scattered throughout the commentary, like good use of spices, such as:
- The time and place when a SAM-2 flashed by an SR-71 in flight nearly causing a precedent setting shoot down
- What is was like to refuel an SR-71 in flight
- The visceral experience of an upstart (when an engine ceased functioning as a ramjet)
- How flying at a specified Mach differs from flying at a specific altitude as most aircraft are navigated
- Why the SR-71 crew were never lulled into sleepiness though missions could last half a day
- Which of the nearly three dozen emergency procedures had to be memorized
- Why it was important to know which engine was out should a flame out occur
- How to successfully eject for each scenario—important since ejection through canopy would be lethal as well as the high altitude procedures
- Why at least four ground crew were required per canopy to get the crew out if they were incapacitated on the ground
The commentary and manual also make use of many graphs in the flight manual to illustrate performance envelopes and more. This is an extraordinary resource to utilize for the teaching of physics as well as math since it is real world excitement to the eager mind.
SR-71 Flight Manual absolutely belongs in aviation libraries for its presentation, wealth of information, insight and historical presence
Per the publishing custom, Quarto Publishing Group USA provided a copy of SR-71 Flight Manual: the Official Pilot’s Handbook Declassified and Expanded with Commentary for an objective review.