Thursday: Hili dialogue and pre-Hallowe’en tweets

by Matthew Cobb

Out in Poland, Hili is a modest cat with little to be modest about.

Hili: Modesty is a virtue.
A: There is no denying it.
Hili: I go in for it in my moments when I am free from other chores.
In Polish:

Hili: Skromność jest cnotą.
Ja: Nie da się ukryć.
Hili: Uprawiam ją w chwilach wolnych od innych zajęć.

We’re still a few days from Hallowe’en, but Twitter has already begun posting appropriate stuff.

Look at this beast (note it is kneeling down to eat):

A rather terrifying Irish legend that, perhaps, Grania could have told us more about…

Mancunian monsters (I haven’t spotted these yet – Jen Williams is one of our local journalists (yes, they still exist) who does brilliant work on housing and politics and stuff):

A creepy encounter in a wood. Who knew deer ears were so tough?

A lovely Hallowe’en bat:

And now something real to give you nightmares:

And to close, two raves from the 70s. First, fab fashion:

And last, film of the final flight of Concorde, which took place On This Day in 2003. A beautiful machine as long as you don’t think of the stream of partially-combusted kerosene it left behind it, the dreadful carbon footprint and, above all, the incredible racket it made. When I lived in south London in the early 1980s, we had to stop trying to talk when Concorde flew over my flat at around 6:30 pm each evening. Looking at how long it takes to get into the air, despite the four Olympus engines, I wonder what proportion of its total take-off weight was fuel? (Yes I know Wiki could tell me in an instant, but to use one of Jerry’s favourite English phrases, I can’t be arsed – feel free to chip in).

 

 

 

60 Comments

  1. Frank Bath
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 6:49 am | Permalink

    I too lived in South London when Concorde flew and we loved to see it. What a beautiful machine it was.
    As I recall it was built to show Anglo-French co-operation in aeronautic development, and little else.

    • David Coxill
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:28 am | Permalink

      I lived in Cranford near Houndslow for a few months ,right under one of the flight paths .
      The whole house used to shake when Concorde made it landing approach right over the house .

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

      It was built because, at the time, everyone thought aeronautical progress was inevitable, that the supersonic transport was coming in one form or another, and Britain/France did not want to be left behind and shut out of the game as was happening with subsonic airliners.

      And if the example of Concorde led to the realisation that a multinational like Airbus Industrie was entirely feasible, I’d say it was worth every penny.

      cr

      • Posted October 24, 2019 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

        Well put. What really killed supersonic transport was the high cost of Concorde and the fact that it couldn’t go supersonic over land.

        I see it as somewhat analogous to going to the moon. Once it was done, the marginal gains vs the costs of going back were not favorable. Now that technological progress has changed the equation, it is worth trying both again.

  2. Randall Schenck
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    Trashing the Concord while it was the technology of the day is like trashing the railroad steam engine. It was really dirty, yes?

    • Jonathan Wallace
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:04 am | Permalink

      He was hardly trashing Concorde was he? Concorde was a spectacular technological achievement but as jblilie notes below it was never a commercial success (in contrast to the railways)and right from the start of its life in service the noise was a major issue for the communities around the airports it flew to and below its flight path.

      The Boeing 747 came into service around the same time as Concorde and therefore relied on the technology of the same day (as it were!) was able to get passengers across the Atlantic with a far lower per-capita environmental impact.

      I suppose one could argue that by opening up air travel to more than just the very wealthy elite the Jumbo can be said to have played a major role in the massive growth in commercial air travel since its launch and thereby had a much bigger environmental impact overall than Concorde but I don’t think the development of commercially unviable technology is the answer to our current problems!

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:20 am | Permalink

      The operators wanted rid of the Aérospatiale/BAC Concorde anyway & the passenger downturn after 9/11 was one of the lesser coffin nails. Financial institutions on Wall Street & in the City of London concluded they would no longer put up with paying the £6,800 return ticket – in the 2000s companies were growing far more aware of their bottom line expenses & travel costs was one of the first items to be slashed. They must have smelled the stink of 2008 on the horizon. 🙂

      B.O.A.C & others got a great deal on Concorde – I think the Concorde SST project cost the Brit taxpayer over £1 billion [perhaps a multiple of that] in today’s money & we should have known better – a late 60’s UK gov secret memo estimated the cost as being equivalent to two English channel tunnels, but back then there was an unrealistic belief that the market for Concorde was 350 to 500 units. I remember reading that ownership of the planes was transferred to private business from the gov for a nominal fee – one report said a £1 per unit, but I don’t know for sure…

      Anyway, by the time of the new millennium the operators [BA in the UK I think] were facing shocking maintenance costs on their old Concordes & were delighted to write them off for around £80M?

      I suspect that even if the routes had not been restricted, due to the sonic boom & need to be near an alternate airport with a long runway at all points on the flight, it would still have been an uncommercial proposition – the range wasn’t quite good enough, fuel costs were rocketing & it takes two tons of fuel just to taxi to the take off! [100 tons to cross the Atlantic] & cargo capacity was small. If there had been more than 16 planes on more than one route then three empty seats might be the profit/loss tipping point [I did a quick calc based on £7k return fare].

      From a technology perspective it was an amazing accomplishment that gave the SR-71 a bit of a shock at times! Adding an aluminium tube to seat the likes of Joan Collins, Roger Moore, David Frost & company execs was perhaps the wrong mission for it.

      • Jonathan Wallace
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        I don’t know if he was the first to coin the term ‘Concorde fallacy’ for the flawed reasoning that bases a decision to continue with a project on the basis of the resource already expended rather than the probability of a successful outcome, but Richard Dawkins certainly popularised it in biology when he used the term to criticise similarly flawed logic used by some evolutionary biologists in interpreting and making predictions about decisions made by animals.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:14 am | Permalink

          I did not know of the term “Concorde fallacy” – [the sunk cost fallacy] so tyvm. According to Robert Matthews RD himself coined it:

          That same year [1976], Dr Richard Dawkins, the Oxford University zoologist already noted for minting the term “selfish gene”, dreamt up another catchy phrase, the “Concorde fallacy”, to describe behaviour in which creatures persist with an activity into which they have invested a lot of time and energy.

          In a paper written with Tamsin Carlisle, his student, Dr Dawkins suggested that, while supposedly intelligent humans might fall for such reasoning, more lowly animals were unlikely to commit the Concorde fallacy. For them, only the Darwinian struggle for survival matters – and that tends to focus attention on ensuring future success, rather than justifying past behaviour.

          I am familiar with the same error in poker where players still in a hand think the chips they’ve taken from their stack & placed over the line [including any antes] are still somehow theirs, when in fact they are now part of the pot, just like all the other chips other players have put over the line up to that point.

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:07 am | Permalink

      SR-71 LA Speed Check story [somewhat embellished]:

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:39 am | Permalink

        Another airplane now out of service. It happens to most. Also a very dirty plane, you might say.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 4:59 pm | Permalink

      “Trashing the Concord while it was the technology of the day is like trashing the railroad steam engine.”

      I agree with that point. You have to judge it by the standards of the ime and by those standards, it was a remarkable achievement, IMO.

      “It was really dirty, yes?” Yes, by today’s standards. But howcome military pollution is ignored? Everyone seems to just overlook military jets. B-52’s?

      cr

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 6:19 pm | Permalink

        SST was not the economic nor sustainable “technology of the day” – it required massive input of public funds to get the manufacturers interested & those funds were lost forever to the public purse.

        Also, trashing SST is not comparable to trashing the railroad steam engine – in that case the economic advantages of steam engines of all non-railroad types was an old established fact & the early experiments of say replacing mules in a shallow [or open pit] mine/quarry with an engine that cable-winched ore/coal in ‘cars’ along rails was a no-brainer innovation that didn’t need government funding – private business was all over it. Going from a winching engine to an engine on wheels & rails? We’ll have some of that please!

        Will Mach 2 SST return as a viable commercial endeavour? I doubt it belongs to the 21st century – maybe later as metallurgy etc gets more mature. There’s space in the market right mow for slower SST in the 12-16 seater range. Say Mach 1.4 with the quieter sonic boom [same energy, but spread out more over time & directed away from the ground] that people are talking about – once one goes much over Mach 1.4 the larger sized planes are needed for range & no carrier is in the least bit interested in fielding that! Perhaps reliable future HOTOL-style air-breathing engines [much less fuel onboard] will open a market for rapid intercontinental travel on semi-ballistic flights that qualify the passenger as having been to space – 100km up & a Frankfurt hotel to a Sydney hotel in two hours will be a big seller. Guaranteed.

        Military machines not optimised for the environment? That’s absurd – how dare they value neutralising threats over all else!

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted October 25, 2019 at 8:22 am | Permalink

          You could certainly question whether a large percentage of military activity is devoted to ‘neutralising threats’, and you only have to watch a video of, say, a B-52 to see how dirty it is.

          (I suppose, by that token, ICBM’s are ‘clean’ since they don’t pollute when they’re not being launched… )

          cr

  3. Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:33 am | Permalink

    My issue with the Concorde is that is was designed such that a tire-(tyre-)burst event caused a hull-loss crash.

    Tire-(tyre-) burst is a standard design condition. Craziness.

    The Concorde, like the Boeing SST would have been, was never economical.

    • Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:34 am | Permalink

      I should have been clearer: The Boeing SST also would NOT have been economical, which was why the program was cancelled.

      • Jon Gallant
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:43 am | Permalink

        Sometime in the 1970s, my own organization, Grosser Seattle, Unltd., announced that its Science and Technology Award would go to the Boeing Company for a great breakthrough in aerodynamics. This was the startling discovery that a supersonic transport would not make a sonic boom if it just flew slow.

  4. Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:37 am | Permalink

    I once attended the Abbotsford Airshow in the 1980s and was treated to two fly-bys of the Concorde. The first was a slow fly-by with gear down (the flights was a BC-London commercial or charter flight IIRC).

    For the second one, then pulled in the gear, pointed the nose upward and hit the throttle. Wow, was that loud!

  5. Charles Sawicki
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:39 am | Permalink

    Love the bat!

  6. Historian
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:41 am | Permalink

    Trump’s tweet about “human scum” (as retweeted by James Gleick) is indeed indicative of how he is riling up his base to the extent that violence may not be far away. The Washington Post has an article about Major League Baseball umpire Rob Drake. Per the Post:

    ——————-
    “I will be buying an AR-15 tomorrow, because if you impeach MY PRESIDENT this way, YOU WILL HAVE ANOTHER CIVAL WAR!!! #MAGA2020,” the ump tweeted late Tuesday, ESPN’s Jeff Passan reported. Drake deleted the tweet so quickly that a screen shot had not surfaced by early Thursday. It had accompanied another tweet that said: “You can’t do an impeachment inquiry from the basement of Capital Hill without even a vote! What is going on in this country?”
    ——————-

    This tweet by Drake reflects total ignorance of how the impeachment process works. Trump and the Republicans are doing nothing to alleviate it. What goes on in the basement is the taking of depositions from witnesses. In the room, there are Republicans and their staffs, who can ask questions of the witnesses. After the depositions are finished, there will be a debate on the House floor, followed by the actual impeachment vote. Remember, impeachment doesn’t mean removal of the president from office. This can only take place after a Senate trial in which two-thirds of the senators are required for removal (which is very unlikely to happen).

    Democrats need to spend more time educating the public on how impeachment works. This effort will reduce perhaps the number of people who think like Rob Drake. Major League Baseball is looking into the incident. We’ll see if there are any consequences for Drake. By the way, a majority of Americans now support the impeachment process. Of course, this doesn’t preclude violence by his cult. Finally, the Post reports that “Drake co-founded ‘Calling For Christ,’ an umpire training academy in Arizona, where he lives, according to his official MLB profile.” Why am I not surprised? Also, Drake should learn how to spell the word “civil.”

    https://www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/10/24/buying-an-ar-mlb-probes-ump-who-reportedly-threatened-cival-war-over-impeachment/

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:02 am | Permalink

      Thanks for reviewing the real process that so many seem ignorant about, including many congressmen. When one side has no argument, this is what they do, make a lot of noise and say nothing. It might also be well to remind all that the reason the house is doing this investigation is because our Justice department (BARR) would not. Surprise surprise.

      • Rita Prangle
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:53 am | Permalink

        I doubt those Republican congressmen are actually ignorant about the impeachment process, but they want to de-legitimize the process for their ignorant base. They do this because they know there’s so much coming out that their only choice is to either take a stand to defend our democracy at the likely cost of their jobs, or do whatever they can to create chaos and distraction. But, it will be interesting to see how that goes after the public hearings start.

        • Rita Prangle
          Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:58 am | Permalink

          I’m disturbed at the ongoing conversation that Trump and his Republican supporters are fomenting violence, because it can have the effect of making the Trumpster cult members think violence is the appropriate response to democratic processes that they don’t “like”. Those cult members don’t need any more encouragement.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:25 am | Permalink

            So you think the word ignorant is too strong here. I think not. When elected officials at this level, who know the rules, still attempt such a childish event, I think the appropriate word is ignorance. They go into a high security area with illegal items – their cell phones and start recording things. This is the party that slammed Clinton for years for her insecure email? They have nothing to put up for Trump but their own cowardly stunts. Yes, stupid is the correct conclusion.

            • rickflick
              Posted October 24, 2019 at 12:33 pm | Permalink

              Wouldn’t it be interesting if, after the election, the Dems arrest a bunch of the worst offenders and prosecute them. If they are in violation of the law, they probably think they have a kind of heard immunity like speeding drivers on the highway. 😎

              • Nicolaas Stempels
                Posted October 26, 2019 at 12:30 am | Permalink

                I think that might have been the idea, fisticuffs or arrest:”Martyrs for Transparency” or so.
                Luckily Mr Schiff cum suis kept their cool and reduced it to a storm in a thimble of water.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 26, 2019 at 12:39 am | Permalink

                Schiff is a very intelligent prosecutor. I don’t know if there could be someone as well situated to conduct these hearings and pursue these corrupt officials. If circumstances were slightly different, he’d make a great presidential candidate. Maybe in the next cycle.

    • Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:17 am | Permalink

      Why are the Democrats not unifying their message. Perhaps they think that if they all said the same thing, they would be accused of collusion. Instead, you get Dems interviewed on the news shows each stumbling over their words. They are really missing out on an opportunity here, IMHO.

      The GOP’s storming of the committee hearings is so ludicrous but they really leave it to the newscasters to pain the picture. And why don’t they have security at these hearings? Surely they know something like this could happen. Arresting them would probably seem a step too far but preventing them from entering and disrupting would have had better optics.

      • Randall Schenck
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 11:04 am | Permalink

        Good question you present but the democrats have never been good with the PR. Also much more independent as they don’t have a dictator to kiss up to and fear such as the republicans. The congress and the entire federal government kind of operates on best behavior method and they make their own rules or not. This is what has been going on for over three years now with this idiot president. But they do have a bit of a plan now and will probably begin open public hearings in 2 or 3 weeks. Soon as they finish the investigation part of the Ukraine scandal then they begin to spoon feed it to the masses. They will likely call the current acting ambassador, Taylor, the former ambassador, Yovanovitch and a few others to make the case. People who follow the news closely already know what happened but that is a small part of the population. The rest do not read and do not watch much legitimate news. As we know, the republicans in the senate will not vote to remove this creep unless their own people back home make them.

        • Posted October 24, 2019 at 11:23 am | Permalink

          The public hearings will certainly help. While perhaps some of Trump’s base, congress and voters, will start to see him as a criminal, I don’t hold out much hope. They will always rationalize it away as Trump just fighting the good fight.

          If I were in charge of messaging for the Dems, I would focus on the security risk Trump’s actions represent for the country. While his supporters like someone who fights dirty, they won’t tolerate a traitor. If Dems can show that he’s owned (potentially or actually) by Russia/Ukraine/North Korea/etc, it will go badly for him. Simply seeking dirt on his political opponents, quid pro quo or not, won’t budge them at all.

          I also take heart in the fact that it won’t take many GOP senators to get to the votes needed to remove Trump. When it comes time to vote, there may be enough senators with spine, balls, etc.

          • Randall Schenck
            Posted October 24, 2019 at 12:32 pm | Permalink

            But wait a minute. Trump fighting the good fight in Ukraine? He illegally withheld nearly $400 million in aid to this country which is in a war with Russia for it’s very existence. It is extortion and you can quid pro quo until the cows come home. He said and others have verified he held up the money until or unless Ukraine dug up dirt on Biden and son and investigated the crazy idea that Ukraine hacked the email back in 2016. Nothing more than directly asking a foreign govt. to get involved in our next election. Keeping it simple – this is it. Just like the Mueller report only much easier to explain. All the other vermin he had working in Ukraine to do this is just more of the same.

            Maybe we need to also conduct an impeachment class on the constitution. Just call in Alexander Hamilton…

            When avarice takes the lead in a state, it is commonly the forerunner of its fall. He dreaded most the advent of a populist demagogue who would profess friendship for the people and pander to their prejudices while secretly betraying them. Such a false prophet would foment political frenzy and try to feed off the confusion. This is Hamilton nearly 250 years ago and this is why impeachment is in the constitution. Also read Federalist #1.

          • rickflick
            Posted October 24, 2019 at 12:38 pm | Permalink

            That’s the thing. At crunch time, if the winds shift far enough, GOP senators may feel he’s unlikely to win and so they will want to be on the right side of history and give him the thumbs down. At that point, to everyone’s relief, he can no longer threaten their jobs. Everybody comes out a winner, except the “Biggest winner ever”.

  7. Posted October 24, 2019 at 7:55 am | Permalink

    From Wiki: Concorde:

    Max takeoff weight: 408,000 lb (185,070 kg)
    Fuel capacity: 210,940 lb (95,680 kg)
    Cruise speed: 1164 nmph

    A little over 50% of the max. weight would be fuel.

    Fuel consumption at Mach 2 (2,120 km/h; 1,320 mph) and at altitude of 60,000 feet (18,000 m) was 4,800 US gallons per hour (18,000 L/h).

    120 px max., 3900 nm range: So about 1.09 lb fule per passenger seat-mile

    Compare to Boeing 787:

    MTOW: 502,500 lb / 227,930 kg
    Max. Fuel: 223,378 lb / 101,323 kg
    Cruise speed: 488 nmph

    Approx. 44%

    359 px max., 7355 nm range: So about 0.085 lb fuel per passenger seat-mile

    So, the 787 is 1.09/0.085 = ~13X more fuel efficient than the Concorde was.

    But the Concorde got you there 1164/488 = 2.4 times faster (with only 53% of the range).

    • Randall Schenck
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:33 am | Permalink

      It is an unfair comparison of statistics gathered from the internet about two completely different airplanes in different periods attempting to fill different purposes. We do know that every new attempt is not perfect or going to last. Some are very costly, just as Boeing can tell us about their old, new 737.

      • Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:37 am | Permalink

        I was pointing out the glaring contrast economics and environmental impact of the two machines. The cost is the main reason the Concorde (first flight 1969) was retired (AF 4590 was just the final nail in the coffin).

        Of course the design point was quite different between them (look at capacity, range, speed). And, of course, the technology was different (but not really as different as you might think, excepting propulsion technology).

        The 787 (first flight 2009 – Concorde + 40 years) is getting real fuel savings of 20% over the 767-200/-300 (first flight 1981 – Concorde + 12 years). This is in an industry where a 1% shift in fuel economy is HUGE. Technology advances.

        Progress.

        Part 25 commercial airplanes can pretty well be made to operate safely forever within the system we have in N America and Europe — for a price.

        They stop operating types due to economics: They become too expensive to maintain or the newer models just cost much less per seat-mile to operate. Hence the end of the Concorde and the still-birth of the BoeSST.

      • Posted October 24, 2019 at 10:46 am | Permalink

        Dollars (dominated by fuel cost) per seat-mile is the driving parameter for commercial airplane operation. It really is all about dollars.

        In past career spots, I worked for the manufacturer of Part 25 airplanes, the operator of those airplanes, and the FAA (Part 25 airplane certification).

        At the FAA, we were legally bound to include the cost in our actions. Because increasing cost drives increased displacement of air travel by car travel (in the USA). And car travel is (literally) 10,000 times more dangerous compared to commercial air travel. So, with increased cost comes increased bodies by the road side.

        And the correct measure is seat-miles. What human transport does is move people (seats) from point A to point B (miles). Driving your car, you don’t get to erase all those miles you must cover; and every mile includes a dose of risk.

        • Randall Schenck
          Posted October 24, 2019 at 11:22 am | Permalink

          All understood but my comments were only and specifically from the stats you wrote down in your first comment. I found them quite odd a comparison of two airplanes, however I am sure they are both covered by Part 25. People here today seem happy to state the problems with the Concord, however many times they have been told before. I will only say that many designs in aviation have been tried in the past and some have not turned out so well. I believe the same is true in the auto industry.

          • Posted October 24, 2019 at 3:00 pm | Permalink

            Agreed. Fortunately, we do advance in pretty much all areas (safety, cost, environmental impact, etc.) We haven’t had a (Part 25 airplane) hull loss accident in the US since 2009 (Colgan Air Flight 3407, Feb 2009). This is a stunningly success.

            This is a fine graphic from Wiki, which tracks the increase in air travel and the improvements in air safety.

            My first comment was on a (extremely serious) design issue with the Concorde.

            I used to design wings and wheel-well structures for resisting tire burst (among many other design requirements and many other parts of the airplanes).

            • Michael Fisher
              Posted October 24, 2019 at 3:10 pm | Permalink

              Is the BUFF swivelling undercarriage unique or do other big, hairy flying beasts employ the same principle for crosswind landings?

              • darrelle
                Posted October 25, 2019 at 9:01 am | Permalink

                I don’t think any planes other than the B-52 (BUFF) have steerable landing gear. The reason the B-52 does isn’t because it is so large but because it has some design issues that render it unable to use normal techniques for landing in a crosswind.

                The basic issue is that the wings are too droopy and flexible for normal crosswind landing techniques. You’d have wings hitting the ground. The wings routinely flex over 30 feet. When the BUFF is sitting still on the ground and you are looking at it from one side you can see the whole top of the wing while you’re standing on the ground.

              • Michael Fisher
                Posted October 25, 2019 at 10:59 am | Permalink

                Well there you go. I thought it was because the huge area of the side view [including the immense vertical stabiliser] meant the plane was impossible to swing into line with the runway [on a crosswind landing] in a reasonable time. Thus the plane would drift sideways too much for comfort during the pre-landing, de-crabbing manoeuvre. But I see now thanks, that the slump of the wing tips [fitted with outrigger wheels] absolutely requires that the plane lands with hardly any roll, or no roll at all ideally, which forces a crabbed landing.

                I just looked it up & aircrew could dial in the runway heading to the main landing gear & the gear would swivel & stay on that heading no matter where the aircraft nose points. Impressive & weird – I didn’t know it was automated [gyro perhaps?] like that.

              • rickflick
                Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:51 am | Permalink

                It’s curious, come to think of it, that aluminum could exhibit such flexibility.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 24, 2019 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

        I agree it’s an unfair comparison of two totally different aircraft. Any subsonic airliner will be x times more fuel-efficient than any supersonic aircraft. Might as well compare with the fuel costs per seat mile of an F16.

        I suppose, as a measure of progress, it would be more relevant to compare an airliner of that period (a 747 or 767, say) with a 787.

        cr

    • Michael Fisher
      Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

      @rickflick

      B-52 main wing can flex 22 feet up & 10 feet down. I noted the code for the aluminium alloy used in one model of the B-52 [Alloy 7178-T6] wing skin & it’s made of 85.3 to 89.5% Al with other elements being Mg, Fe, Si, Mn, Cu, Zn & Cr in that order of weight.

      I gather aluminium has many negatives for aircraft, particularly cracking, jointing/welding & corrosion where it is in contact with other metals such as the fasteners & rivets – perhaps the addition of Fe & Cu adds a measure of elastic response & some ductility to a nasty material. I looked at the B52 wing box spar construction & it’s of aluminium alloy as is the wing skin. The wing skin is overlapped aluminium alloy sheet riveted to stringers, which are in turn attached to the aerofoil-shaped members, which are attached to the wing spar – that’s a hell of a lot of connectors of various types! The ’60s era B-52 wing got so stressed it split the wing fuel tanks on older aircraft so that the tanks had to redesigned to be not secured to the wing elements, instead the tanks are somewhat loosely strapped in place to move independently of the wing flex…

      B-52s are destined to serve for 100 years or more so the relevant departments are looking at new, beautiful engines that continuously monitor themselves [thus one can decide the optimum time to replace a component or book a service, without opening any bits – just plug in the diagnostics tools] – also a new wing with a different material for the wing box spar. Carbon fibre maybe? Being US military it will be over-engineered complexity 🙂 [kidding a little bit]

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted October 25, 2019 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

        I suspect some of the elements listed are just what you get with the ore – not a design decision, but some of them are added to change the properties of the alloy. Guessing.

      • rickflick
        Posted October 25, 2019 at 5:25 pm | Permalink

        It’s amazing how well these aluminum buckets work. I flew an old (1970) Cessna Cardinal for years. The wings are bolted to a single overhead spar. Looks like a cast aluminum (aluminium?) “I” beam. A letter from Cessna came out informing us that cracks had been found in some of these spars. The direction was to inspect the spar for cracks. But the old ones keep on keeping on.

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 25, 2019 at 7:21 pm | Permalink

          I think it probably varies widely for a given aircraft – the copper to aluminium interfaces just need the regular ingress of moisture for galvanic corrosion to start its nasty work & enable cracks if the fasteners loosen from the above. I bet a Cessna kept in a nice clean, warm hanger in an arid State has a lot longer life than the average – especially if repainted, resealed etc.

          I wonder if the old B-52s are like that 80-year old broom that’s still perfect as the day it was bought.

          • rickflick
            Posted October 25, 2019 at 11:00 pm | Permalink

            Well, when we bought our Cessna Cardinal we followed the ownership history, which is on the record (thanks to the Federal Government and it’s ability to coerce and assemble and disseminate vast quantities of data online via vast quantities of IBM computers), to make sure it had not lived any serious extent of it’s lifetime in any coastal environment, ie salt water proximal (Florida planes are worth less).

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted October 25, 2019 at 6:28 pm | Permalink

        All the videos I see of B-52’s, they’re smoking like a factory chimney. Way past time to re-engine them, I would think. And apparently that’s what’s being contemplated.

        At a guess, I’d say they could probably replace the eight old engines with four modern engines on the same pylons. Well, modified pylons in the same locations. There seems to be room so they shouldn’t run into the same aerodynamic issues the 737 Max did. And I would expect, as a plus, new fuel-efficient engines would automatically give them more range.

        If they’re looking at new wings too, that will inevitably change the aerodynamics a bit. Why don’t they just build a new bomber, because that’s essentially what it will be, cost-wise. Or maybe not, I forgot the military’s talent for complicating everything…

        cr

        • Michael Fisher
          Posted October 25, 2019 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

          I agree with all of that. Re retaining B-52s rather than R&D & build a new platform – I expect the pigs in the trough would make that an expensive & regrettable experience! Also when a new toy is in the process of being specified you end up with different groups wanting to extend the capabilities into a Swiss Army Knife [but a bad one]: “Um, can we have a tanker/forest fire variant?” – “If we made the fuselage 6 ft wider & fitted a ramp we could transport drones dropped from the air” or “there’s an MBT coming out we could juuuuust transport on that if we…”

          Also the modern USAF [& increasingly the RAF] don’t train up their maintenance crews to be multi-talented, imaginative fixers any more, because it’s money down the drain – as soon as they get a decent skill set they bugger off & work as contractors at triple the pay for the UAE, Saud or a.n.other sand-benighted nation who don’t want their own people too well educated. It would be an expensive biz retraining maintenance, & re-retraining & re-re-training every six months when snagging requires a major rewrite of entire sections of the manual.

          I think a maintenance job is very rote now & you get slotted into a role & get stuck there for years – “Jim’s our chap who re-applies stealth coatings & tapes the joints whenever we open up any one of the 200 inspection hatches on our fleet of boondoggles – he’s gone a bit funny in the head of late for some reason.”

          • rickflick
            Posted October 25, 2019 at 10:52 pm | Permalink

            “the 200 inspection hatches on our fleet of boondoggles”
            Made me luaphf aut lowd!

  8. pablo
    Posted October 24, 2019 at 8:57 am | Permalink

    Not to be that guy, but… how does the Dullahan call your name when it doesn’t have a head? I suspect my Irish ancestors(on me mum’s side)didn’t think this one through before they committed it to cultural memory.

    • Rita Prangle
      Posted October 24, 2019 at 9:08 am | Permalink

      Well, LA Llorona, the skeleton that drowns children in the river, and comes for her victims in a cart, does also manage to speak. so, it must be OK for the Dullahan spine to talk! 🙂

  9. Posted October 27, 2019 at 11:23 pm | Permalink

    In my country, we have an icon of halloween
    we call it with “Pocong”. It’s ghost name in indonesia.

  10. Posted October 29, 2019 at 11:48 am | Permalink

    Concorde – I remember overhearing a really loud overhead flyby in the UK once as a kid and was dismayed that it was just a bunch of fighters, not the Concorde.


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