Landing on Aircraft Carriers.

Landing on an aircraft carrier is an extremely challenging task. A shortened moving runway surrounded by the mighty oceans makes it only harder.

But pilots( especially navy ) are trained to land on aircraft carriers and a couple of simple engineering designs aid in this enterprise;

The arresting gear

Arresting gear, or arrestor gear, describes mechanical systems used to rapidly decelerate an aircraft as it lands.

There are 4 cables in separated lines that the pilots aim for whilst landing.

When the tailhook of the jet engages with the wire, the aircraft’s kinetic energy is transferred to hydraulic damping systems, this slows down the aircraft tremendously.

What if they miss?

It does happen! Pilots do miss the line while attempting to land.

They keep full speed until they are 100% sure that they hook up  ( in case they miss the cables ). Which means they are still at full speed for about 2 seconds at the end with the cable extended to max.

If they don’t hook up to the line, they simply go around.

Vertical Landing

Some jets also have the ability to vertically land on the flight deck.

They are known as VTOL’s ( Vertical take off and landing ) aircrafts.They can hover, take off, and land vertically.

Catching aircrafts with a net

The barricade/barrier system/crash net is quite literally a net that is used to slow down an aircraft.

It is employed only under emergency situations or for aircrafts that operate without a tailhook.

                     A successful landing without a nosewheel

The barricade webbing engages the wings of the landing aircraft, wherein energy is transmitted from the barricade webbing through the purchase cable to the arresting engine.

That’s all folks!

Hope you guys enjoyed this post. Have a good one!

Sophie Blanchard, who in 1805 became the first woman to pilot a balloon, was both a daring entertainer and aeronautic pioneer. 

The first female professional aeronaut was shy and nervous on the ground, but when she was in the air, her persona transformed. Tragically, Blanchard’s passion led to her demise: She died when her balloon caught fire and she was tangled in its netting. 

As Blanchard took to the skies, her contemporaries unlocked other secrets of the natural world, from exploration to electricity—while writers had a field day meeting a new demand for scientific stories and creating plenty of hoaxes. 

She’s featured in a @smithsonianlibraries exhibition that studies the relationship between science and fiction in the 19th century​. 

On December 1, 1783, Jacques Alexandre Cesar Charles and Nicholas Louis Robert took to the skies over Paris in the first flight of a gas air balloon. Traveling approximately 25 miles over two and a half hours, Charles and Robert used hydrogen gas to fuel their balloon, a lighter alternative to the air gas developed by Henry Cavendish in 1776. Notably, Charles and Robert’s flight came just ten days after the first free flight of a hot air balloon on November 21, 1783.

For more on the history of hot air balloons, check out the National Balloon Museum, as well as recent posts by our friends magictransistor and widenerlibrary.

Image credit: From Album Gravures et Cartes-Postales: Vieux Paris Types Petites Métiers et Cris De La Rue (1908). Donald F. Othmer Papers, CHF Archives.

We’re With You When You Fly

Did you know that “We’re With You When You Fly”? Thanks to our advancements in aeronautics, today’s aviation industry is better equipped than ever to safely and efficiently transport millions of passengers and billions of dollars worth of freight to their destinations. In fact, every U.S. Aircraft flying today and every U.S. air traffic control tower uses NASA-developed technology in some way. Here are some of our objectives in aeronautics:

Making Flight Greener

From reducing fuel emissions to making more efficient flight routes, we’re working to make flight greener. We are dedicated to improving the design of airplanes so they are more Earth friendly by using less fuel, generating less pollution and reducing noise levels far below where they are today.

Getting you safely home faster

We work with the Federal Aviation Administration to provide air traffic controllers with new tools for safely managing the expected growth in air traffic across the nation. For example, testing continues on a tool that controllers and pilots can use to find a more efficient way around bad weather, saving thousands of pounds of fuel and an average of 27 minutes flying time per tested flight. These and other NASA-developed tools help get you home faster and support a safe, efficient airspace.

Seeing Aviation’s Future

Here at NASA, we’re committed to transforming aviation through cutting edge research and development. From potential airplanes that could be the first to fly on Mars, to testing a concept of a battery-powered plane, we’re always thinking of what the future of aviation will look like.

Make sure to follow us on Tumblr for your regular dose of space:


The Vought V-173 and the XF5U-1 “Flying Flapjack”,

In the 1930’s Charles Zimmerman was an aeronautical engineer with a very unorthodox idea.  As anyone who knows anything about fluid dynamics can attest, drag is often the killer of speed.  When it comes to aircraft the tips of the wings often create the most drag as it flies through the air.  Zimmerman sought to build a “low aspect” aircraft that created as little drag as possible.  His strange design, called the Vought V-173 (top 3 pictures), didn’t have normal wings like a traditional airplane.  Rather the aircraft was saucer shaped, with the entire body of the airplane acting as a wing.  The craft was also driven by two engines working two propellers.  The propellers rotated opposite of each other, creating a vortex under the wing, supplying it lift. What result was a “flying wing” with incredibly efficient aerodynamics and lift capabilities.

The brilliant new design made its first test flight in 1942.  It was then that the US Navy became interested in Zimmerman’s work.  At the time, the military was in great need of a revolutionary fighter design to help fight World War II.  The V-173 was only a prototype created to demonstrate proof of concept.  With the help of Naval engineers, Zimmerman improved and added to the V-173 design.  A strengthened, more stable frame was added as well as a stronger reinforced cockpit.  Essentially everything made made stronger and heavily armored.  Two Pratt and Whitney R-2000-7 engines were installed, each of which produced 1,350 horsepower.  Retractable landing gear was also added.  Finally there were the weapons; 6 .50 caliber machine guns or 4 20mm cannon.  In addition the new fighter could carry 2 one thousand pound bombs, or rocket pods.

Called the XF5U-1 “Flying Flapjack” (bottom 3 pictures), the new fighter exceeded all expectations.  However the new design had several kinks that needed to worked out, which delayed it’s introduction.  Unfortunately, the Vought XF5U-1 program was not completed by the end of World War II.  If the new fighter had been introduced and mass produced, it would have certainly been the deadliest fighter of the war.  With a top speed of 550 mph, it was almost as fast as the deadly German Me-262 jet fighter.  However, it was much more maneuverable, had thicker armor, carried more weapons, and with a range of 1,046 miles it could fly significantly farther than the Me-262 (652 miles).  More importantly the XF5U-1 was tough, very tough.  Engineers joked that it was so structurally solid, “it could have destroyed a wrecking ball”.

In early 1947 the US Navy canceled the Vought project.  By then the project was over budget and a number of technological issues still needed worked out.  Only two prototypes of the XF5U-1 were ever built, one of which currently resides at the Smithsonian Aviation Museum.  After World War II the US military began to study and switch over to jet aircraft, which had far greater potential than any propeller driven airplane.   A year after the cancellation of the XF5U-1, Chuck Yaeger would break the sound barrier in a rocket driven airplane.  Within the next decade, highly maneuverable supersonic fighter aircraft became a staple of modern military’s.  As amazing as the XF5U-1 flying flapjack was, its propeller driven propulsion was obsolete.


On Heat hazes

When viewing objects through the exhaust gases emanating from the nozzle of aircrafts, one can observe the image to be distorted.

Hot air is less dense than cold air.

And this creates a gradient in the refractive index of the air. 

The turbulence of the air emanating from the exhaust gases also has a direct correlation to the degree of distortion of the image. More the turbulence, more the distortion.

The gradient and the turbulence collectively affects the ability to resolve objects.

Also heat Hazes are not exclusive to aircrafts and can also be observed in cars/bikes too.


Pretty cool eh?

Sources: photobucket abc dpreview

The Wright brothers’ first flight took place 112 years ago today. Celebrate with this Alfred Stieglitz photo of another aircraft from the early days of aviation. . 

[Alfred Stieglitz. The Aeroplane. 1910. The Museum of Modern Art, New York. © 2015 Estate of Alfred Stieglitz / Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York]