development aircraft

Fun fact, in 1962, India and Portugal went to war against each other, over small patches of land in India called Goa, Daman and Diu
that had belonged to the Portuguese for almost 500 years

It was a crushing defeat for the Portuguese, as they didn’t have enough military assets in the area to mount any credible resistance, and thanks to international pressure, their attempts at reinforcing their military presence where limited to shipments of infantry and small arms, their only heavy weapon of notice in the region being an obsolete sloop, the NRP Afonso de Albuquerque, of the pre-war era, that was quickly sunk by the more modern Indian warships:

The war was also the first time a developing nation used an aircraft carrier in a military operation, in the form of the INS Vikrant

Lasting over 36 hours, it was a quick but decisive conflict that finally gave India full sovereignty over her territories, while at the same time showing Portugal just how alone they were in their ultimately futile attempts at keeping their colonies, something that would be known as the Portuguese Colonial Wars, which lasted until 1974 and effectively brought to an end the Portuguese Empire. 

An Avro York of the Royal Air Force sits at Tempelhof Airport during the Berlin Airlift. The Western Allies supplied the people of West Berlin by air alone for the duration of the near one year blockade by Stalin, from 24 June 1948 to 12 May 1949. Yorks flew over 58,000 sorties – close to half of the British contribution.

The aircraft was developed from the wings, tail and undercarriage of the Lancaster bomber, given a new, much larger fuselage. It was an independent project undertaken by Avro, themselves seeing a need for a transport aircraft which they hoped could also find place in a post-war civil market. During the wars last few years individual Yorks were given to various VIPs including Churchill, who named his Ascalon - the lance or sword with which Saint George slew the dragon. The Viceroy of India and C-in-C South East Asia Command, Lord Mountbatten, also received one, repainted a light duck egg green.

The Curse of the DC-10

At the very end of the 60′s, the entry of the Jumbo Jet, the Boeing 747, into the airliner world, heralded a new age of aircraft development, the wide-body airliner, and following the success of this behemoth of the skies, the world-renowned american company Douglas Commercial, legendary for planes such as the DC-3, DC-4 and DC-8, quickly entered in this new market with a brand-new aircraft of their own, the DC-10

Little would they, and really, anyone else know, that this plane seemed to be hopelessly cursed in her early years:

November 3, 1973, National Airlines Flight 27: An uncontained engine failure in the N°3 engine due to vibrations of unknown origin, launched debris at the fuselage of the plane, penetrating it and causing rapid decompression of the cabin area, alongside damage to electrical and hydraulic systems. A passenger was ejected from the hole in the fuselage, and the rest survived as the pilots managed to safely land the plane.

March 3, 1974, Turkish Airliners flight 981: A design flaw in the cargo door resulted in a catastrophic in-flight failure that lead to an explosive decompression of the fuselage, critically damaging the control surfaces and leading to a crash that killed all 346 on board. 

May 25, 1979,  American Airlines Flight 191: Improper maintenance led to the loss of the N°1 engine during take-off, which took with it most of the left wing’s leading edge, effectively destroying its lift ability, which led to a stall and subsequent crash that killed all 271 on board plus 2 on the ground.

October 31, 1979, Western Airlines Flight 2605: Pilot error led to the collision with construction equipment after landing on a closed runway at Mexico City International Airport, killing 72 of the 88 people on board and one person on the ground.

November 28, 1979, Air New Zealand Flight 901: During a sightseeing flight into the Antarctic, lack of visibility and a dire navigational error by Air New Zealand’s management let the aircraft to fly into Mount Erebus on Ross Island, killing all 237 passengers and 20 crew on board.

1979 would be the worst year of the model, and while safety improved and therefore, crashes heavily diminished after that fateful year, the ugly head of this curse would still show up in the form of two of aviation’s most bizarre accidents:

July 19, 1989, United Airlines Flight 232: Uncontained engine failure on the N°2 (tail) engine due to a manufacturing defect of the titanium used in the engine’s fan assembly, lead to the destruction of the hydraulic systems, rendering the aircraft almost uncontrollable, where the excellent crew on board managed to control her enough with the remaining wing engines via the throttles, leading to a failed landing attempt that nonetheless managed to save 185 of the 296 people on board.

July 25, 2000, Air France Flight 4590: Curiously, the last fatalities brought by a DC-10 wouldn’t happen in the plane itself, but rather, in Concorde’s only crash, as the aircraft was lost after striking an engine thrust reverser fragment that fell from a DC-10 that belonged to Continental Airlines.

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The Fairchild Republic A-10 Thunderbolt II is an American twin-engine, straight wing jet aircraft developed by Fairchild-Republic in the early 1970s. It is the only United States Air Force production aircraft designed solely for close air support, including attacking tanks, armored vehicles, and other ground targets with limited air defenses. The A-10 was designed around the 30 mm GAU-8 Avenger rotary cannon that is its primary armament. The A-10’s airframe was designed for durability, with measures such as 1,200 pounds (540 kg) of titanium armor to protect the cockpit and aircraft systems, enabling it to absorb a significant amount of damage and continue flying.  The A-10’s official name comes from the Republic P-47 Thunderbolt of World War II, a fighter that was particularly effective at close air support. The A-10 is more commonly known by its nicknames “Warthog” or“Hog”. Its secondary mission is to provide airborne forward air control, directing other aircraft in attacks on ground targets. The A-10’s service life may be extended to 2028, though there are proposals to retire it sooner.

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    Some aircraft look out of place in the desert, but this bird looks right at home resting among the Joshua trees of Edwards Air Force Base. At first glance, she may look like a standard Fairchild-Republic A-10, but this bird is much more. Number 73-1664 served as the first A-10A. She first flew on February 15, 1975, as one of six original DT&E (Development, Test and Evaluation) aircraft. 

     In March of 1979, this airframe would begin conversion to the prototype N/AW A-10 (Night/All-Weather Attack). Systems were added, including a Westinghouse WX-50 ground-mapping radar and a Texas Instruments AAR045 FLIR camera, housed in pods hanging from weapons pylons. The vertical stabilizers were extended upward by 20 inches, then reduced slightly during testing, though the rudder was never extended. INS, PAVE TACK and radar altimeter systems were added. With these modifications, she became the first and only dual cockpit A-10 in order to accommodate an Electronic Warfare Officer. Her canopy opened to the side, rather than a standard clamshell configuration. These modifications cost 1.5 million dollars and added 2,000 pounds to the gross weight of the aircraft.

     After five months of modifications, the N/AW A-10 flew on October 23, 1971. She tested successfully, but was quickly made obsolete by advancing night attack technology and the N/AW A-10 program was cancelled. 73-1664 was redesignated as the YA-10B as advertisement for a theoretical trainer aircraft, but it too was cancelled. She was destined to be the only two-seat A-10 ever built.

     Today, 73-1664 rests under the desert sky at the Air Force Flight Test Museum on Edwards Air Force Base, just a short distance away from the runway from which she flew in testing. Much of the information in this article was referenced from the book “Warbird Tech Volume 20: Fairchild-Republic A/0A-10 Warthog” by Dennis Jenkins, who kindly lent me his personal copy to aid my research. Thanks much, Dennis.

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The Schienenzeppelin (rail zeppelin) Berlin, June 1931. Photographer: Georg Pahl - an aluminum bodied experimental railcar with a streamlined zeppelin airship look. Designed and developed by the German aircraft engineer Franz Kruckenberg in 1929. A rear propeller provided the propulsion for the Schienenzeppelin. On 21 June 1931, it set a world railway speed record of 230.2 km/h (143.0 mph) -  the railcar still holds the land speed record for a petrol powered rail vehicle. Only a single example was ever built - due to safety concerns it remained out of service and was finally dismantled in 1939. (images via Wikipedia)

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Ensamblaje A350-1000.

El primer Airbus A350-1000, la versión más grande de la familia A350XWB, salió de la Estación 40 en la Línea de Ensamblaje Final de Airbus en Toulouse, Francia.

El A350-1000 tiene capacidad para transportar hasta a 366 pasajeros en tres clases en rutas de hasta 8 mil millas náuticas y será equipado con motores Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97, los cuales, son los motores más poderosos desarrollados para una aeronave Airbus.

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A350-1000 assembly. 

The first Airbus A350-1000, the largest version of the A350XWB family, left the station 40 in the Final Assembly Line for Airbus in Toulouse, France. 

The A350-1000 is capable of carrying up to 366 passengers in three classes on routes up to 8,000 nautical miles and will be equipped with Rolls-Royce Trent XWB-97, which engines are the most powerful engines developed for an Airbus aircraft.

i love the Boeing X-32!! it’s a wonderful plane and it’s such an elegant design and it looks so charming and elegant and it deserved more than it got and it’s such a shining stellar example of VTOL aircraft development!!! i love the X-32!! i love it so much!!

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1/72 Airfix Bristol Beaufighter TF.X -  The Bristol Type 156 Beaufighter (often referred to simply as the “Beau” or “Torbeau” for the MkX torpedo carrying version) is a multi-role aircraft developed during the Second World War by Bristol Aeroplane Company in the UK. It was originally conceived as a heavy fighter variant of the Bristol Beaufort bomber. The Beaufighter was a versatile aircraft used in service initially as a night fighter, and later mainly in the maritime strike and ground attack roles; it also replaced the earlier Beaufort as a torpedo bomber.

The Mk X became the main production mark of the Beaufighter. The strike variant of the Torbeau was designated the Mk.XIC. Beaufighter TF Xs would make precision attacks on shipping at wave-top height with torpedoes or “60lb” RP-3 rockets.

It is pretty common knowledge by this point that Area 51 exists. It might not be the fantastical area where America hides Alien technology, but the secret air base out in the Nevada desert at Groom Lake has been, since early in the Cold War, home to some of the most secret military projects conducted by the American military, including the U-2 program, and early development of stealth aircraft.(1)

What is less known however is its predecessor, Area 29. Founded in 1862 by Executive Order of Abraham Lincoln, Area 29 was situated in a remote region in Washington Territory, and served as home to top secret testing of weaponry and equipment for the Union Army. Special exemptions to normal procedure unfortunately mean that much of the development programs run at Area 29 remain highly classified, despite numerous FOIA requests. The testing conducted there at the time was kept well under wraps, and thanks to the lack of quick use cameras, let along the internet, few rumors ever managed to escape the confines of the base. The low profile has managed to continue to keep knowledge of the program outside of the public eye, but the small cadre of researchers who continue to gleam bits of information from the what pieces they can pick up have nevertheless managed to give us a glimpse inside.

Perhaps the most notable program was aimed at camouflage for Army marksmen, with early development of what we would know refer to as a ghille suit. Apparently they were never able to get the colors right, and development was soon scrapped, but not before a few fleeting glimpses by unwitting woodsmen. The myth of “Bigfoot” is in fact generally attributed to these sightings in fact! There is also limited evidence of a steam-powered Gatling Gun, and although most sources will point to their early development being several decades later, documentation uncovered in a Portland archive in 1994 points to early experimentation with rigid dirigibles, although none were ever deployed in the war.

Area 29 remained open for several years after the end of the war, with its focus shifting to technology more suited to warfare on the open plains against American Indian tribes than war against the Confederacy. It was their forays into mechanized warfare, first with a prototype armored train mounting several of the aforementioned Gatling Guns, followed soon after by attempts to create a “Trackless Train” that would be the undoing of the research center. In command of the Department of the Missouri and fearful that such contraptions would doom his beloved cavalry into obsoleteness, Lt. Gen. Sheridan used his political connections to kill funding for Area 29, which closed up shop in 1873.

The highly classified nature of the work done there saw all material classified for 75 years, with the option for a closed door Congressional Committee to renew the information blackout for additional 25 year terms continually, which they have continued to exercise each time, leading to the hardcore Congressional observers to speculate as to just what potential bombshell(s) are hidden in those documents. 

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The Lockheed Martin F-22 Raptor is a single-seat, twin-engine, all weather stealth tactical fighter aircraft developed for the United States Air Force (USAF). The result of the USAF’s Advanced Tactical Fighter program, the aircraft was designed primarily as an air superiority fighter, but has additional capabilities including ground attack, electronic warfare, and signals intelligence roles. Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor and was responsible for the majority of the airframe, weapon systems, and final assembly of the F-22, while program partner Boeing provided the wings, aft fuselage, avionics integration, and training systems. he high cost of the aircraft, a lack of clear air-to-air missions due to delays in Russian and Chinese fighter programs, a ban on exports, and development of the more versatile and lower cost F-35 led to the end of F-22 production. A final procurement tally of 187 operational production aircraft was established in 2009 and the last F-22 was delivered to the USAF in 2012.

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The Sukhoi Su-25 (NATO reporting name: “Frogfoot”) is a single-seat, twin-engine jet aircraft developed in the Soviet Union by the Sukhoi Design Bureau. It was designed to provide close air support for the Soviet Ground Forces. The first prototype made its maiden flight on 22 February 1975. After testing, the aircraft went into series production in 1978 at Tbilisi in the Soviet Republic of Georgia. Russian air and ground forces nicknamed it “Gratch” (“Rook”).

Currently this is the only plane truly comparable to the American A-10.