Every month, patrons of the Aerospace Projects Review Patreon campaign are rewarded with a bundle of documents and diagrams, items of interest and importance to aerospace history. If you sign up, you get the monthly rewards going forwards; the “back issues” catalog lets patrons aid the APR cause by picking up items from before they signed on. The catalog, available to all patrons at the APR Patreon, has been updated to include everything from the beginning of the project back in 2014 on up to February, 2017.
Below are the items from 2016 (and the first two months of 2017):
If you are interested in any of these and in helping to fund the mission of Aerospace Projects Review, drop by the APR Patreon page and sign up. For only a few bucks a month you can help fund the procurement, scanning and dissemination of interesting aerospace documentation that might otherwise vanish from the public.
From the very early 1960’s, this piece of Hughes artwork depicts a hot-cycle “Helibus.” The “hot-cycle” was a briefly studied form of helicopter that did not mechanically drive the rotor, but instead ducted hot exhaust gas from a turbojet up into the rotor hub and then down through ducts in the rotors, exhausting out nozzles near the tips of the rotors. The exhaust gas would then push the rotor blades directly. The advantage was that since there was no direct mechanical linkage between the rotors and the fuselage, the torque that a helicopter normally needs to counter with a tail rotor would be largely eliminated. Thus this “Helibus” has no tail rotor, but it would still need to have some sort of reaction control thrusters at the tail to provide directional control at low speed.
Note that every row of passenger seats has its own door. This would greatly facilitate passenger loading and unloading, at some considerable weight and cost penalty. it would also firmly lock in seat pitch… as the engines are swapped out for newer, better, lighter, more powerful and less fuel hungry versions, the airlines drive would be, as we’ve seen, to pack more and more passengers onboard. But here the doors on the side have to precisely match the seat rows.
A vehicle like this would probably be used mostly to transport office drones from rooftop heliports in urban city centers to transport hubs out in the burbs or the sticks.
So very, very close on the next two US Aerospace Projects issues. I’m only lacking cover “art”and have to deal with a bit of “dead air” in the middle of US Transport Projects #7. Usually I can shuffle things around well enough to not have this sort of thing, but this time it just hasn’t worked out. I suppose it doesn’t really matter all that much, but it does look kinda lazy like that.
It’s been about a year since I released the last USxP issue. That last issue was the first time where I used vector diagrams embedded within the issue, rather than raster images; getting the diagrams from AutoCAD into Word was a bit of a chore back then. And in the intervening months… I forgot how I did it. So I had to figure it out again, and the process is different. I have to walk the AutoCAD diagram through Rhino 3D and save as a WMF and blah, blah, blah; end result is it works just fine. I’ve done some further refinement… the main outlines are set at 0.25 mm width and the ends of the lines have been reset to rounded and mitered, so sharp corners now look more like sharp corners.
Hoping to have these two out in a day or two. The other three will be rather longer.
I’m essentially done with the drafting portion of the exercise. Now to finish the writing. I had planned on releasing ll five at once, but due to external factors I’ll almost certainly have to split this up. So… which ones do people want more? The publications forthcoming are Fighters, Bombers, Transports, Launchers and Recon & Research. Comment below…
Google has a collection of thousands of photos from Life magazine, including some relatively rare color photos of the Lockheed L-2000 supersonic transport full scale mockup. Sadly the website is set up for lookin’ at, not for easy linking or downloading of the photos. You can zoom in on the images, but good luck on copying the full-rez images.
Recently sold on eBay (for $500) was a display model of the Boeing proposal for the C-5 program, which of course lost out to Lockheed. The Boeing design (circa 1965) was vaguely like a Lockheed C-5 merged with a Boeing 747… roughly the configuration and fuselage size of the C-5, but with the raised upper deck and the standard “jetliner” lower tail surface of the 747. I have surprisingly little on the Boeing C-5, but I do have some fairly detailed diagrams of a civilian passenger version, and a few derivatives. Interestingly, while this was clearly part of the genesis of the 747 – which by every metric was a far greater success for Boeing than the C-5 was for Lockheed – it was actually a model 757. As the design effort continued the 747 designation would become the jumbo jet, while the 757 designation would be applied to a much smaller jet.
Coming soonish: the return of USXP publications. Five are under current development and are mostly done. There is a new title in the bunch… USRP. Strictly speaking it should probably be USR&RP… United States Research and Recon Projects. Perhaps Recon and Research aren’t necessarily the most obvious categories to link together into a single title, but apart from the vitally important alliteration, there is this important fact: compared to, say, Bombers, there aren’t that many Recon and Research projects out there.
If there are specific proposals, or general categories you’d like to see in future publications, feel free to comment below.
Bell has unveiled a very sci-fi mockup of a “concept helicopter.” It features some unusual things:
A hybrid propulsion system
Variable geometry rotor tips
Lots and lots of glass
Only a single pilots seat
No physical control.
It’s that last one that’ll probably cause the most consternation. The pilot is meant to wear augmented reality goggles/visor/glasses/whatever; this will place data screens in front of him in an arrangement the pilot prefers. Control will still be manual, but the choppers onboard AI will presumably be able to track the pilots hands as he manipulates phantom controls.
Sure, it sounds cool, but two issues immediately present themselves:
1: Computer goes goofy. Malware, hacking, power surge, EMP, whatever… this thing seems like a deathtrap if the computer goes down.
2: Phantom controls that exist solely in the computers imagination and the pilots visor… sure, that sounds cool, and is certainly a common enough trope in sci-fi. Witness anytime Tony Stark wants to design anything, for instance. But in reality, your hands and arms get tired. You actually rest on the steering wheel or the yoke or the collective. Additionally, pilots really like to get direct feedback, which seems as yet beyond the ability to reproduce virtually. More, with every bump or jolt, the pilots hands will flail around. In a conventional helicopter, the pilots hands will be constrained by the controls they are gripping. In this one… nothing.
I would suggest a compromise: a set of *basic* physical instruments. Just what the pilot needs to safely fly the chopper. And I’d damn sure stick with physical controls. But… keep the augmented reality for the *secondary* instruments. Navigation, radio, air conditioning, whisper mode, thermal vision, fire rearward missiles… that can be via virtual reality. Instrument panels that are called up with a voice command, and recede when not in use.
Currently for sale on EBay is a presumably-vintage model of a Lockheed C-141 in civilian livery. While the C-141 wound up solely a military transport, it would not be surprising that Lockheed would try to sell it on the civilian market. The model doesn’t depict passenger windows, so this was, presumably, still a cargo carrier.