The Avro Canada CF-105 Arrow is a delta winged interceptor aircraft that was shot down at it development stages. The Arrow held high promises as it was expected to reach Mach 2 at 50 000 ft., an advanced technical and aeronautical achievement for the Canadian aviation industry at the time.
The cancellation and subsequent destruction of the Arrow program was a huge blow to the industry and brought Avro Canada out of business. Consequently, 14 528 Avro employees were out of work (Stewart 1998).
Today, Canadians still mourn the loss of the Arrow.
Cancellation and Destruction...
The Avro Arrow's cancellation was announced on February 20, 1959. This decision to cancel was the result of the Liberals losing the election to the Progressive Conservative government of John Diefenbaker.
Diefenbaker had attacked the Liberals on what he claimed was outrageous spending and upon becoming Prime Minister, was ready to cancel the Arrow program.
Not only was cost a factor of the decision, but new found threats. With new ICBMs being developed and the successful launch of the Sputnik, which opened the possibility of attack from space, the threat of a bomber attack was minimal. The Arrow, being an interceptor, was developed to face the bomber threat.
However, cancelling the program was not enough. The government then ordered the destruction of the 6 prototypes built, the Orenda Iroquois engines, the production tooling, and the blue prints for fear of a Soviet "mole" infiltration of Avro.
The Arrow utilized the delta wing which is optimum for supersonic aircraft because the leading edge of the wing is behind the shockwave generated by the nose of the aircraft flying at supersonic speeds. This is also true for highly swept wings but the delta wing is a lot more stronger, simpler, and cheaper. The delta wing also provides increased lift at high altitudes where the air is thinner.
The delta wing, however, does have its disadvantages. At lower speeds and altitudes, drag is increased. Also, when maneuvering, there is a higher drag compared to conventional wings because of the high wing area.
A full-scale replica was built by Allan Jackson. It was used by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation in 1996 to film The Arrow, a four-hour miniseries. The replica also had several public appearances at air shows and was eventually donated by Jackson to the Reynolds-Alberta Museum in his hometown of Wataskiwin, Alberta.
The Avro Museum of Canada built a 0.6 scale remoted-controlled replica of the Arrow. It was the result of eight years of research, five years of volunteer labour in contruction (which started in September 2000), and half-million dollars in materials and parts. The replica had flown successfully several times.
The Canadian Air and Space Museum also has a full-size replica of the Arrow, built by volunteers. It features many authentic-looking equipment and has made several public apperances.
A Russian 4++ Generation, heavy class, long range, multi-role, single-seat aircraft. It is a redesigned variant of the Su-27, with an upgraded airframe and improved avionics, weapons, and engines.
The Su-35 is basically a modernized version of the Su-27, built in the 1970's, to fill the gap until the new PAK FA T-50 aircraft becomes operational. The PAK FA can be comparable with the American F-22 and F-35. It was presented to the general public in the MAKS 2007 airshow.
Improvements from Su-27M...
The Su-35 has larger wings and engine intakes. The airframe of the Su-35 is reinforced with the use of composite materials (strong and lightweight) like titanium alloys that extends the aircraft's service life by about 4000-6000 hours and lengthens the time period between overhauls (Milavia). The front radar signature of the Su-35 is also significantly reduced.
An advanced digital fly-by-wire (KSU-35) is also introduced into the plane and a rear-locking radar is included for firing Semi-Active Radar Missiles.
The canards from the Su-27M Super Flanker and the speedbrake are also removed. To match or surpass the maneuverability of canard-equipped aircraft, the Su-35 uses its new engine and the digital fly-by-wire system.
The maximum payload, however, has not changed.
The new 117S engines of NPO Saturn powers the Su-35. This engine provides 16% more thrust compared to the Su-27's AL-31F. Engine service life and time between overhauls has also been increased.
The North American Aviation XB-70 Valkyrie was an experimental bomber designed in the 1950's that was able to fly at Mach 3 at 70 000 ft. This means that it would be able to avoid interceptors (aircraft designed with speed in mind, to intercept enemy aircraft), the only effective anti-bomber weapon at the time.
The XB-70 had six engines which had a total thrust of about 168 ooo pounds with afterburner.
The Valkyrie used a tail-less, canard and delta wing combination seen in many modern planes like the Chinese J-10 and the Eurofighter Typhoon. Canard wings are small wings mounted forward of the fuselage that greatly and effectively increases maneuverability and control of the aircraft. Delta wings are triangular wings.
The plane was mostly built with stainless steel (not corrosion), sandwiched honeycomb panels (reduces weight), and titanium (strong but light).
Prototypes and Testing...
Altogether, two XB-70s were built.
The first plane was discovered to suffer from weaknesses in the honeycomb panels because of the inexperience in the fabrication and application of this new material. The second plane, however, resolved almost all honeycomb structural issues.
The maiden flight of the Valkyrie was on September 21, 1964 and testing lasted for two years (ending in Auguest 6 1966). The Valkyrie first became supersonic on the third test flight on October 12, 1964 and on October 14, 1965, surpassed Mach 3 and reached an altitude of 70 000 ft.
XB-70 #2 was, sadly, destroyed in a mid-air collision with an F-104 after a photoshoot. NASA Chief test pilot Joe Walker (F-104) and Carl Cross (XB-70 co-pilot) died while Al White (XB-70 pilot) ejected but suffered serious injuries.
The Valkyrie project was cancelled was due to a combination of factors: the introduction of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles (ICBM), the high costs, and new effective high-altitude anti-air missiles.
Aircraft on display...
XB-70 #1 is currently on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright Patterson AFB in Dayton, Ohio.
On June 21st, 2004, SpaceShipOne completed the first ever privately funded spaceflight.
Developed by Mojave Aerospace Ventures, SpaceShipOne is an experimental air-launched, rocket-powered aircraft that has suborbital flight capability (up to 100km altitude). It flew 17 times before retirement and is a major step towards commercial spaceflights.
Paul Allen funded the entire development cost, estimated to be about US $25 million.
SpaceShipOne and its carrier aircraft, the White Knight, was designed by Burt Rutan, a famous American aerospace engineer who also designed the Voyager, the first plane to fly around the world non stop.
SpaceShipOne uses a hybrid rocket motor (motor that uses both liquid and solid fuel), which is a lot safer than solid fuels and mechanically simpler than liquid-fueled rockets.
Its atmospheric reentry mechanism is quite innovative: the rear half of the wing and the twin tail blooms fold upward along a hinge running the length of the wing that increases drag but keeps the plane stable.
On October 4, SpaceShipOne won the Ansari X PRIZE by reaching 100 km twice in two weeks and carrying and equivalent three people on board with no more than 10% of non-fuel weight replaced between the flights. The prize was US $10 million.
SpaceShipOne was the first privately funded aircraft to exceed Mach 2, then Mach 3, the first privately funded manned reusable spacecraft, and the first privately funded spacecraft to exceed an altitude of 100 km.
The White Knight...
The White Knight is a jet powered aircraft that after being used to ferry SpaceShipOne, was also used to both carry and drop test flights of the Boeing X-37 Orbital Test Vehicle.
It is a two-seater that looks just as weird as the spacecrafts that it carries.
A spacecraft under the development by the The Spaceship Company, a joint venture between Scaled Composites and Sir Richard Branson's Virgin Group. Virgin Galactic plans to operate a fleet of five of these spacecraft by 2011.
Based on the design of SpaceShipOne, SpaceShipTwo uses a hybrid rocket and the same reentry mechanism as its predecessor. It will be air launched by its mother ship, the White Knight Two.
The cabin will be about the size of a Gulfstream V Business Jet, according to BBC, which is about 6 feet high and 7 feet wide. The plane will carry 8 people, 2 pilots and 6 passengers.
SpaceShipTwo will have a longer range (about 160 - 320 km) and fly to a higher altitude (about 135 - 140 km), according to Burt Rutan.
If you are an avid plane lover, then you should definitely try out the Tom Clancy's HAWX series. It's an air combat game that features stunning graphics with high-tech aircraft. You can choose from 50 different planes from the F-22 Raptor to the SR-71 Blackbird and many more loadouts. HAWX is fast-paced and very realistic.
The J-10 is a fourth generation multi-role combat aircraft designed, developed, and produced by Chengdu Aircraft Industry Corporation (CAIC) for the People's Liberation Army Air Force (PLAAF). The J-10 first flew in 1998 and is capable of all-weather, day/night operation.
Th J-10 has canard wings (small wings at the front) and a delta-wing configuration with no tail wings. This is called a "tail-less canard delta" wing configuration and greatly increases the maneuverability of the aircraft, especially at high speeds.
The canopy of the J-10 is a two-piece bubble canopy (canopy juts out of fuselage and shaped like a bubble) that provides a 360 degree view.
Under the delta wings are 11 hard points (points on wing that can have bombs or fuel tanks attached) to which 6000 kg of equipment can be attached.
A 23 mm twin-barrel cannon is located underneath the port (left) side of the engine intake.
Pakistan has agreed to purchase 36 J-10's for its air force and delivery is scheduled for 2014-15. The new Pakistani J-10's will be designated JC-20s.
Serbia has also expressed interest for the J-10 when Serbian Defense Minister Dragan Šutanovac spoke favourably of the plane.
Possible relationship between Israeli Lavi...
There have been conflicting reports that the J-10's design was based off the cancelled Israeli Lavi (developed in the 1980's) as both have the same canard wing configuration. However, the J-9, a cancelled program of the 1960's that led to the J-10, also had a canard wing configuration.
The J in J-10 comes from the Chinese word Jian (歼), which, translated, means "Interceptor".
Crew: 1 (basic), 2 (trainer variant)
Length: 15.5 m (50 ft 10 in)
Wingspan: 9.7 m (31 ft 10 in)
Height: 4.78 m (15.7 ft)
Wing area: 39 m² (419.8 ft²)
Empty weight: 9,750 kg (21,495 lb )
Loaded weight: 14,876 kg (32,797 lb)
Useful load: 4,500 kg (9,900 lb)
Max takeoff weight: 19,277 kg (42,500 lb)
Powerplant: 1× Saturn-Lyulka AL-31FN or WS-10A Taihang turbofan
An improvement on the MQ-1 Predator drone, the MQ-9 Reaper is a UAV that became operational in 2007. Used primarily by the USAF and the CIA, the Reaper has become a very useful and respected battlefield weapon.
The Reaper can fly at a higher altitude (50 000 ft.) with higher speeds (260 knots) and for a longer time (14 hours fully loaded). It also has a significantly greater payload than the Predator. In internal stores, the Reaper can carry up to 800 pounds, almost twice the Predator. In external stores, the Reaper can carry up to 3000 pounds! This means that the Reaper is able to carry up to 14 Hellfire missiles, compared to the maximum 2 of the Predator.
Also, the avionics on the MQ-9 is greatly improved.
The Reaper can carry an assortment of different missiles and bombs. Right now, it is able to operate with AGM-114 Hellfire missiles air-to-ground missiles, GBU-12 Pathway II laser-guided bombs, and GBU-38 Joint Direct Attack Munition (JDAM) bombs. Testing underway to include the AIM-92 Stinger air-to-air missile into the arsenal.
Size and Costs...
The Reaper is about twice the size of the Predator and is about the same size as the A-10 Thunderbolt (Length: 36 ft. Height: 12.5 ft. Wingspan: 66ft.).
A fully equipped Reaper can cost up US $10.5 million, more than twice the costs of a Predator (about US $4.5 million).
The Reaper is also used by Homeland Security for border patrol and NASA as an information gathering platform.
Right now, Eurocopter and Sikorsky are competing to create a helicopter than can fly at speeds similar to turbo-prop powered aircraft but have full hovering capabilities of a conventional helicopter.
Both have come up with innovative designs.
Eurocopter's X-3 sports a pair of turbine engines as well as a pair of forward-facing propellers mounted on small wings just under the rotor.
Sikorsky's X-2, uses a pair of counter-rotating main rotors and a rear facing propeller, where a tail rotor on a conventional helicopter is supposed to be, to create that extra push.
Both helicopters look increasingly promising, although Sikorsky's two-seat slim design seem to be veering to a more attack-helicopter like concept while Eurocopter's X-3, with its greater cargo space, could be used more as a transport or search-and-rescue aircraft.
Sikorsky's design has recently reached the 250 knot point whereas Eurocopter, a bit behind, plans to gradually work their way to 180 knots by December. Their hope is have the X-3 eventually fly at cruise speeds of 220 knots.
Its been 7 years since the Concorde was retired. Now, the Aerion Supersonic Business Jet (SBJ) promises to bring supersonic air travel back into reality. Right now, it is undergoing proof-of-concept aerodynamic testing in NASA wind tunnels and under the belly of a NASA F-15 (TechNewsDaily).
The SBJ is planned to carry up to 12 passengers at speeds of Mach 1.5.
The new wing design of the Concorde is, according to Brian Barents, vice chairman of Aerion, the prime factor that allows the SBJ to fly economically at subsonic and supersonic speeds, because it reduces drag.
This wing design can also be seen on the F-104 Starfighter, but according the Barents, it is the advancement of materials, such as carbon fiber, that enabled this design to be incorporated onto a passenger plane.
Because of the wing design of the SBJ, it will be able to fly economically at subsonic speeds, which means that the SBJ will able to operate in the US where supersonic flight is banned due to sonic booms. Its speed will remain at Mach 0.98, which reduces coast-to-coast flight by 41 minutes vs conventional aircraft (TechNewsDaily).
High performance while satisfying environmental regulations, the SBJ already has orders and the company hopes that this new aircraft will be certified by the FAA and ready to go by 2015.
The Concorde, introduced in 1976, was the first passenger airliner that traveled at supersonic speeds. This was the product of a joint venture between British and French companies and remained in operation until 2003.
The Concorde could supercruise at Mach 2.02 and had a top speed of Mach 2.04.
The Concorde utilized a revolutionary dart wing design for passenger planes, obviously for increased speed. It also had a double-delta wing design that allowed for landing at lower speeds. Also, it had a nose that could "droop" down that allowed for better landing visibility.
Early production setback...
The original plan for the Concorde was to have 300 built. However, due to an Arab oil embargo, oil prices rose steeply and orders were swiftly cancelled. In the end, only 20 aircraft were ever built. These were operated by British Airways, Air France, Singapore Airlines, and Braniff International Airways.
The Concorde was facing retirement by the 21st century. It had a dated cockpit with analog dials and controls (since there were no competing aircraft, there was no pressure to upgrade) and an airframe worn down by close to 30 years of service.
The crash on July 25, 2000 sealed the deal. Although this was the only accident in Concorde history, the lost confidence in Concorde was never regained and passenger numbers remained low.
Finally, on November 26, 2003, Concorde G-BOAF of British Airways, the last Concorde still in service, made is retirement flight to Filton, Bristol, UK, her place of birth.
Fuel Efficiency (or inefficiency)...
The Concorde was a fuel consuming beast. The passenger mile to US gallon ratio for a 747 was 109 while the ratio for a Concorde was 14.
An Interesting Fact...
The Concorde could cross the Atlantic in 3 hours, which meant that European passengers could arrive earlier than when they left!