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Wednesday, June 24, 2015

E-2 Hawkeye Replica built from Lego Technic

After I dismantled by model of a Harrier, I began looking for other planes to replicate using Lego Technic. I decided on the E-2 Hawkeye, which is a very distinctive plane because of the radar dish on its fuselage. After about 2 weeks of designing, testing and building, I finally finished the model, and the end result is described below.
The model looks a lot like a Hawkeye, although I couldn't quite capture some of the finer contours. I made the dish by stacking certain straight elements one on top of the other, and the result looked satisfyingly circular. I tried to include as many motorized features as possible, and the model incorporates a motorized landing gear and spinning propellers. I tried to motorize the dish as well, but it was too heavy for the motor to spin. Unfortunately, I had only 6 rotor blades, so each propeller has only 3 blades instead of 4, as there are on the real thing.
The most difficult part in the construction process was getting the landing gear under the propellers to line up with the main landing gear under the nose. Also, the spacing was a real pain. However, after about a hundred changes, it all fit together perfectly. The disk is a bit wobbly, but it spins fine. The propellers spin really fast, and, when they are spinning, it almost fells as if it is going to take off!
Overall, while there are many things which could be improved in this model, I am quite proud of it. Various pictures showing the model from all angles are below.
A front view of the model. I added the green light under the nose just for fun. 
A side view of the model showing the lowered undercarriage.
A back view of the plane showing its four tails and rudders.
A top view of the model clearly showing the full expanse of the radar dish.
A view of the plane from the bottom showing the underside of the wings, which are filled with rods as in the Harrier design. 
A closer view at the bottom of the plane showing the axels operating the various mechanisms inside the propeller housing.
A slightly blurred shot showing the gear system operating the landing gear in the front and under each propeller.
A slightly better shot of the same mechanism as described above. 
A close-up shot of the gear system that connects the motor to the undercarriage under each propeller.
A close-up shot of one of the propeller housings with lowered landing gear. Another such unit is present under the other wing. The wing is anchored securely to each unit.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Iconic Planes: Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' - Returns

This page will tell you all about the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress', one of the most famous and recognized bomber in history.

The four-engine Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress was arguably the most famous and almost certainly the best-loved bomber of World War II. Funnily enough, the brilliant Boeing conception, first flown on July 28, 1935, was almost stifled by an agonizingly long gestation period that did not see the first production aircraft fly until June 27, 1939. Despite the airplane's superiority over all its twin-engine competitors, the American Congress had been unwilling to authorize the plane's purchase in quantity until war seemed certain. The basic elements of the cantilever, all-metal monoplane design of the Boeing B-17 dated all the way back to the Boeing Monomail of 1930. These design elements were successively developed through the B-9 "Death Angel" twin engine bomber and the revolutionary Model 247 transport. The big advance in the Boeing B-17 was the employment of four engines at a time when the words "multi-engine" in a specification meant "twin-engine."

The Boeing B-17C entered combat with the RAF, but was considered unsuccessful. A later version, the Boeing B-17D, entered the Pacific War on December 7, 1941. There followed a continuing succession of improved models: the B-17E, F, and G. Ultimately, 12,731 examples were built by Boeing, Lockheed (Vega), and Douglas.

The Boeing B-17 spearheaded the USAAF's doctrine that formations of heavily armed bombers could fight their way through enemy fighters and carry out their missions. The Boeing B-17 proved that this was so - but only at terrible cost in air battles, such as those over Schweinfurt and Regensburg, Germany. Fortunately, long-range fighters soon became available to escort the big, slow bombers to and from targets.

(Topmost): A B-17 coming in for landing. (Middle): A heavily damaged B-17 still managing to fly. This was one of its most amazing features. (Bottom): The ground crews who kept the B-17s armed and ready to fly.


  • Wingspan: 103 ft. 9 in.
  • Length: 74 ft. 4 in.
  • Height: 19 ft. 1 in.
  • Empty Weight: 36,135 lbs
  • Gross Weight: 65,500 lbs
  • Top Speed: 287 mph
  • Service Ceiling: 35,600 ft.
  • Range: 2,000 miles w/ 6,000 lbs of bombs
  • Engine/Horsepower: Four Wright R-1820s/1,200 each, with General Electric turbo-superchargers
  • Crew: 10
  • Armament: Thirteen .50-in. Browning machine guns pointing in all directions and up to 17,600 lbs of bombs.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

World-famous aviators - Returns

In this page, I'll tell you about some world-famous aviators.

Manfred von Richthofen: The Red Baron

Manfred Albrecht Freiherr von Richthofen, also widely known as the Red Baron, was a German fighter pilot with the Imperial German Army Air Service (Luftstreitkräfte) during World War I. He is considered the ace-of-aces of that war, being officially credited with 80 air combat victories, more than any other pilot.

Originally a cavalryman, Richthofen transferred to the Air Service in 1915, becoming one of the first members of Jasta 2 in 1916. He quickly distinguished himself as a fighter pilot, and during 1917 became leader of Jasta 11 and then the larger unit Jagdgeschwader 1. By 1918, he was regarded as a national hero in Germany, and was very well known by the other side.

Richthofen was shot down and killed near Amiens on 21 April 1918. There has been considerable discussion and debate regarding aspects of his career, especially the circumstances of his death. He remains quite possibly the most widely-known fighter pilot of all time, and has been the subject of many books and films.

Charles Augustus Lindbergh

Charles Augustus Lindbergh (February 4, 1902 – August 26, 1974) was an American aviator, author, inventor, explorer, and social activist. Lindbergh, a 25-year-old U.S. Air Mail pilot, emerged from obscurity to almost instant worldwide fame as a result of his Orteig Prize-winning solo non-stop flight  in 1927, from Roosevelt Field located in Garden City on Long Island to Le Bourget Field in Paris, France, a distance of nearly 5,800 km, in the single-seat, single-engine monoplane Spirit of St. Louis. A U.S. Army reserve officer, he was awarded the nation's highest military decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his historic exploit.

In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Lindbergh used his fame to help promote the rapid development of both commercial aviation and Air Mail services in the United States and the Americas. In March 1932, however, son, Charles, Jr., was kidnapped and murdered in what was dubbed the "Crime of the Century" which eventually led to the family being driven into voluntary exile and fleeing the United States in 1935 to live in Europe. The family continued to live overseas until returning to the U.S. after the attack on Pearl Harbor by the Imperial Japanese Navy.

Before the United States formally entered World War II by declaring war on Japan on December 8, 1941, Lindbergh had been an outspoken advocate of keeping the U.S. out of the world conflict, as was his Congressman father, Charles August Lindbergh, during World War I, and became a leader of the anti-war America First movement. Nonetheless, he supported the war effort after Pearl Harbor and flew many combat missions in the Pacific Theatre of World War II as a civilian consultant.

In his later years, Lindbergh became a prolific prize-winning author, international explorer, inventor, and environmentalist.