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Friday, 27 June 2014

The Enola Gay

This page will tell you all about the Enola Gay, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress,

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress was the successor of the Boeing B-17 'Flying Fortress' (For more information on the B-17, see the respective post). The B-29 was a 4-engine propeller driven heavy bomber which was released during the end of World War II. Most of them were flown primararily by the United States of America. The plane was very advanced for its time, with pressurized cabins, electronic fire controls and remote-controlled guns.
B-29 in flight.jpg
A B-29 Superfortress in flight
Unlike many other WWII era bombers, the B-29 remained in service long after the war; it was finally retired in the 1960s. Some of them were even used as flying television transmitters!
Undoubtedly the most famous B-29 Superfortress was the Enola Gay
The Enola Gay
The Enola Gay was the bomber which dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The plane was named after the mother of the pilot, Paul Tibbets. He picked the plane right of the assembly line. On 6th August, 1945, The Enola Gay dropped the bomb, code-named 'Little Man' on the Japanese city of Hiroshima. It then served as a reconnaissance aircraft for the second bombing.
A picture of the Enola Gay inside the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
After returning to the USA, it operated in several other nuclear drop tests, after which it was retired and sent to the Smithsonian Institution. In 1961, the whole plane was transferred to the Smithsonian storage facility in Maryland, and in the 1980s, a part of it was exhibited at the National Air and Space Museum in Washington. In 2003, it was shifted to the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Centre, and has remained there since.
Information taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Enola_Gay, but typed by me.

Sunday, 7 April 2013

How a Wing Works

Here I will explain how a wing works. Some basic terms on how airplanes fly are thrust, lift, weight and drag.
  • Thrust is the forward motion of the body.
  • Drag is the force of friction that tries to stop a body
  • Weight is the mass of the body
  • Lift is the force which lifts the body into the air.
For a plane to fly, drag and weight have to be reduced. A plane reduces weight by using lighter material and it reduces drag by being streamlined i.e. broad at the back and narrow at the front.
It gains thrust from its engines and lift from its wings. Lift is produced when either the air or the object are moving.
A wing splits air into two directions: over and below it. The air flowing over it travels faster than the air flowing under it. When air moves faster, its pressure drops. you can see this if you pinch the end of a water hose. The space decreases, so the water comes gushing out. So, the higher pressure under the wing lifts the wing up. When you attach two wings to a body and provide the body with some thrust, the body will fly. in fluid dynamic, this phenomenon is called Bernoulli's principal.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Syenergy Aircraft


The spacious Synergy aircraft is the first example of an exciting new technology for fast, comfortable, fuel-sipping airplanes. Harmonizing six proven technologies for drag reduction at low cost, including Laminar Flow, Wake Propulsion, Open Thermodynamics, and Subsonic Area Ruling, Synergy uses its 'high span efficiency' and lightweight structure to reach speeds where its 'powered drag reduction' pays off in major efficiency gains.
Synergy airplane

Airplanes today should provide, at minimum:           
  • Way more room.
  • A quiet, smooth ride... with a view!
  • Far greater economy, using common fuels.
  • Easier operation.
  • Greatly reduced travel time.
  • True passenger safety.
  • Far lower price.
  • Quiet, neighbourhood manners.
  • Adaptability to hybrid, electric, and advanced engine technologies.
Synergy wing

Synergy's form follows function in many powerful ways at once. For example, its stable-flying 'double box tail' shape is both a drag reduction breakthrough and a key to using other advanced design principles in a lighter, simpler, and more economical way. There's a lot more amazing technology behind this diesel-powered prop fan than meets the eye, and our unveiling seems to have touched a nerve with aeronautical gurus, NASA scientists, and nervous flyers alike.
This picture is the box tail of the Synergy aircraft

Once this amazing plane is made, tested, marketed and integrated with modern life, the aviation world will truly change.


Saturday, 12 May 2012

The NASM and the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Centre

In this post, I'm going to tell you the National Air and Space Museum and the Steven F Udvar-Hazy Centre.

The National Air and Space Museum

The National Air and Space Museum in the Smithsonian Institution holds the largest collection of historic aircraft and spacecraft in the world. It was established in 1976. Located in Washington, D.C., United States, it is a center for research into the history and science of aviation and spaceflight. Almost all space and aircraft on display are originals or backups to the originals. The Space Shuttle Discovery is also on display 

The Bell X-1

Because of the museum's close proximity to the United States Capitol, the Smithsonian wanted a building that would be architecturally impressive but would not stand out too boldly against the Capitol building. St. Louis-based architect Gyo Obata of Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum designed the museum as four simple marble-encased cubes containing the smaller and more theatrical exhibits, connected by three spacious steel-and-glass atria which house the larger exhibits such as missiles, airplanes and spacecraft.  

File:Spaceship one.jpg

SpaceShip One

The Steven F Udvar-Hazy Centre

The Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center is another museum at Washington Dulles International Airport in the Chantilly area of Fairfax County, Virginia, United States and is part of the National Air ad Space Museum
The facility was made possible by a US$65 million gift in October 1999 to the Smithsonian Institution by Steven F. Udvar-Hazy, an immigrant from Hungary and co-founder of the International Lease Finance Corporation, an aircraft leasing corporation. Construction of the Center, which was designed by Hellmuth, Obata and Kassabaum, required 15 years of preparation and was built by Hensel Phelps Construction Co. The Space Shuttle Discovery is also on display 


A SR-71 Blackbird                                             The Space Shuttle Discovery

Information taken from Wikipedia.com

Thursday, 19 April 2012

Airplane Engines

In this post, you'll learn about the engines used on planes

An aircraft engine is the component of the propulsion system for an aircraft that generates mechanical power. Aircraft engines are almost always either lightweight piston engines or gas turbines.
There are many types of engines. Some examples are:

In-line engines

This type of engine has cylinders lined up in one row. It typically has an even number of cylinders, but there are instances of three- and five- cylinder engines. The biggest advantage of an inline engine is that it allows the aircraft to be designed with a narrow frontal area for low drag. If the engine crankshaft is located above the cylinders, it is called an inverted inline engine, which allows the propeller to be mounted up high for ground clearance even with short landing gear. The disadvantages of an inline engine include a poor power-to-weight ratio, because the crankcase and crankshaft are long and thus heavy.

Rotary engines

Early in World War I, when aircraft were first being used for military purposes, it became apparent that existing inline engines were too heavy for the amount of power needed. Aircraft designers needed an engine that was lightweight, powerful, cheap, and easy to manufacture in large quantities. The rotary engine met these goals. Rotary engines have all the cylinders in a circle around the crankcase like a radial engine, but the difference is that the crankshaft is bolted to the airframe, and the propeller is bolted to the engine case. The entire engine rotates with the propeller, providing plenty of airflow for cooling regardless of the aircraft's forward speed. Some of these engines were a two-stroke design, giving them a high specific power and power-to-weight ratio. Unfortunately, the severe gyroscopic effects from the heavy rotating engine made the aircraft very difficult to fly. The engines also consumed large amounts of castor oil, spreading it all over the airframe and creating fumes which were nauseating to the pilots.

Radial engines

This type of engine has one or more rows of cylinders arranged in a circle around a centrally located crankcase. Each row must have an odd number of cylinders in order to produce smooth operation. A radial engine has only one crank throw per row and a relatively small crankcase, resulting in a favorable power-to-weight ratio. Because the cylinder arrangement exposes a large amount of the engine's heat-radiating surfaces to the air and tends to cancel reciprocating forces, radials tend to cool evenly and run smoothly. In military aircraft designs, the large frontal area of the engine acted as an extra layer of armor for the pilot. However, the large frontal area also resulted in an aircraft with a blunt and aerodynamically inefficient profile.


Horizontally opposed engines

An horizontally opposed engine, also called a flat or boxer engine, has two banks of cylinders on opposite sides of a centrally located crankcase. The engine is either air-cooled or liquid-cooled, but air-cooled versions predominate. Opposed engines are mounted with the crankshaft horizontal in airplanes, but may be mounted with the crankshaft vertical in helicopters. Due to the cylinder layout, reciprocating forces tend to cancel, resulting in a smooth running engine.

Turboprop engines

While military fighters require very high speeds, many civil airplanes do not. Yet, civil aircraft designers wanted to benefit from the high power and low maintenance that a gas turbine engine offered. Thus was born the idea to mate a turbine engine to a traditional propeller. Because gas turbines optimally spin at high speed, a turboprop features a gearbox to lower the speed of the shaft so that the propeller tips don't reach supersonic speeds. A turboprop is very efficient when operated within the realm of cruise speeds it was designed for, which is typically 200 to 400 m/h (320 to 640 km/h).


Turboshaft engines

Turboshaft engines are used primarily for helicopters and auxiliary power units. A turboshaft engine is very similar to a turboprop, with a key difference: In a turboprop the propeller is supported by the engine, and the engine is bolted to the airframe. In a turboshaft, the engine does not provide any direct physical support to the helicopter's rotors. The rotor is connected to a transmission, which itself is bolted to the airframe, and the turboshaft engine simply feeds the transmission via a rotating shaft.

Information and pictures taken from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_engine

Monday, 2 April 2012

Composites - The Future Materials

In this post, you'll get to know about composites and their uses.

For many years, aircraft designers could propose theoretical designs that they could not build because the materials needed to construct them did not exist. (The term "unobtainium" is sometimes used to identify materials that are desired but not yet available.) For instance, large spaceplanes like the Space Shuttle would have proven extremely difficult, if not impossible, to build without heat-resistant ceramic tiles to protect them during reentry. And high-speed forward-swept-wing airplanes like Grumman's experimental X-29 or the Russian Sukhoi S-27 Berkut would not have been possible without the development of composite materials to keep their wings from bending out of shape.

Composites are the most important materials to be adapted for aviation since the use of aluminum in the 1920s. Composites are materials that are combinations of two or more organic or inorganic components. One material serves as a "matrix," which is the material that holds everything together, while the other material serves as a reinforcement, in the form of fibers embedded in the matrix. Until recently, the most common matrix materials were "thermosetting" materials such as epoxy, bismaleimide, or polyimide. The reinforcing materials can be glass fiber, boron fiber, carbon fiber, or other more exotic mixtures.

Fiberglass is the most common composite material, and consists of glass fibers embedded in a resin matrix. Fiberglass was first used widely in the 1950s for boats and automobiles, and today most cars have fiberglass bumpers covering a steel frame. Fiberglass was first used in the Boeing 707 passenger jet in the 1950s, where it comprised about two percent of the structure. By the 1960s, other composite materials became available, in particular boron fiber and graphite, embedded in epoxy resins. The U.S. Air Force and U.S. Navy began research into using these materials for aircraft control surfaces like ailerons and rudders. The first major military production use of boron fiber was for the horizontal stabilizers on the Navy's F-14 Tomcat interceptor. By 1981, the British Aerospace-McDonnell Douglas AV-8B Harrier flew with over 25 percent of its structure made of composite materials.

Making composite structures is more complex than manufacturing most metal structures. To make a composite structure, the composite material, in tape or fabric form, is laid out and put in a mold under heat and pressure. The resin matrix material flows and when the heat is removed, it solidifies. It can be formed into various shapes. In some cases, the fibers are wound tightly to increase strength. One useful feature of composites is that they can be layered, with the fibers in each layer running in a different direction. This allows materials engineers to design structures that behave in certain ways. For instance, they can design a structure that will bend in one direction, but not another. The designers of the Grumman X-29 experimental plane used this attribute of composite materials to design forward-swept wings that did not bend up at the tips like metal wings of the same shape would have bent in flight.

Some examples of composites are:                           
  • Carbon-Fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP)      
  • Glass Fiber reinforced plastic (GFRP)             

Saturday, 18 February 2012


In this post. I'm going to tell you about seaplanes.

seaplane is a fixed-wing aircraft capable of taking off and landing on water. Seaplanes that can also take off and land on airfields are a subclass called amphibian aircraft

Types of seaplanes:

The word "seaplane" is used to describe two types of air/water vehicles: the floatplane and the flying boat.
  • A floatplane has slender pontoons, or floats, mounted under the fuselage. Two floats are common, but other configurations are possible. Only the floats of a floatplane normally come into contact with water. The fuselage remains above water. Some small land aircraft can be modified to become float planes, and in general floatplanes are small aircraft. Floatplanes are limited by their inability to handle wave heights typically greater than 12 inches (0.31 m). These floats add to the empty weight of the airplane, and to the drag coefficient, resulting in reduced payload capacity, slower rate-of-climb, and slower cruise speed.
de Havilland Otter floatplane
  • In a flying boat, the main source of buoyancy is the fuselage, which acts like a ship's hull in the water. Most flying boats have small floats mounted on their wings to keep them stable. Not all small seaplanes have been floatplanes, but most large seaplanes have been flying boats, their great weight supported by their hulls.

A true seaplane only takes off and lands on water. Most seaplanes are light aircraft.

The Boeing Clipper, was a gigantic seaplane used to carry passengers. (right)