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July 3, 2011 / consort3

Car & plane concepts

Please note that the links below no longer work, since they updated  the forum

I came up with this one while watching David Jones’s video blog reviewing a Mitsubishi electric car.

Outwardly a stretched copy of the Smart car it has a well engineered electric drive train. I remembered a guy who used to race a Hillman imp at the weekends. The Hillman Imp had a rear engine attached to a sub-frame and the sub-frame was attached to the car with 3 large bolts. This guy had a spare race prepared engine on its subframe. At the weekend he would undo the 3 bolts drop his road going engine, whack in the race engine do up the three bolts and go racing.

The problem with electric cars is the limited range. Dave pointed out you need a conventional car for long range trips at the weekend. What if you had 2 modular engine/drivetrains an electric one and a conventional one for longer trips? The subframe would have the suspension, wheels engine/drivetrain and fuel storage and would slot in the rear of the car on rails being locked in with some easily removed fixing. Having it at the rear does away with the need to deal with steering interfaces.

The problem with hybrids is the weight and complexity. This would get around that. If you did not need the longer range there would be no need to buy the conventional option. There is a simpler solution which is to have charged batteries at fuel stations which can be swapped. But this needs infrastructure and standard batteries. Update: Looks like the Japanese motorcycle industry agrees with this idea:

Another option is the extended range concept, where a small conventional engine powers a generator. This is an almost essential option for the BMW I3. Annoyingly, California legislation stupidly limits the range on this facility. Review of the I3:

Possible range extender engine:

Another possible range extender engine

How to make an electric car for less than $1000:

Interesting use of Electric car to power home during storms;

Talking of concepts I remembered the Avcen Jetpod. A short take off air taxi. Its idea seems to have died with the inventor, Michael Dacre who was killed on its first test flight. I found a recent update here:

You have got to admire the guys who follow their dreams but get killed by their obsessions.Fortunately this bloke was not killed, but it is an extraordinary tale, “wrong way Corrigan”

Sadly another fatality is the flying Pinto:

They were gong to use this in a James Bond movie according to a recent documentary on the cars used for the movies. The aircraft part is from a Skymaster. A Skymaster was used as the chase plane which was controlling an unoccupied 727.  The 727 was deliberately crashed for a Channel 4 documentary.

There have been over 100 attempts to make a flying car or roadable aircraft. A recent one the Aeromobil is most developed and version 3 has just had its maiden flight.

Worthy of a mention is the Samson Switchblade, here is how the wings work:

This is the engine they are using:

Here is a list of some other flying cars and a history

Chatting to a friend recently and back in the mid-fifties he cycled out to Blackbushe airfield. The US Navy were using it as a base and had the unique carrier based nuclear bomber the North American AJ Savage. Don’t tell Obama now he is more hawkish than Dubya! No security fences, no guardhouse they just cycled around the perimeter track until they came on the plane. A couple of bored mechanics were happy to show them the interior of the plane. A couple of things struck me, the plane had a jet engine in the back of the fuselage but where was the intake? Possibly the ogival hatch shown in this picture. Also the jet used the same fuel as the piston engines. I reckon it took some brave guys to fly that on to carriers!   Another plane there was the Lockheed Neptune, which had similar jet boosters. More on the Savage here:

More on the Neptune here

Marine Corps Harrier ship landing with no nose gear. Eric Winkle Brown would have been proud!

RIP Eric. Incredible career:

Mankinds finest achievement in timber, No not one of my speakers but this:
Blimey they are multiplying:
Just watched a documentary on this. Heroic photographic flight survey of Canada done 1958-62, unpressurised at 39000 ft by Mossies

The Mosquito was such an excellent concept that Focke-Wulf  of 190 fame imitated it as the TA154. Excellent piece in this newsletter about the development of the Mosquito, it was dubbed Freemans folly as it design was so radical. Another of his follies was to give Roy Chadwick the go-ahead to try fitting 4 Merlins on the failed “Manchester” aircraft :

Tony Agar has spent 49 years building a Mosquito which is now taxying at East Kirby:

The Mosquito wing spar is in modern parlance, a glulam beam as seen on Canary Wharf’s new station roof. The wing skin was a sandwich of plywood and balsa. A similar technique was used on the Leak sandwich speakers, the outer layer being aluminium foil and the inner being polystyrene foam.

The Mossie was arguably the first composite plane, some corporate background to the latest, Boeings 787

The innovative engineering :

False alarms are being worked on:

The airlines cannot update their 787s quickly enough:

Post 20 on this thread is interesting:

There are still production issues:

More quality control issues, this time with GE engines:

Here is the explanation

I wonder if the strain from one engine flight has caused the other engine problems, more likely the engine had the same QC  problems as the last link. Impressive work by GE to identify and fix said problems

Thomsons work their fleet hard, typically 9 hour flight from England to Cancun 3 hours turnaround and 9 hour flight back in 24 hour day.

Another Thomson engine problem, interesting that they can fly as high as 34000 ft on one engine. Must have been trivial as the aircraft was operating normally a day later

Now problems with Ethopian

Timeline for the 787

Eventually Boeing engineers did a good job delivering a plane design that works. It must have been stressful coping with all the new concepts and ways of working, out-sourcing etc.

Interesting 787 software problem:

Interesting innovation on the 787-10 model

The cost of Titanium is forcing Boeing to do some mods:

Now using 3d printing to make Titanium parts

The changing workplace at Boeing, Seattle

Some airlines are flying the 787 at an altitude of 43000 ft which is a fair bit higher than the usual commercial height of 35000 ft. Apparently for economy and more direct routing. Some American airlines require the pilot to wear an oxygen mask at the high altitude, as it becomes commonplace, will they relax that rule?

Improved 787 dispatch reliability

Design freeze on the 787-10

787 position reporting problem:

Boeing changing from out-sourcing to bringing design in-house

Geared Turbofans not just P&W

Evolution of the geared Turbofan

P&W progress

I have been going on about the Mosquito, a multi-role aircraft. It was replaced by the Canberra, which first flew in 1949 and amazingly American variants of this are still flying:

A contemporary of the DH Mosquito was the DHC-2 Beaver. This plane was so right in concept, so fit for purpose, that they are still being re-manufactured today. Ode to the DHC-2:

Talking DH anyone noticed the resemblance between the DH Albatross and the Constellation?


DH tried to sell the Albatross to Howard Hughes (for TWA) who then went to Lockheed for his next plane. However the Albatross was built of wood and may have given Hughes the idea for the Spruce goose. DH and Lockheed cooperated on the development of the P80 Shooting star. the prototypes having a DH Goblin jet engine.

Albatross at the opening of Luton Airport on 16 July 1938 Note the dihedral on the tail. Nice article on the Albatross:


Gatwick airport is 80 years old. DH Express doing first flight. The 2 engined Rapide was more successful.


Interesting article about Concorde

Index of Pprune Concorde engineering thread

Amazing 10metre long RC model of Concorde with jet engines

You can now buy your own inexpensive personal jet:

Or if you can live with a conventional engine, a cheaper option

Boeing cancels wing drag reduction on 777X. Is this a consequence of the folding wings?

Interesting what they are doing on the 777X with wings and engines

Watch the 777-9 wings unfold on a taxying trial

Good article on wing developments

Rumours of problems with the CFM engines used on B737max and A320neo confimed:

Don’t hold  your breath, new supersonic passenger plane

A quiet supersonic plane


Not a lot of people know that the likes of Cessna, Beechcraft and Piper produced an average total of 14000 planes a year in the boom years between 1965 and 1980. Interesting article on the economics of flying now:

This thread on seems to have touched a nerve. Link is recent, so it works

🆕Wing twist on the 747

🆕Jet powered Swordfish. The Swordfish is an iconic plane flown by heroes who took on and disabled the Bismarck.

🆕A shortage of pilots? Surely not:

Interesting non-disclosure on the 737MAX

Plane with no moving parts

The Fairchild Packet begat the Flying Boxcar which begat the Armstrong Whitworth Argosy. Here is a Boxcar with jet pod.


Flying V concept model flies:

Flight global pdf archive no longer works

Partial FlightGlobal Archive archives

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