Something Old. Something New. An Aviation Blog by Owen Zupp.

Owen Zupp - Sunday, January 15, 2012

Despite powered flight’s mere century or so of development, it has come an awfully long way in that time. From frail craft of rag and tube to supersonic fighters of savage stealth, the range of creation seems to have only been limited by the imagination.

Yet within this sphere of rapid change and new frontiers, there have also been craft that have created their own legends. Whether in the form the Supermarine Spitfire’s classic lines, or the global reliability of the pioneering Douglas DC-3, certain aircraft have a means to charm their way into history, whilst others do not. Some have burst into the headlines announcing a revolution of sorts, while others have slowly endeared themselves through the years like a dependable friend. Occasionally, a machine will do both; the Boeing 747 is such an aeroplane.

I recently flew on the flight deck of the impressive Boeing 747-8 Freighter; an aircraft that has made a massive stride in extending the longevity of this already venerated aircraft. To add some context, it must be considered that the first Boeing 747 took to the skies on February 9th, 1969 and at the time represented a quantum leap from the already successful Boeing 707. Since that time nearly 1,500 have been built and variants have served in roles as varied as “Air Force One” to the aircraft used to piggy-back the Space Shuttle home. It changed the face of international travel and the bottom line for many of its operators. Yet despite such a tremendous history, it seemed that after 40 years its race may have been run as the Airbus A380 became the modern monolith and mammoth twin-jets began to stretch across many of the routes the 747 had called home. But the 747 still had one more card to play.

The 747-8 boasts a new wing, with both stylish and effective raked wingtips as well as engine and flight deck technology common to its younger stable-mate, the Boeing 787. In addition to the 747-8F freighter, there is the 747-8I ‘Intercontinental’ passenger version with a stretched fuselage and an increased fuel capacity compared to its 747-400 predecessor. The 747-8 is a modern, more efficient model of a proven performer that will see the type flying even further into the 21st Century.

Through the astute, ongoing adaptation of an established aircraft, the Boeing 747 has not only survived, but flourished, while other models have come and gone. In the beginning it was a wide-body revolutionary, with its upper deck and enormous capacity. However, its ability to remain at the top of its field is by every count equally impressive.

While the 747 has proven to be a giant in both name and nature, a team of aerospace engineers have been busily starting their own revolution at the opposing end of the slide rule. Far from a long range mammoth, they have been exploring the possibilities of air travel on a very small scale. However, the project is only small in terms of physical dimensions as its potential has this aircraft fighting well above its weight. This is no “Jumbo Jet”; in fact it is the “Puffin”.

Born from a Doctoral degree by aerospace engineer, Mark Moore, the Puffin is a concept aircraft designed to uplift a sole occupant. On the face of it, that doesn’t sound too special, however, consider that the craft is electrically powered and stands upright on four legs before lifting off vertically and transitioning into level flight with the pilot lying prone. Offering VTOL capability and reasonable horizontal flight performance in a manner reminiscent of the VF22 Osprey, this little bird packs a punch.

The Puffin is a far cry from the novel ‘rocket’ back packs that have emerged from time to time since the Germans first investigated the subject in World War Two. The pilot is enclosed and by virtue of its electric powerplant it is not only efficient, but stealthy. Being low on both noise and thermal signature, potential roles for the Puffin include the rapid deployment of elite troops and the delivery of supplies as an unmanned vehicle. Its quiet noise footprint would also render it desirable in a civil application as a personal transport.

With a basic weight well under 200 kg, including the 45kg battery, the Puffin has the ability to cruise around 140kt and sprint to 280kt. As with all electric vehicles, the battery technology is a limiting factor and gives the Puffin a range of only about 80 kilometres for the moment, but that is bound to improve along with the batteries. This is no longer the stuff of cartoons like ‘The Jetsons’, this is an emerging frontier with the evolving technology to support the concept. The first third scale unmanned Puffin is set to fly shortly and the interest in this project is bound to grow.

Behind the great aerospace advances are the men in the white coats with their vision and their science. In a field of endeavour so often associated with wings, gold bars and epaulettes, these ‘shadow men’ are the unsung heroes of the aerospace industry. They conjure the concepts and breathe life into them through uncompromising calculation. Without them, the 747 could not become a legend and the Puffin could not become reality. As a planet, we would never have heard the words about “one small step for a man...”

We were once told that the sky was the limit, but this has been proven not to be the case. As legends continue to fly farther and faster and new birds make their first tentative hops, it is worth considering the legacy of the men, women and machines that have gone before. For aviation, sometimes the way ahead will involve extracting one more dance out of a proven performer, while other tasks will call for an entirely new approach. As with so many aspects of life, the choice may come down simply to something old, something new.

 

Title image from NASA.

Comments
Post has no comments.
Post a Comment




Captcha Image

Trackback Link
http://www.owenzupp.com/BlogRetrieve.aspx?BlogID=5920&PostID=266934&A=Trackback
Trackbacks
Post has no trackbacks.

Recent Posts

Tags

Wallaby Airlines Brumby Aircraft PFL Ice Pilots plane crash Caboolture owen zupp author missing airliner Spitfire memory dogfight UAV disney planes flight Chris Sperou amazon best seller www.owenzupp.com pilot careers Diamond DA40 Beechcraft USS Missouri Boeing 767 terrorism G-force Australian Army cirrus crash A350 XWB Pacific Warbirds take off hustling hinkler RMS Titanic Honolulu Planes Premiere QANTAS HGS safer flying aeroplane blog RAF Boeing 737 Ferry Flight in-flight diversion Bradman Foundation pilot academy FA-18 Hornet pilot suicide 737-300 firts solo aero club DH Mosquito QANTAS Boeing 737-800 WW1 Glass revolution Ansett tom wolfe aeromedical pilot traininf addresses jet upset recovery how to land ANZAC amazon One Six Right glass cockpit boeing 737 Red Bull Duxford DC-3 planes Kitplane CRT Boeing 747-8i life saving navigation training Kingsford Smith Airport airliner crash D-Day 737-400 USS Arizona low flying solo flight australia forced lending QANTAS engineers QANTAS A380 Paramedic Bell 429 Jetstar caribou ANZAC Day green technology flying career QANTAS Airbus A380 Malaysia Airlines Bombardier Matt Hall learning to fly bachelor of aviation preflight briefing Bert Hinkler Edwards Air Base Dash 8 keynote speaker formation flying flying flight ebook Supermarine Spitfire Terwilliger Productions bell X-1 arospace Jabiru Aircraft North American Harvard anthony jackson airliners.net flight school Bell 429 helicopter GFC Boeing 747-8F The Hobbit New Zealand flight blog Sydney Australia ATIS baggy green soldier airplane choosing a flying school Japanese Zero writing building your own aeroplane australian aviation air australia Commercial pilot licence Tiger Moth Australian Aviation magazine buying an airplane Shuttleworth Collection New Zealand: QANTAS GPS aviation story Cathay Pacific Cargo warbird jet upset Avalon Air Show wings night ATFV armore airpot B-17 George Hale Se5a 50 tales of fllight Brumby High Wing Grant McHerron Yak 18T pilot 2012 Queenstown careers in aviation Mystery Aircraft Texas airliner missing Bush Pilot Brumby Sir Donald Bradman administration 0/11 skipper Piper Garmin G1000 fling open day pilot licence ditching an airplane aviation author Lord of the Rings Bundaberg aviation careers contra-rotating propeller buting an aeroplane the right stuff STOL raked wing-tip Brumby 610 Brumby Evolution aviation eBook Solo Flight Australia. Garmin simpler time 9/11 SNJ low pass biofuel Singapore Costa Concordia ballooning Korean War land an aeroplane landing an aeroplane flying kangaroo Bulldog Pitts Boeing 737NG Lockheed Hudson aviation speaker BAE Hawk how to land an aeroplane flight training Practical Pilot short field HUD flying training ambulance SCAT Northwest Orient Australia NASA sport National Press Club MH370 Plane Crazy Down Under learn to fly Cathay Pacific flight instructor Turkish Airways 1951 Pearl Harbour Honolulu Airport Canberra CAC Boomerang ditching Q400 Area 51 landing an airplane MH370 found Hawker Hurricane Facebook Fleet Air Arm Strategic Airlines tailwheel airshow a aviation Steve Cooke flying blog QANTAS announcement Seattle airport security B777 Cessna Caravan aviation jobs CO2 emissions aircraft how to land an airplane Boeing 747 EFIS DX-R airliner pilot training the sky is not the limit 77 Squadron ghost pilot blog 16R Airbus A330 R-DX Boeing 787 Dreamliner WW2 C-47 Down to Earth Australian War Memorial Uluru September 11th Jatstar Airbus K.I.A kitplanes engine failure dusty blog landing a jet Bradman aviation journalist solo flight 737NG Blue Angels aerobatics speaker QF94 Impossible Airport aviation degree NSW Ambulance Service J230D top tips Nancy Bird san francisco plane crash owen zupp hars army Red Baron McGrath Foundation Beech King Air Kimpo Douglas DC-3 aeroplane Royal Australian Navy CAC Wirraway jabiru Pitts forced landing Boeing 737-800 Air Ambulance Steve Waugh speaking 737 classic VH-OQA Winglets Around Australia flight pilot license P-51 Mustang landing an arplane deCrespigny MXS aviation blog QANTAS half yearly report Hong Kong Trader Titanic sinking Nancy Bird Walton G-ROBT Flying Podcast there and back aviation writer QNH disney pixar Cessna airman tail rotor solo flight. asutralia ZA003 sailor poppies solo around australia bowral best aviation blog T-6 1940 storm cells Gen-X engines Temora Aviation Museum September 11 723 squadron CA18 Mustang fly at most poular aviation blog Pump Up the Angels 38 Squadron RAAF Super Hornet Kenneth McGlashan RNP solo flight. australia 737 Airbus A380 EADI bombing of Darwin J170 aviaton author mosquito coosing a flight school aviation image aviation photography stick and rudder ICAO aviation consultant 400 hijack flying school P-40 Kittyhawk canyoner Day of Infamy Ponting Foundation maiden flight QANTAS Boeing 737 Queenstown New Zealand PCDU currency value ditching an aeroplane Bf109 QF32 Highlander airplane Puffin fatal stall airmanship Kenneth Butterworth McGlashan first solo memorial Defence Force Recruiting aviator masters of aviation management pre-flight briefing pilot jobs Boeing 747-400 warbirds solar flying instructor commercial pilot license US Navy aviation consulatant rescue coastal flying Yak 52 coaxial 50 tales of flight International Cricket Hall of Fame Korean Air War The Battle of Britain Aviation Photography Boeing aviation Nancy Bird-Bird Walton flight deck Avalon 2013 most popular aviation blog airline aerodynamic stall Kenneth McGlashan: Hawker Hurricane Cb Yak Formation Chuck Yeager student pilot Blackhawk metal detectors aircraft accident 787 cumulonimbus Dunkirk avspecs US Airways Flight 1549 first flight flying schoold Victorian Air Ambulance ditching an airplae Gloster Meteor the Fatal Stall Air France 447 GenX ditching an aircraft airlines NTSB Pearl Harbor popular aviation blog buying an aeroplane Scouts single-engined wings FA-18 the bombing of Darwin RAA Airbus A320 Ernest Gann biplae Special Casualty Access Team Flying Fortress RAAF smashwords future Scimitar Ricky Ponting Vietnam War Steve Visscher EFATO contrail aerospace open cockpit aviation book 5 flying tips Boeing 787 p Owen Zupp Mittagong Airfield Ansett Australia Flying Wing cricket airline collapse principles of flight de Crespigny Battle of Britain airbus Mick Wilson Sydney Airport Ayers Rock spitfire 944 QANTAS QF32 Glenn McGrath 747-8F iTunes Asiana Milford Sound QANTAS Boeing 747-400 war deHavilland Mosquito QANTAS pilots Boeing 777 A350 1942 Dreamliner Rolls Royce Merlin QANTAS Formula One Grand Prix A320 Flight 6231 manuscript P2902 beyond blue Sullenberger Super King Air RFC flying ebook Owen Zupp, fly at Flight for Control take-off Steve Waugh Foundation cost of flying coaxe

Archive

© Owen Zupp. All rights Reserved.                                             Admin . Privacy . Disclaimer                                            Website by Shot to Pieces . Powered by Blackroom